Why you should visit Brisbane: here’s everything you need to know
You heard it here first, Brisbane is booming! An international 2018 study by Jones Lang LaSalle said Brisbane will grow faster than any other ‘mature’ world city over the next eight years.
We’d like to think the fact Brisbane’s got an average winter temperature of 21 degrees celsius, three sand islands off its shore and two of the best beach destinations – Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast – within 100km of its CBD, are good reasons Brisbane’s on a roll.
Since lots is changing around postcode 4000, from a new airport runway (about to start), $158 million new cruise ship terminal, Queen’s Wharf, North Quay and the Howard Smith Wharves precinct, it pays to have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips.
Make this Brisbane guide your travel companion and get the most out of the River City.
If you’ve only ever heard Brisbane referred to as a big country town, it’s time to get the facts straight.
It’s actually home to 2.4 million people and has all the amenities to prove it. Brisbane also wears the title of Australia’s largest capital city by geographic size and happens to be the third-largest city in the world by land size occupying 1140km2.
Lots of space = lots of room for activities and whether you’re the kind of traveller who likes to have both hands full with food, or both feet busy with outdoor pursuits you’ll find it in Brisbane, even if you’re on a budget.
When to go
With 261 days of sunshine, Brisbane puts the sun into the Sunshine State.
Brisbane’s summer months are hot and can be humid, so winter is the best time to go if you prefer nature to air-condition you. Winter day-time temperatures dance between a dry 20-25°C (68-77°F), making shorts and swimmers packing essentials all year round. In spring, you’ll bear witness to a sea of purple as the Jacaranda trees bloom across the city.
Of course, if you do come across unpleasant weather in the capital, this wet-weather guide will keep you out of trouble.
What to do there
Marketing legend Seth Godin once said, “everyone is not your customer” but maybe Seth hasn’t been to Brisbane.
Brisbane’s version of outdoorsy is action-packed, whether it’s a hike or cycle to the summit of Mount Coot-tha, chasing these waterfalls or abseiling Kangaroo Point cliffs with the best seat (okay, harness) in the house.
Fun and games aren’t reserved for daylight hours either. Watch the River City come to life at night with live music, sunset kayaking tours and movies under the stars.
Where to eat and drink
There’s no chance of going hungry in Brisbane – with more cafes, bars and restaurants than you have annual leave days to discover.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you might as well make it a pretty one with these Insta-worthy brunch spots across the city.
Make lunch and dinner memorable with one of Queensland’s best bites, whether it’s ramen at Taro Ramen or sand crab lasagne at Il Centro. Head to the hip and happening Howard Smith Wharves, or put these Brisbane burgers to the test.
Or better yet, time your visit for Good Food Month, the food festival that takes over town each July.
Where to stay
If Brisbane’s skyline full of cranes is anything to go by, you’ll know Brisbane is on a building spree.
Not into CBD stays? No worries. This accommodation guide includes the beaches and hinterland, too. A bit further from the high-rise shadows, you’ll find this list of cottages and cabins that will turn the ‘romantic holiday’ dial to Notebook levels faster than you can say Nicholas Sparks.
If you’re happier sleeping under a sky full of stars, don’t rule out Brisbane’s campsites, some of which you’ll find just 30 minutes from the city.
Best day trips to take
Brisbane is wedged between the Sunshine Coast to the north and the Gold Coast to the south, making it the gateway to both coasts. The capital isn’t just top and tailed with areas to discover, to the west, you’ll find charming country towns and an accessible hinterland and to the east, a beautiful bayside. These 9 day trip ideas will get you started.
On its doorstep there’s also three sand islands that beg for you to escape the mainland altogether, whether it’s for 48 hours on Stradbroke Island, an escape to Moreton Island, or a long-weekend on Fraser Island.
Things you need to know
Brisbane is built around its river, so if you’re planning on visiting without a car, you’re going to need to put in a lot of steps to get around.
Make like a local and use the City Cat ferry system to go from bank to bank. Hot tip: Brisbane’s Cityhopper ferries are red and will take you across the river for free.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, we suggest trying Brisbane’s Lime Scooters or City Cycle bikes to get from point A to point B without working up (as much of) a sweat.
When you’re exploring a city that’s the third largest in the world by geographic size, it pays to have someone else do the leg work. Let our local’s guide take the reins of your itinerary with where to eat, sleep and play.