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Brisbane the Garden City
Brisbane is the capital of and most populous city in the state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane’s metropolitan area has a population of 2.4 million, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.5 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres (9 miles) from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia’s most populous and prosperous local government areas, most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite.
One of the oldest cities in Australia, Brisbane was founded upon the ancient homelands of the indigenous Turrbal and Jagera peoples. Named after the Brisbane River on which it is located – which in turn was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825 – the area was chosen as a place for secondary offenders from the original Sydney Colony.
A penal settlement was founded in 1824 at Redcliffe, 28 kilometres (17 miles) north of the central business district, but was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825, opening the area up to free settlement in 1842. The city was marred by the Australian frontier wars between 1843 and 1855, and development was partly set back by the Great Fire of Brisbane, and the Great Brisbane Flood, but neither saw the state or its people lay down.
Today, Brisbane is well known for its distinct Queenslander architecture which forms much of the city’s built heritage. It also receives attention for its damaging flood events, most notably in 1974 and 2011. The city is a popular tourist destination interstate and international pleasure seekers, serving as a gateway to the state of Queensland, particularly to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, popular resort areas immediately south and north of Brisbane, respectively.
Many large cultural, international and sporting events are held in Brisbane, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo ’88, the final Goodwill Games in 2001, and the 2014 G-20 summit. In 2016, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Brisbane as a Beta world city to mention just a few.
The Brisbane central business district is an area of densely concentrated skyscrapers and other buildings, interspersed by several parks such as Roma Street Parklands, City Botanic Gardens and Wickham Park. It occupies an area of 1.367 km².
The City is laid out according to a grid pattern surveyed during the city’s early colonial days, a feature typical of most Australian street patterns throughout the country. As a general rule, the streets aligned northwest-south east are named after male members of the House of Hanover, while the northeast-south west aligned streets are named after female members.
Queen Street was the central roadway in the city, that was turned into a pedestrian mall, which is now a renowned shopping precinct of international standards and forms the pivotal axis for the grid of roads within the district.
Brisbane’s abuzz with creative ways to spend your days. Get to know where the locals eat, drink and play in the inner-city and nearby urban villages. Soak up our subtropical climate, explore the river, parks and outdoor spaces, or delve into a calendar of internationally acclaimed arts, cultural and sporting events. It’s a great place to entertain the kids too, or spend time without them!
You’ll discover some of the best restaurants in the country, as well as a vibrant live music, contemporary art and gallery scene. You can mix with the locals at weekend markets, shop for international brands and cutting-edge local designer fashion, or scour antique shops for just the right memento of your stay or pamper yourself at a beauty salon or day spa.
Whatever your pleasure, Brisbane will inspire you.
The subtropical climate may be warm, but Brisbane is decidedly cool which relates to a pleasant environment for exploring and being adventurous.
There is a lively young arts scene and the city has been ranked among the hottest places in the world for new music. Its young fashion designers are making a name for themselves, and the Gallery of Modern Art is bringing blockbuster exhibitions down under. But while the CBD skyline may be spiked by glittering high-rise buildings, and the river lined with big boats, thankfully, the city has not lost any of its friendliness in the make-over. Life is as relaxed as ever, and firmly focused on the outdoors.
Brisbane’s hilly terrain provides breathing space and a beautiful backdrop to the CBD. Step into the nearby suburbs and you will find stately Moreton Bay fig trees standing sentinel in the suburban streets and mango trees blooming in the backyards of those distinctive weatherboard houses on stilts known as ‘Queenslanders’. With their shady verandas and tin roofs just made for the patter of summer rain, which you can still find within walking distance of the CBD.
From the coast to the suburbs, the year-round warm climate means that Brisbane is ideal for a holiday; whether you want city parks or national parks, markets or museums, nightlife or wildlife, you will find it all here.
Brisbane has well-signed, well-maintained roads, but it’s not an easy city for first-time visitors to negotiate. The region’s growth has resulted in a crisscrossing network of major motorways and some significant new roadwork projects. In the city centre itself, there are many one-way streets. To make matters more confusing, the Brisbane River twists its way through the city and suburbs giving rise to some spectacular drives.
An up-to-date road map or a GPS, and some careful route planning at the beginning of each day is a good idea, as the city has become more crowded over the years but still a very pleasant experience.
Cycling has become a viable and healthy option for getting around the city, picturesque parks, landmarks and more locals are taking to their bikes as well as tourists, all discovering this pleasant stress free form of sightseeing and exploring.
Brisbane boasts an ever-expanding network of picturesque and interesting bikeways and pedestrian paths, one can even purchase a subscription to cycle from a hire company, where you can pick up and drop off hired bikes from locations around the city.
Trains, buses and ferries cater for all needs, and there is a couple of bus routes designed specifically for visitors. The public transport system in Queensland is nothing short of excellent, although there are hundreds of tour companies and car and camper rent companies that cater for all local and international visitors so you won’t miss a thing.
A boat trip on the Brisbane River is a must. Plenty of tours are available to riverside tourist attractions and there is an excellent commuter ferry and catamaran (CityCat) service.
The City Cats travel at high speed and standing on the deck and feeling the cool wind in your hair and on your face is one of the best ways to see and feel Brisbane. A Go Card is a cheaper alternative to buying paper tickets and can be used on all transport – ferries, trains and buses (see www.translink.com.au) you can also purchase a day pass.
The Brisbane River (indigenous name Maiwar) is the longest river in South East Queensland, Australia, and flows through the city of Brisbane, before meeting with Moreton Bay. John Oxley, the first European to explore the river, named it after the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane in 1823. The penal colony of Moreton Bay later adopted the same name, eventually becoming the present city of Brisbane.
Early travellers along the waterway admired the natural beauty, abundant fish and rich vegetation along its banks as do all travellers today and the local commuters never tire of these spectacular floating experiences. From 1862 the Brisbane River has been regularly dredged for navigation purposes and is one of the cleanest safest rivers in the world. The river served as an important carriageway between Brisbane and Ipswich before a railway linking the towns was built in 1875 so your journey is covered in history.
The river travels 344 km (214 miles) from Mount Stanley to the Bay and is dammed by the Wivenhoe Dam, forming Lake Wivenhoe, the main water supply for Brisbane. The waterway is a habitat for the rare Queensland lungfish, Brisbane River cod and many other marine creatures.
The largest ship built on the river was the Robert Miller and the 66,000 tonne vessel became un-moored in the 1974 Brisbane flood.
Extensive port facilities have been constructed on the Fisherman Islands, now known as the Port of Brisbane and the river boasts 16 major bridges that cross the river.
The Clem Jones Road Tunnel, opened in 2010, and is the river’s first underground crossing for road transport. Ult
Tangaloom a Island Resort is on Moreton Island, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) off the coast of Brisbane adorned with sandy beaches lining the island’s ocean side are ideal for swimming, surfing and fishing, while the sheltered western side is more relaxed, with crystal clear blue water gently lapping against its shore this magnificent Island is a National Park which covers 98 per cent of the island’s area.
There’s so much to do at Tangalooma Island Resort. Enjoy the hiking and walking trails traversing the island, join a 4WD tour or go on a desert journey, which includes an exhilarating toboggan ride down the sand dunes. In the impossibly clear water, you can kayak, snorkel, parasail or even go on an underwater safari and every evening, hand-feed the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the beach while taking in the beauty of a Queensland sunset as the sun slow set over the water.
From villas and suites, to luxury apartments, all accommodation options put the island’s dazzling beaches front and centre. Or check into one of the exclusive island holiday houses with million dollar views over Moreton Bay and the Glass House Mountains. There are five restaurants and cafés on the island, Whaler’s Bar and barbecues if you prefer to cook for yourself and the Resort Shop has all the supplies you’ll need.
Moreton Island “The Gem of South East Queensland” is one of the best experiences that Australia has to offer. Brisbane is fortunate in having on its doorstep one of Australia’s largest sand islands, making Moreton Island perfect for that much needed getaway. Moreton is almost completely sand with no roads, so a 4wd is needed if going further than walking distance from the ferry landing points.
Just across the bay from civilisation, Moreton is quickly being discovered as an unspoilt paradise for people wanting to relax and enjoy nature. This is a place where the crashing of the waves sets the pace and the mood of your day.
Take the ferry across the big blue yonder to Moreton Bay and come explore the beaches, starry night skies, with its unique adventures, experiences and accommodation of one of Brisbane’s Island paradises. Moreton Bay and Morton Island delivers amazing scenery, massive sand dunes, glassy lakes, rocky outcrops, wild forest, beautiful beaches, stunning vistas and a lonely lighthouse – you name it, Moreton Island has it all!
Imagine seeing the spectacular sunset as it falls behind the Glass House Mountains while lazing about on the soft white sandy beaches of Moreton Island.
Once the sun goes down the stars come out for spectacular light show in the night sky, so clear without any city lights you could almost reach out and touch them. Then sleep under the stars in a tent, in beachfront accommodation, or at the resort, all just steps away from the crystal clear water of Moreton Bay that twinkles and sparkles like diamonds in the light.
Every day is an opportunity to do something you have never done before in a place that is unforgettably beautiful, enjoyable and excitingly relaxed. It doesn’t matter if it is your first visit to the Greater Brisbane area or your 100th’s, come back again to wonderland, refresh your memory, engage you senses and experience all that Queensland has to offer.