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Brisbane

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For other places with the same name, see Brisbane (disambiguation).
View of Brisbane CBD and Story Bridge.

Brisbane [1] is the capital of the state of Queensland. It has a population of about 2 million people, and is the third-largest, and fastest growing, city in Australia.

Districts

Brisbane was once considered to be just a big country town, however it has grown rapidly and now has a big city style all of its own.

The main tourist districts are:

  • CBD, which includes the major shopping areas around the Queen Street Mall, and many of Brisbane sights.
  • South Bank for restaurants, cafes, and boardwalks.
  • Fortitude Valley for more vibrant shopping and nightlife.
  • West End an edgy, bohemian district with artsy shops and cafes.
  • New Farm for upscale shopping and trendy dining places.
  • Brett's Wharf is where the cruise ships dock on the Brisbane River. This area is now called Portside and offers dining, cinemas and specialty shopping. A great place to wander and have a meal.

Some of the other major districts are Spring Hill, Manly Harbour, Toowong, St. Lucia and South Brisbane.

Understand

In 1823, John Oxley was the first to explore Brisbane, which was then selected by the colony of New South Wales as the location for a new gaol, intended to house dangerous prisoners in a remote location. The original settlement was established in what is now the suburb of Redcliffe but was later moved to a location furhter down the bay.

In 1837, free settlers moved to the area and pushed to close the gaol and to release the land in the area.

In 1859, a gold rush led to the establishment of the colony of Queensland with Brisbane as its capital, named after Sir Thomas MakDougall Brisbane, the sixth Governor of New South Wales.

In 1925, the Queensland State Parliament created the City of Brisbane Act, and set up a single government for the city of Brisbane.

Recent strong migration to Brisbane and the whole of south-east Queensland is taking place due to cheaper house prices, a pleasant climate, and good employment opportunities. The area is currently facing the challenge of providing enough fresh water for its residents. You're not likely to find the tap dry or see any visible signs of the shortage, but keep your showers relatively brief (local water restrictions call for 4 minute showers) and expect the locals to be horrified if you walk away from a running tap.

River view from William Jolly Bridge.

Climate

Brisbane has what is considered to be an excellent climate, especially to those in the colder southern states. However, those from temperate climates may find summer unbearably hot, especially on windless days when the heat builds up in the valley.

Winters are warm and generally dry and sunny (day 20-25C, night 8-12C). Summer days are warm to hot, with days over 32C common. Humidity is high during the summer months and temperatures can get as high as 40C with night temps rarely dropping below 20C. If visiting in summer air conditioning is advisable for comfortable sleep and don't overestimate what can be accomplished in terms of physical activity on hot and high-humidity days.

Summer storms with hail and heavy rainfall are common in afternoons on hot humid days. They usually pass quickly and sometimes put on a good lightning show.

Brisbane has, over recent years, experienced a significant drought. This has resulted in water usage restrictions for residents, and travelers should take note of the recommended 4 minute shower time (local government is cracking down particularly hard on this).

Get in

By plane

Brisbane Airport is 20 kilometres north-east of the city centre at Eagle Farm, north of the river.

There are both domestic and international terminals at Eagle Farm. It is possible to fly to all Australian capitals and numerous regional centres from the domestic terminal. Major carriers include Virgin Blue, Jetstar, and Qantas.

The international terminal is serviced by all major regional airlines and it is possible to fly daily to most Asian centres, the USA and New Zealand. It is no longer necessary to travel via Sydney or Melbourne, although tickets may be routed through such airports to obtain cheaper fares.

It is not practical to walk with luggage between the International and Domestic terminals. AirTrain offers a connection during the day with a 30 minute frequency or 15 minutes during peak. Outside AirTrain hours taxi may be the only option. Allow sufficient time for the transfer between terminals. The AirTrain fare is included by Virgin Blue and by Qantas when traveling between their flights.

AirTrain connects to the city from the airport every fifteen minutes during peak times and stops at Central, South Bank, Brunswick Street and Roma Street stations. Adult fare to the city stations is $13. Travel time between the international terminal and Roma Street Station is 23 minutes. It is also possible to take the Airtrain direct to the Gold Coast, although it is necessary to connect to a bus service at Nerang to reach Surfers Paradise or at Robina to reach Coolangatta. If arriving late at night, taxis may be your only option as the Airtrain stops at around 7.30pm.

By train

By car

Visitors from southern states can reach Brisbane by either the New England and Cunningham or Pacific Highways.

The Bruce Highway connects the northern coast of Queensland to Brisbane.

The Ipswich Motorway connects to Ipswich and surrounding Western Brisbane areas.

The Warrego Highway links Brisbane to the west through the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.

By bus

Premier Motor Service [2] links some centres on the east coast of NSW and Queensland to Brisbane, as well as connections to Melbourne.

Greyhound Australia [3] link to most other locations to Brisbane.

By boat

Brisbane has recently become the home to an international cruise terminal titled Portside Wharf. If you own your own boat and wish to have it shipped-in, you can organise this through Yacht Transport.

Get around

Bicycle

Getting around the city and the surrounding areas is easy thanks to the many cycle paths along the river. Bicycles can be rented in the centre of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and also at Brisbane Bicycle [4].

Cycling on footpaths is legal in the Brisbane City Council area, however pedestrians have right of way. Always keep as far left as possible when riding on the road or a bike path. The police issue $120AUD on the spot fines for cycling without a safety helmet. Maps showing bikeways in the Brisbane City Council area are available on the BCC website [5].

Remember, Brisbane is very hilly. A short trip can quickly become a lot of work. Stick to the river when possible - it's where you get the best views anyway.

Car

Like the rest of Australia, Queenslanders drive on the left.

Many of the roads in Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) are one-way, making driving in this area difficult and stressful for people not familiar with the layout. Also, many CBD road become clearways at 4pm, and any cars parked on the side of the road will be towed, and can only be recovered at considerable cost.

There are several toll roads in and around Brisbane, including a $2.60 toll on the Gateway Bridge, which crosses the river near the airport, connecting the north and south arterial roads and providing a convenient bypass for the CBD. Cash is still accepted at all toll plazas, but will be phased out at some point in the future.

Rentals:

Most reputable car hire companies have offices located at Brisbane Airport. Driving in the city is not always the best option, however, it gives access to more remote locations. Rental companies can often provide deals when booked online in advance. While most car rental companies hire to people 25 years of age and over, some all age car rental companies do hire to younger drivers over 18 years of age.

  • Ace Rental Cars, [6]. From $19 per day. Best rates Guaranteed!.
  • East Coast Car Rentals, [7]. From $25 per day. Satellite Navigation available.
  • Avis Car Hire, [8].
  • Budget Car Rental, [9].
  • Gold Coast Car Hire ®, [10].
  • Thrifty Car Rental, [11].
  • 4WD Rent a Car, [12]. Cheap 4WD Rental.
  • All Age Car Rentals, [13] Car Hire from $ 14 Per Day for Drivers of All Ages - Under 21 Drivers included.
  • Surfers Paradise Car Hire, [14] Car Hire from $ 22 Per Day. GPS Satellite Navigation available.
  • Commodore Car Rentals, [15] Serving the Gold Coast and surrounding areas since January 1987 with Quality Rental Cars. Cheapest Rates on the Coast for Budget conscious Families. New Cars from $22 Per Day!

Used vehicle sales:

  • Backpackers Auto Shop - The Blue Shed, 168 Logan Road, Woolloongabba; tel: 1800 890 040

Public transport

Public transport has recently been overhauled and incorporates an integrated ticketing system across the three main modes of transport: buses, ferries and trains.

Ferries have become an icon of the city. As well as traditional ferries which generally operate on cross-river routes, high-speed catamarans (CityCats) operate on longer routes.

Travellers can take advantage of Daily and Off-Peak Daily tickets which allow unlimited travel within given zones across all modes of transit. A Daily ticket for zones 1 to 3 (about 20km radius) costs $5.80 and is great for catching a bus or train into the city, taking a ferry along the river and getting back to the suburbs again, or back into the city from a ferry terminus.

A weekly zones 1 to 3 ticket costs $23.20. 50% Concessions are available to students, pensioners and children, and these tickets are available from the vast majority of the newsagents and council offices that are sprinkled liberally throughout the confines of Brisbane City. It is strongly advised that travellers purchase tickets on the ferries as ticket inspectors make frequent appearances and fines can be significant.

Buses in Greater Brisbane mostly lead all the way to Queen Street. The routes 598 and 599 form the Great Circle Route which circles the city in clockwise and counter-clockwise direction and can be a great way of getting around the different suburbs. A discounted ten trip ticket is available for pre-purchase from most newsagents and council offices, and is quicker, cheaper and easier than paying cash to the driver, who will usually not appreciate anything other than the correct fare amount.

Trains in Greater Brisbane run along radial lines from Central and Roma Street Stations. Interurban services can also be caught to the Gold Coast (using connecting bus services at Nerang and Robina) and Sunshine Coast (using connecting bus services at Landsborough and Nambour) as well as Australia Zoo (connecting bus at Beerwah).

[16] (tel. 13 12 30) is the official website of TransLink that can give you directions on how to reach a destination using public transport.

See

  • Alma Park Zoo, [17]. About thirty minutes north of the city centre. The Zoo Train can be caught from the city on the Caboolture line.
  • Brisbane City Hall and King George Square. Located between Adelaide and Ann Streets, this is the city's most significant historical landmark. City Hall often hosts free concerts throughout the year. There is a restored lift that can be taken to the top of the clock tower for free. The lift opens at 10 a.m. and stops running at 3 p.m. (2:30 p.m. on Saturdays) daily except Sundays. There is no access to the clock tower outside of these hours.
  • City Botanic Gardens, [18]. 10 to 15 minute walk from the city centre and Central or Roma Street railway stations. Walking and cycling tracks. Exhibits. Open 24 hours. Free.
  • CityCat. take the CityCat river taxis up and down the river. A great couple of hours to see the city at speed. It's also very cheap, less than $5.00 for a daily combined transport ticket (which includes all citycat/ferry/train/bus).
Kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, [19]. 15 minutes drive from the city on Jesmond Road in Fig Tree Pocket (via the Western Freeway). Catch the hourly 445 or 430 buses from the city or the Mirimar boat cruise from Southbank at 10:20 am. Tel: +61-7-3378-1366. World's first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. Cuddle a koala any time, hand feed kangaroos and encounter a large variety of Aussie wildlife, all in beautiful, natural settings.
  • Manly Boat Harbour. At Manly, the second largest in the southern hemisphere. There is also a public park located at Norfolk Point.
  • Mt Coot-tha, [20]. Brisbane's tallest mountain (which isn't actually a mountain). A popular makeout spot with a great view and good but overpriced cafe and restaurant. Also home to one of the Botanical Gardens and a Planetarium.
  • Museum of Brisbane, [21]. In King George Square. Features one floor of exhibits about the history of the city, and another floor for exhibitions of local artists.
  • New Farm Park. Large park on the river in New Farm.
  • Roma Street Parklands - Experience the theme gardens such as the topiary maze, rain forest walk, lake, celebration law and amphitheater with many public artworks to admire.
  • Southbank - Formerly the site of World Expo '88 this relatively recent development is across the Brisbane River from the heart of the city and features an artificial beach surrounded by extensive parklands. Also in Southbank are the shops, cafés, restaurants and cinemas of the Grey Street precinct. A great place to hang out on a hot day and swim for free. Suncorp Piazza within Southbank often hosts free live events and movies.
  • University of Queensland - One of Australia's oldest and most prestigious institutions situated on a bend of the Brisbane River. Its majestic sandstone buildings are surrounded by ornamental lakes, Jacaranda lined boulevards and some of the finest architecture. Visitor attractions include the Great Court, the UQ Art Museum at the James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre, the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, the Schonell Theatre, the lakes and Wordsmiths Bookshops. The university can be reached by bus from George St on bus numbers 412 and 109 or via the City Cat.

Do

  • Kangaroo Point - the walls along the Brisbane River are a popular spot for rock climbers. Activity carries on after dark, when the walls are well-lit. Classes are available for beginners. There are also barbecue and picnic spots in the area.
  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb - offers the opportunity to scale the top of Brisbane's iconic bridge. Enjoy 360 degree views of Brisbane, the mountain ranges and Moreton Bay Islands at dawn, afternoon or night.

Buy

  • Queen Street Mall, [22]. Main shopping mall in Brisbane, large variety of shops, has several shopping centres within it.
  • The Myer Centre, [23]. Runs the gamut from jeans shops to specialty knife stores. Internet kiosks are available.
  • The Wintergarden, [24]. A fashion centre.
  • QueensPlaza, [25]. Brisbane's newest fashion centre.
  • Broadway on the Mall, [26].
  • Brisbane Arcade, [27].
  • Queen Adelaide Building.
  • The Conrad Treasury Casino, (located at the George Street end of the mall), [28].
  • Adelaide Street. Downtown's dress circle
  • Albert Street. Has many adventure and sports-type retailers, lots of bookstores.
  • Eagle Street. The centre of law and finance in Queensland, holds the Eagle Street and Riverside markets.
  • Edward Street. New retail development.
  • South Bank markets. Held at the South Bank Parklands.
  • Brunswick Street Mall.
  • Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, [29].
  • Westfield Garden City, [30].
  • Logan Hyperdome, [31]. Loganholme
  • Westfield Chermside, [32].
  • Westfield Carindale, [33].
  • Northside Flower Market, [34].
  • Valley Markets - A shopping must for locals and tourists. Operating every weekend, find jewelery, fabulous handmade accessories and artwork. Home to emerging fashion designers. (Sat & Sun, 8am - 4pm)

Eat

Brisbane has a very good assortment of restaurants. However, they can be expensive and busy. Listed below are some notable restaurants in Brisbane city and its suburbs.


Brisbane City and Spring Hill:

  • Bar Merlo [35] - located in various outlets throughout the city, their first being opened in the QUT Gardens Point campus. Regarded as one of the leaders in the Brisbane café society boom since the 90's, their coffee is served at countless cafes and restaurants throughout Brisbane.
  • Cha Cha Char [36] - Famous award-winning steakhouse located at the Eagle St Pier precinct. Their steaks are considered one of Australia's best.
  • E'cco Bistro [37] - Founded and run by the internationally renowned and acclaimed chef Philip Johnson, it is one of the best restaurants in Brisbane and Australia-wide.
  • Hanaichi - Japanese sushi bar located in the 1st floor of Wintergarden. Also has a fast food counter located in the Wintergarden food court, and has franchises in various suburbs.
  • Il Centro [38] - Located in the Eagle St Pier precinct, along with other notable neighbours. Famed for its signature sandcrab lasagne, it is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Brisbane and also amongst the priciest.
  • Little Tokyo [39] - located in Spring Hill. Oldest Japanese restaurant in Brisbane, under same ownership for over 40 years. Authentic food and decor but at upper-range prices.
  • Pane e Vino [40] - great Italian restaurant on Albert Street at reasonable prices
  • Pier Nine [41] - Seafood restaurant located in the Eagle St Pier precinct. Bills itself as the 'most awarded fish and chip shop in Australia'.
  • Restaurant Two [42] - located at the corner of Edward and George St, across the street from the Botanic Gardens. Headed by executive chef David Pugh, it is widely regarded as one of Brisbane's best restaurants.
  • Siggi's at the Port Office [43] - located in the Stamford Plaza. One of the longest established fine dining restaurants in Brisbane.
  • Sono [44] - Yet another Japanese restaurant, located on Queen Street Mall serving authentic Japanese food. Has a second outlet in the new Portside precinct in Hamilton.
  • SSS BBQ Barns [45] - located on the corner of Queen & Ann St. Great steaks, ribs, shanks. warm country atmosphere and service with a smile.
  • Urbane - on Mary St, a short walk from Stamford Plaza. One of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane, serving unconventional but innovative food.


Fortitude Valley & New Farm:

  • Bank Vault Lounge[46] - on the Brunswick St Mall. Awesome Wood Fired Pizzas, alfresco dining.
  • Continental Cafe [47] - on James St. Good food, nice atmosphere and surprisingly good kids menu
  • Enjoy Inn - corner of Duncan St in Chinatown. One of the longest established restaurants in Brisbane, good Chinese food.
  • Fatboys Cafe - The cafe portion of Ric's Bar, on Brunswick St Mall. Serves some of the best value for money breakfasts in Brisbane from $4.
  • Freestyle Tout - a popular dessert restaurant located in the Emporium, with a sister restaurant that is first established in the Rosalie shops in Paddington.
  • Harvey's [48] - located in the James St precinct. Very popular cafe restaurant and deli, its grocery section also offers some interesting gourmet items.
  • Hunan Chinese Restaurant - on Chinatown Mall. Unpretentious eatery serving exotic Chinese regional fare from the Hunan province, as well as Chinese takeaway staples at cheap and reasonable prices.
  • Isis Brasserie [49] - on Brunswick St near the Central Brunswick precinct. One of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane.
  • King of Kings - on Wickham St in the Chinatown precinct. A Brisbane institution for yum cha, decent food and prices
  • Lucky's Trattoria - another long-established restaurant that is arguably a Brisbane institution. Well-priced Italian, located in the Central Valley precinct.
  • Mecca Bah [50] - located in the Emporium precinct. Popular restaurant that serves modern Middle Eastern food, part of an Australian interstate franchise that originated in Melbourne.
  • Mint Indian Gourmet - on Brunswick St near the Central Brunswick precinct. Indian restaurant that serves traditional curries as well as gourmet dishes at upper range prices.
  • Re Del Gelato - Beautifully made Italian gelati, a perfect cap after a nice meal at one of the close by restaurants on Brunswick Street.
  • James Street Market [51] - not a restaurant, but a luxe grocery where you will find all the food and drink you need to bring with you in the bush.
  • Taj Mahal - Amazing Indian cuisine located on Brunswick St, opposite Village Twin Cinemas. Caterers to the Indian Cricket Team when in Brisbane.
  • Thai Wi-Rat - on Chinatown Mall. Cheap and cheerful authentic regional Thai-Laotian cuisine.
  • The Vietnamese Restaurant - on Wickham St opposite the Chinatown mall entrance. Excellent authentic Vietnamese food at great prices.
  • Vespa Pizza [52] - Woodfired pizza restaurant on the corner of Merthyr Rd and James St. Serves the tastiest pizzas in Brisbane and is BYO. Cosy atmosphere in the fairylight-lit courtyard outside and room to move in the booths inside. Delivers to local area on Vespa scooters.
  • Wagamama [53] - Located in the Emporium precinct, part of the global noodle bar chain. Has franchises in Chermside and Wintergarden in the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane CBD.


Southbank and Woolloongabba:

  • Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant - Located on Little Stanley St, multi award-winning Turkish restaurant including the RCQ Best Themed Restaurant in Brisbane, features belly dancers on weekends. One of the most popular and busiest restaurants in the Southbank precinct.
  • Chez Laila [54] - located on the Southbank boardwalk, neat restaurant/cafe serving standard cafe fare as well as authentic Lebanese cuisine. Excellent view of the Brisbane river.
  • Green Papaya [55] - located in Woolloongabba. Inspired French-influenced Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Founded by former owner Lien Yeomans, it is arguably a Brisbane institution.
  • La Kasbah - located on Stanley St in Woolloongabba. Long established restaurant that serves a combination of French and North African cuisine.
  • Norman Hotel [56] - Along with the Breakfast Creek Hotel, possibly the best steaks in town (it's slogan is "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant"). Located on Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba.
  • Hotel Broadway [57] - offering $10 cook your own steaks around a large barbecue in the beer garden, lunch and dinner 7 days. 5 minute walk from the Gabba stadium.
  • Timmy's [58] - overlooking Picnic Island in the Southbank Parklands, well-executed Asian-European fusion cuisine by notable chef Timmy Kemp.


Milton and Park Road:

  • China Sea - On the Coronation Drive end of Park Road. Excellent Chinese food at upper-range prices.
  • La Dolce Vita - next to Rue de Paris, great Italian cafe
  • Rue de Paris - Brisbane's Eiffel Tower, another great cafe
  • Royal Thai Orchid [59] - popular Thai restaurant on Little Cribb St off Park Road. Its sister restaurant is the first Thai restaurant in Brisbane, in the outer suburb of Springwood.
  • The Lure [60] - at the Coro Hotel on Milton Road, one of the most highly awarded seafood restaurants in Australia.


Paddington:

  • Gambaro's [61] - located on Caxton St. Has both a seafood restaurant and a long-established seafood takeaway. A Brisbane institution.
  • Harem - Turkish restaurant complete with belly-dancing
  • Kookaburra Cafe - good pizza in a relaxed atmosphere
  • Montrachet [62] - Excellent French bistro specializing in Lyonnaise specialties, regarded as one of Brisbane's best restaurants.
  • Tomato brothers - located at the Rosalie shops in Paddington. Renowned for their woodfired pizzas, with several franchises in several Brisbane suburbs such as Wilston and Clayfield. [63]


University of Queensland:

The university and its surrounds provide many quality eateries if you happen to be in the area or on a CityCat ferry and caters to a cheaper market.

  • A Salt 'n Battery - excellent quality fish and chip shop-cum-seafood restaurant with a wide variety of foods and decent prices, located in Hawken Village (on Hawken Drive, approx 5-10 minutes walk from the University proper)
  • The Pizza Caffe [64] - fantastic pizzas with really different ingredients
  • Wordsmiths - a touch more expensive than the other cafes on campus, but a good atmosphere (in a relatively quiet part of the campus, near the bookshop) and has a longer menu than the other options


South Brisbane and West End:

  • Era Bistro [65] - located on Melbourne St in South Brisbane. Excellent bistro food, great cafe spot, extensive wine cellar. Same owners/chef as the former critically acclaimed Circa.
  • Lefkas Taverna - on Hardgrave Road West End. Brisbane's most famous Greek takeaway and restaurant.
  • Makanan Indonesia - excellent authentic Indonesian fare at unbeatable value, located on Hardgrave Road
  • Mondo Organics - on Hardgrave Road West End. Excellent Italian restaurant serving organic produce. Considered to be Brisbane's premier organic food restaurant.
  • Punjabi Palace [66] - on Melbourne St South Brisbane. Arguably one of Brisbane's best Indian restaurants.
  • The Forest Cafe - on Boundary St, cheap and delicious vegan food. The indoors area can get quite warm during the summer months, however.
  • Tukka [67] - on Boundary St. Unique and innovative modern native Australian cuisine. Pricing is at the upper range, but worth a visit.


Restaurants in other Areas/precincts:

  • Baguette [68] - on Racecourse Road in the Ascot precinct. Famous Modern-Australian restaurant that is owned and operated by the Domenech family for over 30 years.
  • Bespoke - on Sandgate Road in the Albion precinct. Fantastic French/Modern Australian restaurant, upper-price range.
  • Blue Lotus [69] - in the Kelvin Grove Urban Village precinct. Gourmet and exotic ice-creams that change according to the seasons.
  • Breakfast Creek Hotel [70] - in the Newstead area. Famous for its steaks, a Brisbane institution.
  • Brett's Wharf [71] - off Racecourse Road. Head chef is the renowned Alastair McLeod, great seafood and splendid views of the Brisbane river.
  • Landmark - located at the Sunnybank Plaza business precinct. One of the most renowned and popular Chinese restaurants in Brisbane, notably for its well done authentic yum cha.
  • Sakura - has franchises located in Coorparoo and Highgate Hill. Excellent authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices.
  • Sitar [72] - right next to Bespoke in the Albion area. Award-winning Indian restaurant that has franchises in suburbs like West End and New Farm.

Cafés

Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, it can be hard to find a good cup of coffee if you do not know where to go.

West End

  • The Gunshop Cafe Possibly the best french toast in the city! Always busy so be prepared to queue and not open on Sunday. Fantastic coffee to boot.

Paddington

  • Urban Grind [73] in LaTrobe Tce. This small café has a BYO food policy, great coffee and free WiFi. For those who wish to indulge in a guilt free cup of coffee Urban Grind is committed to being climate neutral and use Barambah organic milk in their fantastic coffee's.
  • Sol also in LaTrobe Tce. This vegetarian and all organic café warm in winter and cool in summer and the coffee is great.

Drink

Brisbane's drinking and nightlife scene is separated into some distinct areas. Anyone planning a night on the town should be aware that after 3am no more patrons are allowed into pubs and clubs. This is a safety measure, coupled with increased security presence at taxi ranks. Additionally, smokers should beware of strict anti-smoking regulations. Smoking is now banned in 'all areas where food & drink is served', both indoors & outdoors. This means that smoking is banned in all hotels, clubs, & cafes.

Suburban

Toowong:

  • Regatta [74] (adjacent to the Regatta CityCat terminal) - expect a wait to get in on Thur, Fri and Sat nights, but a must-go for the best sessions on Wed and Sun nights when the venue is completely taken by students
  • Royal Exchange (RE) Hotel - generally a good, down to earth pub, more so than the Regatta which tends to cater to a slightly trendier crowd

Both Regatta and the RE have reputations (which they more than live up) as student haunts, being located reasonably close to the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.

Indooroopilly:

  • Indooroopilly Hotel
  • Pig and Whistle

Bulimba:

Catch a citycat to Bulimba for some trendy shopping on popular Oxford Street, great cafes, hip bars or for a picnic in the park.

  • Oxford 152 [75] - one of Brisbane's most popular suburban restaurant/bar (they brew their own beer!)

Brisbane City

  • Belgian Beer Cafe (corner of Margaret Street and Edward Street) caters for a slightly more upmarket clientele, with a "gourmet" or "boutique" style to its all-Belgian-sourced beers, also serves meals, a particular favourite being traditional Belgian mussels
  • Union Jack's - The most popular student spot in the city eith drink cards catering to the need for cheap drinks in the city. Also plays Bloc Party.
  • The Port Office - Trendy bar downstairs dance floor upstairs popular spot in Brisbane. Crowed with students on Thursday.
  • Caesars - new nightclub located on Adelaide Street. R'n'B style music.
  • Club Phoenix - catering to the metal and alternative music scene, frequently featuring local and international live bands. On Edward Street between Queen and Adelaide Streets.
  • Criterion Bar - newly renovated bar, recommended for those who are looking for a quick beer and some country music
  • Down Under Bar - if you are studying in Brisbane or just backpacking, this is perfect bar for meeting people of other nationalities
  • Exchange Hotel is somewhat popular with a wide, although decidedly young, demographic, including students, young professionals and tourists, who all stream in after cheap drinks finish at the nearby Victory and Port Office hotels, usually around 11 to midnight
  • Fridays - on Eagle Street, and a very popular nightclub which also features dining (not recommended after 10pm)
  • Her Majesty's Basement - tucked away on Queen St, is definitely for those who are not into mainstream music; usually has live cover and original bands
  • Anise - Near the corner of Barker and Brunswick St in New Farm, this great restaurant has an extensive range of French, Spanish and Swiss absinthe available
  • Jorge on George - features live bands, great food, and one of the the only places in Brisbane to get absinthe
  • Mary Street - has now closed down.
  • O'Malley's Irish Pub - beneath the Queen Street Mall (Winter Garden centre), this Irish Pub is the perfect place in Brisbane to dine and then enjoy a Guinness beer; open till 3am
  • Sportsman Hotel [76] - 130 Leicherdt St, Spring Hill. Commonly called "Sporty's", this gay and lesbian pub has two bars upstairs and one bar downstairs. Lunch and dinner are served. Drag shows and karaoke on certain nights.
  • The Brewhouse [77] on Albert street has its own brewery where it makes delicious beers without preservatives
  • The Victory - very popular especially every Thursday when it's "student night". Although its often hard to move once you're in there as karaoke nights and cover bands are often to be found

Fortitude Valley

The Fortitude Valley is a unique area of Brisbane catering to the live music scene. A large number of Brisbane's hippest clubs are located here. Through the 1960s and 70s it was seen as Brisbane's bohemian hub and has maintained a certain degree of that reputation and street cred. More recently it is sometimes thought of as being one of the more dangerous areas of the city but this attitude is changing as the area becomes more popular and hence, safer. This however has had an adverse affect on the area's creative vibe as locals turn their back on the area, forcing the creative epicentre of Brisbane to other areas of the city such as West End and Paddington. As with anywhere, simple common sense, caution and courtesy will keep you out of harm's way.

  • Bank - Vault Lounge [78] - Party Bar, OK atmosphere, recently renovated, the Vault Lounge is perfect for functions. Outdoor seating available, woodfire pizza and pasta.
  • Barsoma [79] - trendy little bar tucked away on Constance Street (off Ann st) offers great cuisine & an array of delicious (& creative) cocktails. On some nights it plays alternative dance music parties.
  • Birdee Num Num [80] - OK atmosphere, younger crowd, many backpackers hang out here. Commercial dance music.
  • Bowery Bar - a small & chic New York inspired bar.
  • Glass Bar [81] - vibrant atmosphere, small restaurant & bar/lounge, really expensive drinks
  • GPO - nightclub situated in a former Post Office on Ann Street; trendy spot with great tunes. Beautiful people upstairs.
  • Monastery [82] - Top dance club in Brisbane plays house and Electro/Electronica. Small but action packed. Freshly renovated interior.
  • Rics - live music most nights. The Valley's hipster institution.
  • Royal George (RG) Hotel [83]- Large Beergarden in the Brunswick St Mall, great atmosphere, great food deals most nights.
  • The Beat - downstairs is hardcore dance/rave, upstairs is gay (generally a younger crowd than the Wickham) & has two dance floors & a beer garden
  • The Empire [84] - alternative dance club, nice long balcony overlooking busy Brunswick Street, a few levels, less pretentious but darker than other dance clubs in Brisbane although no less cheaper
  • The Family [85] (top end of the Brunswick Street Mall) is a bit pricey to get in, but it's one of the biggest club in Brisbane and has great music and atmosphere. Decor is now outdated to other clubs, but still attracts large crowds; Sunday nights (fluffy) are gay
  • The Met The newest and biggest club in Brisbane. Host to many internationl DJ's. Amazing decor with great attention to detail. Many different rooms to explore. Although a bit expensive, a huge vary of different types of people inside.
  • The Press Club - very popular club on Brunswick Street. Large lounges to stretch out on. Host to funky Jazz blended with dance music.
  • The Sunbar Restaurant Lounge [86] - modern and stylish ambience, strict door entry conditions regarding clothing and shoes. Male to Female ratio strictly enforced. Quite expensive.
  • The Wickham [87] - gay & lesbian dance club with outdoor seating, drag shows most nights
  • The Zoo [88] - this live music venue is almost more Brisbane than the river. Indie rock, hipsters and that whitey dreadlock vibe.

West End

Less crowded than 'the valley' or the city, this bohemian district popular with locals offers a few hip clubs, intimate restaurants and a very laid back atmosphere.

Check out:

  • Lychee Lounge [89] - intimate setting, sensual cocktails, beautiful crowd
  • Pavillion Bar - laid back atmosphere, great for a Sunday afternoon, enjoy a game of pool or sit al fresco & people watch
  • Tongue & Groove [90] - restaurant & bar offering a cosmopolitan menu catering for vegeterians. Friendly bar, live music 5 nights a week, from reggae to funk, jazz & blues & dance - check out the many local acts
  • Uber [91] - opulent, sophisticated & funky restaurant/bar/lounge/dancefloor. nice spot, popular with working professionals

Sleep

Youth hostels

  • Birdee Num Num [92] - modern, clean, very popular, swimming pool, and one of Brisbane's popular (but more expensive) night clubs
  • City Backpackers
  • Cloud 9 Backpackers Resort
  • Palace Central Backpackers
  • YHA [93] has a hostel near Roma Street Station

Hotels

Brisbane hotels are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Albion Manor Apartments and Motel, 402 Sandgate Road, (Cnr Sandgate Road & Camden Street), Albion, Queensland, 4010 Australia, 1800 247 447 or +61 7 3256 0444, [94]. Albion Manor offers spacious studio apartment that are designed to delivery comfort and convenience. Best rates on official website start at AU$105.
  • Central Brunswick Hotel, 455 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Queensland 4006 Australia, +617 3852 1411 (fax: +61 7 3852 1015), [95]. Central Brunswick offers spacious apartments close to Chinatown, just minutes from the CBD area of downtown Brisbane. Best rates on official website start at AU$38.
  • Conrad Treasury In an old colonial building right in the center of the CBD
  • Story Apartments, 89 Lambert Street, Kangaroo Point 4169, Queensland., +61 7 3392 1300, [96]. Story Apartments offers both short-stay and long-stay accommodation, and is just a few minuted ferry ride from the CBD. Best rates on official website start at AU$209.
  • Hilton - overlooks Queen Street Mall
  • Hotel Grand Chancellor
  • Hotel Ibis
  • Kingsford Riverside Inn [97] 114 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton (phone 3862 1317). From $69. Close to the airport. A few minutes walk from the Breakfast Creek Hotel.
  • Mercure
  • Quality Hotel The Inchcolm, 73 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland 4000, +61 7 3332 8888.
  • Riverside Hotel
  • Rydges 9 Glenelg Street, South Bank (phone 1300 857 922) - located in the heart of Brisbane's arts and entertainment precinct, it is the closest hotel to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is immediately adjacent to the hotel and downtown Brisbane and the bohemian village of West End are a 10 minute stroll away. Rydges Hotels and Resorts is an Australian owned and operated company.
  • Saville [98] - South Bank - new, modern, brash & very stylish
  • Sofitel Hotel (previously Sheraton)

Serviced Apartments

  • Bridgewater Terraces, Wharf Street, Kangaroo Point, [99]. Well located, within a few minutes walk of Holman Street ferry terminal, Bridgewater Terraces consist of one, two and three bedroom self contained apartments. On site facilities include a large lagoon pool, spa, sauna, gym and barbeque facilities (shared with Quest Bridgewater next door).
  • Quest Bridgewater, 55 Baildon Street, Kangaroo Point, [100]. Also featuring one, two and three bedroom apartments, the high rise Quest Bridgewater is a good choice, although it's more expensive than the Bridgewater Terraces. Great views of the city from some rooms. As aforementioned, Quest Bridgewater utilises the facilities on offer at Bridgewater Terraces.


  • The Oaks Lexicon Apartments, Ann Street, Brisbane City, [101]. Conveniently located in the heart of the CBD, the Oaks Lexicon Apartment Hotel is one of Brisbane’s most contemporary buildings. With beautifully appointed one and two bedroom apartments, Oaks Lexicon Apartment Hotel combines the outstanding facilities and service of a modern luxury hotel with the privacy and spaciousness of a fully self-contained apartment all within minutes from the Queen Street Mall, Riverside and the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Contact

  • Free Internet access is available at BCC public libraries, although you might need to book your session in advance.
  • Free wireless internet is available within the Queen Street Mall, provided by the BCC.
  • Many cafes and hotels provide free wireless access to patrons. Keep an eye out for signage.
  • Payphones are abundant in the downtown area, though it's more cost effective to buy a prepaid sim card - available from supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience stores etc for a few dollars. A complete handset and sim package can be bought for less than AUD$50.00
  • Alternatively, prepaid calling cards are a cheap way to stay in touch within Australia or overseas (rates usually less than 1c/min to Asia/Europe). Cheap rates are availabe for local, mobile, long distance and international (mobiles included). Available from convenience stores and petrol stations, a local call is required to access the prepaid service.

Stay safe

Emergency numbers

Throughout Australia, the number for emergency services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) is 000. When using a mobile or cell phone, the numbers 000 and 112, are free of charge, and connect using any of the available networks.

Emergency numbers such as 911 and 999 do not work within Australia.

Areas

The good news is that Brisbane has a relatively low crime rate and is generally a safe city. As in any other developed city, it's quite easy to have a good time without worrying about security.

  • Fortitude Valley - Police presence very strong here. For females, it is recommended to travel in pairs or groups to avoid any unwanted attentions from drunken revelers, especially in early hours of the morning.
  • City Central - As per Fortitude Valley, but with a little extra care to be taken -- but still safe. Recently 'Police Beat' initiatives have slashed central city crime drastically at night. Nevertheless, be careful if catching a train at night, even though the train stations are well patrolled and watched by CCTV.
  • Suburban pubs - Drunks can be a hassle when in the vicinity of suburban pubs, especially around closing times.
  • Treasury Casino - Casino patrons often gather outside, and unwanted attention can be received late at night due to drunks. However, security is tight and the entire area around the Casino is monitored by CCTV.

Get out

Brisbane provides a base for day trips to explore the southeast of Queensland. The North Coast of New South Wales can also be reached in an hour if traffic is light, but allow up to two hours travel if traffic is heavy or there is an accident on the Pacific Motorway. Queensland Rail also provides extensive services out of Brisbane to the north and south of the city.

North of Brisbane:

  • Glass House Mountains National Park - about an hour north of Brisbane. There is a scenic drive through the mountains with a couple of lookouts, or you can go for a hike - easy or difficult, depending on the mountain. (Mt. Beerwah offers a stern but quick scramble and a good view of the area.) There are a few small roadside shops in the area that sell homemade jams and varieties of macadamia nuts.
  • Beerwah - home of the Australia Zoo [102], run by the family of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. Admission is $46 for adults.
  • Sunshine Coast - 90 minutes north of Brisbane, suitable for surfers without the clutter of the more famous beaches to the south. The city of Noosa and several derivatively-named cities (e.g., Noosa Heads, Noosaville) offer short and long-term accommodation, some restaurants and a few stretches of shops aimed at tourists with and without a budget.
  • Sunshine Coast Hinterland - 90 minutes north of Brisbane. Crafts and galleries and cafes and lots of bushwalks and scenic views in the Blackall Ranges at Maleny, Montville, Flaxton and Mapleton.
  • Eumundi famous markets - on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Fraser Island [103] - World Heritage listed site, offering pristine, unspoiled lakes, dunes, forests and wildlife. Camping is possible, or day-trips can be arranged from Noosa. World's largest sand island.
  • Redcliffe This peninsula located 45 minutes north is famous for its long stretch of beach, friendly locals and excellent food, shops and weather.

South of Brisbane:

  • Gold Coast - famous for being a tourist town, approximately 70km south of Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway.
  • Mt. Tamborine National Park [104] - extensive areas of National Park plus arts, crafts, galleries and the like, near several forest hikes. There are some excellent fudge shops at the top of Mt. Tamborine that offer generous free samples and a staggering variety of flavors.
  • Surfers Paradise - tourist mecca, and arguably the most upmarket area on the Gold Coast, host to Caville Avenue and several shopping malls
  • Dreamworld [105] - theme park in the western Gold Coast suburb of Coomera, on the Pacific Motorway. Tel: +61-7-5588-1111.
  • Lower Moreton Bay
  • Moreton Bay Islands - includes places like Moreton Island (where Scooby Doo was filmed) and St. Helena Island (a former maximum security prison island)
  • Seaworld [106] - aquatically-themed park sandwiched on a peninsula between the Gold Coast Seaway and the Pacific Ocean, located in Southport (just north of the Gold Coast)
  • Wet' n' Wild Water World [107] and Movieworld movieworld.com.au] - more theme parks near Dreamworld, on the Pacific Motorway

West of Brisbane:

  • Ipswich - is situated 40kms west of Brisbane. 45 minutes by road from Brisbane City.
  • Brisbane Skydiving Centre [108] - offers tandem skydiving and advanced freefall courses. Willowbank.
  • Workshops Rail Museum [109] - The whole family will enjoy the birthplace of Queensland Rail and enjoy the interacive exhibits at this award-winning museum. North Street, North Ipswich.
  • Brookwater Golf Club - An 18 hole Greg Norman championship golf course and Australia's No. 2 public access course.
  • Queensland Raceway [110] - Queensland's premier race circuit. This is the only location near Brisbane where members of the public can drive on the same racetack as professional drivers. Champions Way, Willowbank.
  • Bunya Mountains National Park [111] - Three hours west of Brisbane. One of the oldest national park in Queensland. Home of the ancient bunya pine and many other species of plants, birds and other animals. Stay at least three nights to have time to hike in the park.



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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