What to do in Brisbane
Recently dubbed “Australia’s hippest city”, you’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Brisbane. Start out in vibrant South Bank, along the Brisbane River. Here you’ll find the Wheel of Brisbane (the city’s answer to the London Eye), the South Bank Parklands full of palm trees and finally, Streets Beach, an urban oasis where you can cool off while taking in the skyscrapers of Brisbane’s cityscape.
South Bank also boasts culture in spades, with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art), lined up one after another along the river. This is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Brisbane’s culture, with the added bonus that the GOMA offers free admission!
From South Bank, catch the free CityHopper ferry to cruise along the river to Story Bridge. Not for the faint of heart, you can actually climb this awesome structure with the use of a safety line – it’s one of only three bridge walks in the world! The staff are also experts in helping you get over your fear of heights!
Over in Brisbane’s CBD (Central Business District), you’ll find shops galore plus the City Botanic Gardens, a peaceful oasis right on the riverbank with sprawling green lawns, brightly coloured blooms, ponds and palm trees. The CBD is also the site of the Brisbane City Hall housing the Museum of Brisbane and marked by its clock tower, which you can climb for great views.
Continuing on our neighbourhood tour of Brisbane, up-and-coming New Farm is an edgy newcomer full of cultural attractions and hipster cafés. The industrial-chic Brisbane Powerhouse is found here, which hosts comedy festivals, plays and even markets in its parking lot. The New Farm Park is just a stone’s throw away, bedecked in the most beautiful purple Jacaranda blossoms you’ve ever seen. Here you can also catch the CityHopper ferry to take to the river for free. If you’re feeling active, don’t miss the New Farm to Teneriffe walk, a 2.5-kilometre-long stretch of pathway along the Brisbane River.
Just above New Farm is Fortitude Valley, a neighbourhood known for its buzzing nightlife with bars galore, live music joints and Brisbane’s Chinatown. If your classmates are meeting up for a night on the town, Fortitude Valley will surely be your destination!
Experience Australian wildlife in and around Brisbane
When you hear the word Australia, do you think of kangaroos and koalas? You’re not alone! An infinite amount of tourists and locals alike have made the pilgrimage to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for the holy grail of cuteness – cuddling a koala. These sleepy marsupials will be happy to give a hug if you partake in the animal sanctuary’s wild encounter koala wildlife experience. You can also check out the kangaroos, dingoes, wallabies and wombats among tons of other species.
A smaller (and free) sanctuary is the Daisy Hill Koala Centre to the south of Brisbane where you can watch the koalas in their natural habitat. If you’re searching for the king of all wildlife experiences, head to the Australian Zoo, an hour north of Brisbane. This zoo was made famous by the famous crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, whose widow Terrie and children are still actively involved in the zoo. There’s nothing like it!
If you’re searching for beaches or a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, why not head to one of the Brisbane islands? With scores to choose from, the most popular is North Stradbroke Island, where you can surf, sandboard, whale watch, take an island tour from an aboriginal and visit the island’s lakes. Make sure not to miss the views from Point Lookout in North Gorge, where if you’re lucky, you’ll see whales breaching in the Coral Sea.
Off the west coast of North Stradbroke is Peel Island, which more experienced kayakers can kayak to and explore the shipwreck off the southwest coast. If you’re in the mood for a ghost tour, take the cruise from Brisbane to St Helena Island where you’ll visit the ruins of a colonial prison and hear hair-raising tales about the convicts who once inhabited the island.
On Moreton Island, slightly smaller than North Stradbroke, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Snorkel amidst shipwrecks and tropical fish, sand toboggan at top speeds down pristine dunes, feed the local pod of bottlenose dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon or the Champagne Pools and get breathtaking views in Honeymoon Bay. It’s a true paradise on Earth and can be visited as a day trip from Brisbane!