The urban style of Brisbane
Based on the Brisbane River, the metropolitan capital of Queensland offers a vast array of attractions with a city vibe all its own. Jacaranda trees, Queensland architecture and a vibrant artistic heartbeat are iconic features of the global city of Brisbane.
As Australia’s third most populous city, Brisbane has a population of 2.6 million. In pre-covid times, it attracted around 9 million visits a year and was the third most popular Australian destination for international tourists. The traditional owners are the Turrbal and Jagera peoples.
Nestled between the Gold Coast in the south and Sunshine Coast in the north, Brisbane is ideal for both urban and coastal living. Divided by the Brisbane River but connected by a series of bridges, Brisbanites refer to ‘northside’ and ‘southside’ to describe the two sides. The south-western suburbs are commonly known as ‘westside’ while the coastal region of Moreton Bay is called ‘Bayside’.
Arts & Culture
Southbank’s cultural precinct is home to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) which presents musicals, theatre, ballets, operas and music across multiple theatre spaces; The Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Cremorne Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre. Southbank is home to Queensland Ballet, Opera Queensland and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. The prestigious music conservatorium, The Queensland Conservatorium, is also based in Southbank.
Other popular performance spaces include The Brisbane Powerhouse, Judith Wright Arts Centre, La Boite and Queensland Theatre. The State Library of Queensland is also located in Southbank, offering literary experiences and events. Collectively known as QAGOMA, art lovers will adore the Queensland Art Gallery and Australia’s largest modern art gallery, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, also within the cultural precinct.
For the curious-minded, explore Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, featuring science, cultural and natural exhibitions specific to Queensland. Located in front of Brisbane City Hall, King George Square is also worth a visit, as a premier public space which hosts a range of markets and events each year.
Brisbane’s most iconic bridge, the Story Bridge, is a heritage listed structure offering Adventure Climbs for game participants. Architecture fans will enjoy to St John’s Cathedral to see the striking neo-gothic structure which is the only stone-vaulted church in the southern hemisphere.
Dining & Nightlife
There are an extraordinary 6,000 restaurants in Brisbane, catering to tastes from around the globe. Gourmet Traveller rates some of the best including the Nordic-themed Elska, cool Italia at Bianca and the moody, progressive dining experience at Essa. Dining precincts include Eat St, Chinatown and for a contemporary day or night experience, visit Howard Smith Wharves, a sleek waterside precinct with restaurants, breweries and a hotel.
The Brisbane central business district covers 2.2kms with the main street being Queen Street. Many of Australia’s largest companies are based, or have contact offices, located here. Internationally, Brisbane is classed as a global city and Australia’s capital of technology, with strengths in mining research and green energy, medicine and biotechnology, cryptocurrency and digital industries and robotics.
Visit the City Botanic Gardens along the river or the premier subtropical Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha, offering a variety of natural environments including the world’s largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees. You can also connect with nature and wildlife at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which offers a great family day out.
With its unique, twining bougainvillea blossoms, Southbank Parklands offers slices of rainforest alongside the river, children’s playgrounds and splash pools. Outside the metropolitan area you’ll find two national parks; the D’Aguilar National Park and the Glass House Mountains National Park, which is listed on the Queensland and National Heritage Register.
As Brisbane’s oldest and grandest park, New Farm Park makes a great day out, with an extensive playground, rose garden and historic bandstand rotunda.
In the CBD, shopping centres include the Myer Centre, the Wintergarden and Queensland’s largest pedestrian mall, The Queen Street Mall. There are an addition six large regional shopping centres including Westfield Carindale, Westfield Chermside, Westfield Garden City, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Westfield North Lakes and Logan Hyperdome in the outer-south. You’ll find outlet shopping at Skygate and DFO. Brisbane also hosts a number of markets including the largest wholesale markets, Brisbane Markets.
Major sporting venues in Brisbane include the Gabba which is home to Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Heat and Queensland Bulls and is recognised as having one of the best cricket wickets in the world. Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) hosts rugby league, rugby union, soccer, boxing, extreme sports and large-scale concerts.
Visitors and locals alike love Moreton Bay and the marine park which is home to islands Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island and Bribie Island. They are accessible by ferry and feature resorts and beaches. Try dolphin feeding or whale watching at Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. For coastal living in Brisbane, consider areas around the Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe, Sandgate, Wynnum, Manly and Wellington Point.
Brisbane offers a plethora of state and independent schooling options across preschool, primary school and high school. In addition, it is home to five multi-campus universities including The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, The University of Southern Queensland and The University of the Sunshine Coast. A further four universities have Brisbane campuses so there are many opportunities for further education.
Brisbane’s transport system centres around its large rail, bus and ferry networks. Brisbane Airport is the third busiest Australian airport, with both International and Domestic terminals. The Port of Brisbane is the endpoint of the main shipping channel in the area and is the third busiest port in the country. Brisbane is also home to two cruise ship terminals.
Within the greater Brisbane area there are eight major public hospitals, four major private hospitals, and numerous smaller public and private facilities.
Like many Australian cities, 2021 has seen extraordinary growth of 25% in the Brisbane property market, and it is predicted that growth will continue as Brisbane is still affordable compared to other east coast capital cities. Factors such as infrastructure development leading into the 2032 Olympic Games, combined with interstate migration for lifestyle and affordability reasons, place Brisbane in good stead to continue its property value growth phase, although the rate is likely to slow.
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