Last Updated on May 18, 2016
When people talk about Australia, you always hear them rave about Sydney and Melbourne. But what about Brisbane? Queensland’s capital is one of the most underrated cities in Australia, even though it offers a plethora of reasons to visit. Brisbane is a river town with a vibrant nightlife, a booming art scene, a gorgeous riverfront, as well as a fantastic restaurant and coffee shop scene. It is also the jumping off point to experience the Sunshine and the Gold Coast, and in driving distance of the Granite Belt wine region, extraordinary wildlife spots (including the biggest koala sanctuary in the world!), a wide array of cycling paths and hiking trails, plus cliff climbing and abseiling spots.Still not convinced include Brisbane into your Australia itinerary, book ticket to Brisbane and a Brisbane hotel?
Here are five reasons why we think Queensland’s capital deserves a visit:
Paradise for art lovers
The Gallery Of Modern Art is one of the country’s best art museums and focuses on Australian modern art (from the 1970s to today). In addition to the permanent exhibits you find a number of often changing and cutting-edge exhibits here that include video installations, photography, film, sculptures and of course paintings.
Art lovers will also enjoy the Brisbane Powerhouse, a former power station that has been turned into a contemporary arts center, including graffiti art, performing arts, art festivals and visual arts including pieces of the industrial lights and machinery from the power station’s old electrical transformers. In addition, you find a rooftop terrace here, a bar and restaurant, green spaces and a performance theater.
But there are plenty of other galleries – you can find a list of the ten best Brisbane art galleries here.
One of Australia’s best and most vibrant city life
One of the best things about Brisbane is its vibrant city life. The South Bank of the Brisbane City has been improved considerably over the past few years, and now you can take in life music here, take in the stunning river sunsets, window shop in Little Stanley Street, enjoy the free art. The Collective Markets are held on Friday evenings and weekends in Stanley Street Plaza and focus on local designers, art and jewelry – a must-do on a visit to Brisbane! On Saturday morning, the West End Markets in Davies Park are buzzing with joyous shoppers and on Sunday morning, the riverfront docks area north of the CBD (what Brisbane’s city center is referred to) turns into a craft market. Stroll along the riverfront and you’ll pass cute cafes and restaurants with fantastic river views and excellent food – and coffee, of course.
A wealth of wildlife and nature
If you are a fan of nature and wildlife, you will love Brisbane: there’s the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the largest koala sanctuary in the entire world, only a 15-minute drive from the city, with over 130 koalas which are just waiting to be cuddled, and kangaroos waiting to be fed. Then there’s Mount Coot-tha, the tallest mountain around Brisbane with splendid views. You also find the (free!) Botanical Gardens here. The hike to the peak is strenuous, but the vistas over Brisbane are rewarding – make sure to bring a picnic up here!
Other places for nature lovers include D’Aguilar National Park which includes a wide range of hiking trails and the East Queensland Wildlife Centre (with turtles, pythons, lizards and other animals), New Farm Park, a park that is famous for its jacaranda trees (particularly worth a visit in the spring, when they’re carrying their purple blossoms) and the vast rose gardens as well as the Roma Street Parklands, which are the biggest subtropical gardens in a city center and home to more than 1,800 plant species. And the best thing: admission is free!
An unrivaled music scene
If you are a music lover, you’ll love Brisbane, which was named as one of the Top 5 hot spots for music by Billboard Magazine. There are more bars, pubs and music clubs in Brisbane than anywhere else in the world and the city’s live music scene is fantastic. For some great live music events, head to Max Watts, The Triffid, The Tivoli, The Zoo, and The Underdog Pub Co.
Scenic Moreton Bay
Brisbane sits in the center of Moreton Bay, which is a paradise for wildlife lovers. Here you find beautiful sandy beaches and you have the chance for breathtaking wildlife spottings: turtles, whales and dolphins are spotted here regularly! 365 islands are scattered across the bay, which stretches from the Gold Coast to Caloundra, and the most popular ones are Moreton Island, where people head to feed dolphins, and North Stradbroke Island, which is known for its good surf and pretty beaches.