Whether an action-packed holiday or “slow travel” is more your thing, “Brissie”, as the locals fondly call the city, is sure to fit the bill. Seen from above, Australia’s third-largest city is surrounded by greenery and cleaved by a serpentine river that spills out into the aquamarine waters of an island-dotted bay. In Brisbane’s city centre, centuries-old historic buildings stand as reminders of the city’s colonial past while also playing neighbours to gleaming modern skyscrapers.
Across the river from the centre, South Bank, the city’s cultural precinct, impresses with its modernist architecture. Along with world-class ballet, theatre, music and art venues, South Bank is home to a plethora of restaurants, cafés and bars. You don’t have to travel far for natural sights, either – while there are plenty of green pockets within the city, just a few kilometres outside of it are mountains replete with the remnants of ancient rainforests, Australia’s unique flora and fauna and bushwalking trails.
When to go
It’s best to avoid summer (December–February) when it can be hot and sticky, with daytime temperatures sometimes exceeding 30ºC. Spring (September–November) and autumn (March–May) are the best times to visit, although winter (June–August), with its mild, sunny days and average daily temperatures of around 15ºC, is perfectly agreeable, too.
How to get around
Brisbane’s city centre, set out in a grid, is easy to navigate on foot. It’s worth experiencing a CityCat ferry ride, with stops up and down the river on both sides. You can also rent a bike at any of the CityCycle stations spread throughout the city centre, or hire a Lime electric scooter. To use trains, buses and the CityCat ferries, purchase or top-up a Go Card at train or bus stations, newsagents or convenience stores.