With a population exceeding two million and the second highest growth rate in the country (according to the latest census), you can well imagine that there’s no shortage of things to see and do in the lively city of Brisbane. But as a visitor to this fair hamlet you might not have the first clue as to how to narrow the scope of your options so as to take in the highlights of the third largest city in Australia. So here are just a few of the most popular tourist attractions in and around Brisbane, many of which are also enjoyed immensely by the local population. There are plenty of things to do in Brisbane!
South Bank Parklands
The South Bank precinct is perhaps best known for the many cultural treasures that reside there, including museums, theatres, and the State Library. But visitors seeking the natural beauty that this subtropical climate has to offer will enjoy the amenities provided by the South Bank Parklands, which feature lush flora and fauna, a sand-lined lagoon that is perfect for wading, and plenty of picnicking areas. Restaurants and cafes are also prevalent in the area, and walkways crisscross the parklands, providing options for the intrepid explorer. You may also discover a variety of entertainers at any given time, and you can always stop by the Wheel of Brisbane, a Ferris wheel nearly 200 feet tall that was installed at the northern entrance to the park in 2008 to mark the 20th anniversary of World Expo 88 and the 150th anniversary of the State of Queensland.
Queen Street Mall
This popular shopping destination in the heart of the city is an open-air affair comprised of six major shopping centres, numerous stores, and myriad attractions to divert visitors and locals alike. With upwards of 25 million visitors each year gracing the shops of the Queen Street Mall, you’re sure to get your fill of both window-shopping and people-watching in this busy central business district.
The Brisbane River
If fun in the sun and water sports are high on your list of activities when you visit Brisbane, then heading down to the river can yield all kinds of entertainment options. Boats are pretty easy to come by if what you want is a day on the water, or you can opt for a solo rig by hopping into a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. There are also a couple of good locations for climbing and repelling and you should definitely take a hike up to Kangaroo Point Cliffs for a stunning view of the city’s central waterway.
Museum of Brisbane
There’s no shortage of cultural displays in this major urban hub, but if you’re looking for an overview of the heritage that makes up this jewel of Queensland, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Museum of Brisbane. With exhibits that feature local arts and crafts, as well as the social history of the city, you’re sure to learn a lot about how this once-rural area became the bustling, modern city that greets visitors today.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Aside from the kangaroo, the koala is probably the native species most commonly associated with Australia. What visitors may not know is that the future of this lovable marsupial is threatened thanks to loss of habitat. Although currently listed as a “vulnerable” species, experts have suggested that their status be updated to “critically endangered”. In other words, we may soon live in a world where the only place to view the species in is zoos or protected nature preserves (although Queensland is still one of the few places in the world where koalas exist in the wild). In any case, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fitting site to visit during your trip to Brisbane than the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is home to not only its namesake animal, but also a variety of native species including kangaroos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and a variety of other reptiles, birds, and mammals. If you’re looking for the best tourism attractions that Brisbane can provide, this one should definitely make your short list.