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Brisbane Travel Guide

About Brisbane

Dominated by the mighty Brisbane River, Queensland's vibrant capital, Brisbane, is a laid-back city with a cheeky attitude.

Thanks to its balmy climate and rich cultural scene, 'Brisvegas', as locals have it, is as popular with Australians as it is with international travellers, which makes it a pleasingly cosmopolitan place to visit.

One of Australia's oldest cities, pre-colonial Brisbane was known to the Turrbal and Jagera people as Mian-jin ('the place shaped like spike') due to its unique geography.

Today, the city is still growing, and is thought to be the fastest expanding Australian conurbation on the East Coast. Less frenetic than Sydney but more vibrant than Adelaide, Brisbane boasts a bustling cultural scene and plenty of picturesque suburbs. The centre, dominated by the business district, is peppered with parks, nearly all of which are crammed with sunbathing locals on the weekends.

The South Bank is particularly loved thanks to the presence of the South Bank Parklands, which is home to Streets Beach, a public swimming area and a rabbit warren of quaint streets. Nearby is the striking glass and steel Museum of Modern Art, which is worth visiting for the architecture alone, and the magnificent Maritime Museum.

For boutique shopping, Paddington and Rosalie are key areas, particularly around LaTrobe Terrace. Some great fashion stores can be found in Fortitude Valley, while Stones Corner has a number of factory outlets.

Wonderful though Brisbane is, it's the surrounding countryside that is the real icing on the cake. Barren peaks, a protected forest and a koala sanctuary are all within striking distance, as is the magnificent Queensland coastline – including Moreton Bay where the English cartographer, Captain Flinders, first came ashore.

If that's not enough, the city is also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the famous Australia Zoo, so skip onto Sydney if you like, but you'll only be cheating yourself.

Key facts

Population:
2470000
Latitude:
-27.467580
Longitude:
153.027892

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Rydges South Bank Brisbane

With a South Bank postcode, this modern hotel is ideally placed for art aficionados and culture buffs. Rooms are elegant without being fussy and the high-end options feature private balconies with views over the Brisbane River and city skyline. There are 304 rooms, including 64 one-bedroom suites. A gymnasium, spa and sauna are among the in-house attractions.

George Williams Hotel

In the heart of the CBD, this 103-room hotel makes the ideal base from which to explore the city. Following an extensive A $2.5 million dollar revamp, the minimalist rooms feature colourful artworks, flat-screen TVs and coffee-making facilities. The on-site restaurant, 325 on George, dishes up international fare in a casual outdoor setting.

Capri by Fraser

Billing itself as urban inspired, high tech and intuitive, this is one of the latest additions to Brisbane's vibrant hotel scene. Capri offers 239 serviced studios and one-bedroom apartments, each featuring integrated living spaces and kitchenettes fitted with a microwave and Nespresso coffee machines. Within striking distance from Queen Street Mall and Eagle Street Pier, some of the other highlights of the chic property include living vertical gardens, art installations, and facilities such as a restaurant, an indoor pool, a sauna and 24/7 fitness centre.

Tryp by Wyndham

Located in the cultural hotspot of Fortitude Valley, TRYP Brisbane is a boutique hotel that bills itself as the Central Business District’s only street-art hotel. Guests can choose from a variety of art-themed rooms. A small handful include colourful private courtyards and hot tubs. The hotel also features an onsite gym, rooftop bar and lobby-level restaurant.

Metro Hotel

Situated in the heart of Queensland Business District, this hotel provides easy access to all parts of the city, with free Spring Hill and City loop buses that depart from outside the hotel. The building overlooks Wickham Park and its heritage-listed Old Windmill Tower. Standard rooms offer private balconies and free Wifi, among other modern amenities.

Spicers Balfour Hotel

Spicers Balfour hotel is an Art Deco style boutique hotel, situated in the historic suburb of New Farm but still central enough to get around the city. The hotel also has a rooftop bar for the evenings and does high tea over brunch or in the afternoon. Check the Spicers Balfour website for the best days to book and save some money.