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25°C

Local time Brisbane

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Things to do in Brisbane

A day at the races

Brisbane Racing Club (tel: +61 7 326 2171; www.brc.com.au) conducts 98 race meetings each year at its two racetracks, Eagle Farm Racecourse and Doomben Racecourse. The summer and winter carnivals are the highlights of the year, and other events include the world-famous Melbourne Cup and Exhibition Wednesday. Tickets for race day events and other special offers (including behind the scenes tours) are available through the website. This is one for both keen equestrians and casual punters.

Get your morning roaster in a bomb shelter

Hidden amongst the commercial buildings and offices of nondescript Milton is one of the world's more unique coffee bars. Built into a foliage-covered World War II bomb shelter, Bunker (tel: +61 42 212 4767, www.bunkercoffee.com.au) has some of the most artfully brewed coffee in town. They also do a mean line in iced drinks if the Brisbane heat is closing in.

Go Go-karting

Kingston Park Raceway (tel: +61 7 3826 2222; www.kingstonpark.com.au), a 35-minute drive from the city along the Logan motorway, offers go-kart racing on an international standard circuit. It has three tracks to drive on and over 100 go-karts available – customised to suit different age ranges – plus offers opportunities for floodlit races at night. Bookings are for groups of five people or more.

Scenic helicopter tours

Get the camera ready for this scenic helicopter tour of the city. A 22-minute flight provides spectacular views of the Brisbane River, South Bank precinct, Suncorp Stadium and Story Bridge. V Squared Helicopters (www.v2helicopters.com.au) offer shared flights in their bubble helicopter, departing from Archerfield Airport.

Take a tour round Boggo Road Gaol

Boggo Road Gaol was open from 1883 to 1989, and in that time earned a fearsome reputation as a hotbed of prisoner riots, protests, uprising and unrest. You can now take the Boggo Road Escapes Tour (tel: +61 7 3844 0059; www.boggoroadgaol.com/tours/escapes-tour) which takes you into the bowels of the place, while guides spin yarns about its most notorious inmates.

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City Highlight: Brisbane

Glorious year-round sunshine, a packed events calendar, splendid scenery and friendly locals make Brisbane a top destination for backpackers and families alike

Featured Hotels

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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.

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.

Summer House Brisbane

Summer House is a great accommodation option for those looking to save on hotel rooms, and it's just a 10-minute walk from the Central Business District. Fabulous graffiti style murals adorn the walls and the atmosphere is warm and lively - the perfect place to meet new people to explore the city with. With laundry facilities, free wifi, a rooftop terrace and a TV room, this hostel has all you need during your stay in Brisbane.