Quote: "A great way to see the city with ease and in style is to take the CityCat river taxi and see most of the city sitting on the shores of the River Brisbane."
Brisbane is the third largest and fastest growing city in Australia and is the capital of Queensland. Perhaps not the first place you think of when planning a holiday in Australia but it has a lot to offer the adventurous tourist!
Before you head out and explore the rest of Queensland and Australia there are many must see attractions within the Brisbane itself. A nice place to start would be to check out Brisbane City Hall. This is probably the most significant landmark in the city and if you are lucky you might be in time for one of the number of free concerts they host there throughout the year. If not then a ride up to the top of the clock tower is recommended as the view is quite special. In the adjacent King George Square you can find the Museum of Brisbane where you can learn all about the history of the city and also see some art from local artists.
A great way to see the city with ease and in style is to take the CityCat river taxi and see most of the city sitting on the shores of the River Brisbane. The trip only takes a couple of hours and will cost you less that AUS$5 for the combo ticket! That same ticket is good for all the public transport in the city. Perhaps you could use this ticket to get you to Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane's tallest "Mountain". Here you will find a fine view over the city and it is also home to a Botanical Garden and a Planetarium.
One area that must be visited is the Queensland Cultural Center, found in South Brisbane. Here you will find the Queensland Performing Arts Center, the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art and the State Library of Queensland. The Queensland Conservatorium and the Queensland College of Art are both located nearby as well.
And there is also the Southbank located across the river from the heart of the city. This was the site of the World Expo in 1988 and today you can find an artificial beach were you can swim for free on sunny days. There are also a number of shops, cafes, restaurants and a cinema in the area that make for a great place to hang out on a rest day.
What's to see in the Brisbane Area
When you are done with the city there is still much to see and do in the surrounding areas. Brisbane is an excellent base from which you can explore Queensland and even into the neighboring New South Wales. If you are traveling with children they may want to start with the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Here you can see Kangaroos and hand-feed them, you can cuddle one of the over 130 Koalas that make up the largest Koala sanctuary in Australia.
If you are willing to drive up the coast some 370 kilometers you will find the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest system of reefs in the world that stretches for 2,600 kilometers over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers (that's bigger than the combined area of the UK and Ireland!). The reefs are a sources of great natural beauty and is a must see for any visitor to the area.
On your way north you can drop into the Sunshine Coast or Redcliffe which are popular with surfers and swimmers that prefer a nice beach that isn't overcrowded like some of the other more famous beaches in the south west. There is a small village in the area called Beerwah; here you will find the Australian Zoo which is run by the family of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin.
For something a little different you can visit the Glass House Mountains National Park. This excursion will take you through the mountains which offer fantastic scenic vistas and the opportunity for a quick hike perhaps up Mount Beerwah.
You might take time to visit Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island and is just over 200kms north of the city. The island has become a world heritage site and is home to the Great Sandy National Park. You can take a walk along a section of the 75 mile beach which runs along the eastern coast or strike out on the Fraser Island Great Walk which would take a week if you explored the full length of it!
Heading south for about 70kms gets you to Gold Coast, the 2nd largest city in Queensland and home to a number very fine beaches. These beaches include Greenmount beach, famed for its fantastic views and scenery; Tallebudgeera Creek, a popular swimming area for families and the aptly named Surfers Paradise Beach. Also in the area you take a look around the Gold Coast Hinterland which features national parks, mountains, waterfalls and sub-tropical rain-forest.
There are a number of theme parks in the Brisbane area that make for excellent day out. These include the Dreamworld theme park, home to a number of high adrenaline rides; Movie-world, where the rides are a bit more dramatic and atmospheric; Seaworld, popular for its acrobatic animal shows; and of course Wet'n'Wild water park, where you can enjoy the crazy water slides and lazy river even in the depths of winter.
That's the end of our overview of what you can expect in and round Brisbane. While the public transport in the city is quite efficient, the best way of getting out of the city is to hire a car.
Reference: Mairead Foley writes for www.Novacarhire.com where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.
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