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Brisbane is a great destination in Australia for outdoor adventures known for its animal sanctuaries and rivers and is origins of the iconic Australian food, Lamington cake. Must visit places in Brisbane center around its rivers, outdoor attractions, and animals, thanks to its strong relationship with the legendary Steve Irwin.
The third largest city and the capital of Queensland State, Brisbane is also one of the most livable cities in the world; a modern, vibrant, and diverse city. Taking its name from the Brisbane River, this city is lovingly called “Brissie,” “River City,” and “Queen City.”
The city’s most famous claim is perhaps Steve Irwin, the famed conservationist and TV personality who dedicated his life to wildlife and education. Growing up in Brisbane, Irwin’s parents would later open Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, which Steve Irwin and his wife Terri maintained and developed.
12 Top Places to Explore Around Brisbane
What are other great must visit places in Brisbane? We compiled a list for you to start building your travel plan.
The Story Bridge
A famous landmark in Brisbane, the Story Bridge helps transport drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and cyclists across the Brisbane River. Inaugurated in 1940 with the name Jubilee Bridge, the name was later changed based on John Douglas Story, a respected public servant who advocated for the bridge’s construction.
The bridge looks spectacular at night, thanks to its LED lighting. It is also the venue for the annual Riverfire Display, featuring a colorful light display. You can also test your stamina by joining Story Bridge Adventure Climb, where you can walk up to the bridge’s structure with safety gear.
The Wheel of Brisbane
Another recognizable landmark, The Wheel of Brisbane, is a 60 meters-tall observation wheel that was opened to the public in 2008. Here, you can enjoy Brisbane scenery in 360-degree views, perfect for a leisure evening. Each capsule can accommodate six adults and two children, perfect for a family-wide trip. Plus, it is air-conditioned to ensure your comfort while riding.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Australia is famous for its koalas, but if you want to visit the original facility that houses these cuddly animals, head to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Inaugurated in 1927, Lone Pine is the world’s largest and oldest koala sanctuary, covering 18 hectares. The facility houses 100 koalas and around 70 species of native animals in Australia.
Here, you can learn about Australia’s iconic animals and take selfies next to a cute koala! You can also feed kangaroos, see weird animals like platypus up close, and join a tour.
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is a beautiful garden with historical significance, making it recognized as a heritage site in Queensland. Covering 20 hectares of area, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens homes mature shade trees, palm trees, fig-trees, bamboos, and many exotic or rare plant species.
There is also a cannon used to defend the colony in the early 1800s, a beautiful cottage from the early 1900s, and a drinking fountain from 1867.
Roma Street Parkland
Take a break from exploring the city by relaxing at Roma Street Parklands. Roma Street Parkland is the world’s largest subtropical garden and covers 11 hectares. Here, you can enjoy beautiful flowers and shade trees in thematic gardens, cool off near the waterways and see local artists’ artworks. Roma Street Parkland is also a home for several animals, such as colorful rainbow lorikeets, brushtail possums, and black flying foxes.
Eat Street Northshore
When hungry, head to Eat Street Northshore, a culinary center that stands on a disused riverside wharf. With 70 food vendors serving diverse cuisines, you can find snacks, savory meals, desserts, and beverages from Australia, Asia, South America, North America, and Europe. The Main Deck Stage and OpenSky Theatre feature entertainment as you enjoy your meal and drink.
The Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
Situated in the South Bank Precinct, the Queensland Art Gallery houses classical and indigenous arts, while the Gallery of Modern Art mostly houses contemporary artworks and installations. These two galleries are close to each other, only 150 meters away. You can walk from one gallery to another and enjoy a day full of learning and artistic appreciation!
New Farm Park
Another great spot to relax and unwind, New Farm Park offers numerous mature and shade trees, such as figs, palms, poincianas, and jacarandas. It was open to the public in 1914 and is now considered one of Brisbane’s greatest and oldest parks. New Farm Park has picnic and barbeque areas, rose gardens, a playground, and various walking paths. There are also sporting facilities such as a soccer clubroom, croquet lawn, and tennis court.
Howard Smith Wharves
A part of Queensland heritage, Howard Smith Wharves is a historical waterfront area now serving as a foodie center. Originally built in the 1930s, this wharf was later abandoned in the 1960s before being renovated. It is a place to find trendy food stalls and bars while enjoying the river view.
Satisfy your taste buds with Italian and Japanese food or Australia’s famous burgers and grilled meals. Don’t forget to stop for ice cream or enjoy beer, cocktails, and wine at bars like Felons Barrell Hall, Mr. Percival’s, and Fiume.
Brisbane Whale Watching
Do you know that the humpback whales migrate from and to Antarctica? If you visit Brisbane right now, you can join Brisbane Whale Watching. From July to November, you can witness these gentle giants up close. Since humpback whales are known for being active on the surface, they make magnificent and joyful sights!
Head to Mount Cotton to enjoy delicious wine at Sirromet Wines. This family-run winery combines traditional and modern wine-making technology to create distinctive wine. After learning about wine-making, you can order a wine hamper or join a wine tasting experience, complete with high-quality cheese, cold cuts, and fruits to accompany the session.
12. Prohibition Brisbane
Brisbane offers a unique nightlife experience at Prohibition Brisbane. Inspired by the 1920s saloon and the Prohibition era, the nightclub offers a swanky, modern bar in a vintage-looking building. You can have fun in the dance area with electronic music or enjoy a more laid back atmosphere in the garden with R&B classics and pop songs.
Start from this list to find great must visit places in Brisbane. Plan your visit and enjoy every interesting attraction Brisbane offers, from koalas and parks to wine and dining!