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Brisbane is the capital of Australia’s Sunshine State, Queensland as well as being the country’s third largest city. Located on the Brisbane River, it is noted for its lush gardens, man-made beaches and magnificent architecture. More significant for many is one of Brisbane’s nicknames, Brisvegas. This mirrors a thrillingly vibrant nightlife, casino and entertainment scene. There is, though, no hedging of bets when it comes to this enviable climate. Imagine strolling around the shops and restaurants in a city where even the winter temperature hovers around 20⁰C. You have to be in Brisbane. This magical environment is undeniably a deal sealer with sun-seeking travellers.
From cookery and flower shows to pop concerts and whip cracking competitions; EKKA is an annual highlight which delights hundreds of thousands of visitors every August. The following month Riverfire always goes off with a bang and features Brisbane’s largest firework display of the year. Regularly staged events also include the Greek Festival and on a weekly basis; the Young Designers’ Market and the Saturday Southbank Park Run. Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens at Toowong display spectacular selections of Queensland’s sub-tropical plants. You won’t go too wrong, either, when you splash out on a spot of culture at the truly quirky Spring Hill Reservoir. Thankfully now drained and refurbished, it provides accommodation for the Underground Opera Company. Don’t expect Handel’s Water Music though.
Accommodation choices in Brisbane are varied, impressive, and equal to those in any other major city in Australia and across the globe. In addition to top-end hotels, there are some beautifully presented B&Bs; plus numerous apartment, homestay, hostel and room rental possibilities. Wherever you stay, you’ll love exploring Brisbane’s mind-blowing features. It requires only a little effort, though, to spread your wings and extend those boundaries beyond your Brisbane hotel base. Queensland Rail operates a regular, electrified, service to the glorious beaches of The Sunshine Coast, terminating at the main station of Nambour. The journey takes less than two hours. In the opposite direction from Brisbane’s stations, you can hit the Gold Coast beaches in less than an hour. There are many inland excursion choices too. Springbrook is a 90-minute car trip from Brisbane. It offers a real breath of fresh air and magnificent views of the Queensland countryside. Whale watching is at its Australian best from Point Lookout and you can feed wild dolphins at Moreton Island.
Upon landing at the airport, one pleasing fact is that it is only eight miles to Brisbane’s city centre. Also, the shuttle-type railway station is conveniently located on the airport site. However, before leaping on the train and particularly if part of a group or family, it’s advisable to undertake an easy mathematical calculation. The train is cost effective for just one or two people. In instances of three people or more, the cost of a cab could actually be cheaper. Maxi Taxis, for instance, can transport 10 people or more, plus luggage, at a very low cost. Then, if enjoying a longer-stay at one of Brisbane’s many hotels, take note of some of the airport’s available domestic flights to other parts of Australia. They are well worth a flutter. There are, for starters, approximately 40 flights a day to Sydney, with a flight time of approximately 90 minutes. Ayers Rock, Darwin and Hobart are also among the flights of fancy that are bound to appeal.
Time consuming travel isn’t necessary in order to enjoy Brisbane’s city centre thrills. King George Square, next to City Hall, hosts markets and events throughout the year. City Hall itself is considered to be one of Queensland’s prime architectural icons and well worth a visit. The Clock Tower is 92 metres high but, thankfully your observation platform is a knee-trembling 76 metres from the ground. The bell strikes the hour loudly and weighs over four tonnes, so you won’t forget the time. Also within the building, the Museum of Brisbane outlines the city’s history through the ages. There are separate tours to the inspiring Story Bridge. As you climb the bridge’s 80 metres and wonder at the views below, the adrenalin will flow like crazy. The more squeamish may experience additional sensations, but that’s another story. Here, almost in the clouds, you see Brisbane as the birds see it. You’ll agree with them and probably Twitter, that this is a truly fantastic city.