Brisbane has it All! 5

South East Queensland is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, and Brisbane is the epicentre of it all.

South East Queensland is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, and Brisbane is the epicenter of it all. Once a sleepy little river town, World Expo in ’84 put this city on the map; since then, Brisbane has consistently attracted new businesses, tourists and residents alike and is now home to more than 2.2 million people.

When you leave Brisbane International Airport in the summer, nine times out of 10 you’ll walk into a wall of humid air. The other time, you’ll walk into a storm and, given Brisbane’s incredible sub-tropical climate, you’ve probably just had an extremely bumpy landing. Welcome to Bris Vegas, the name President Obama playfully called us at the G20 summit in 2014. Is it too early to head to a casino?

Treasury Casino doubles as a 5 Star hotel, so if you’re looking for the best place to stay in Brisbane, look no further. Well, for the moment at least. The ever-expanding Brisbane skyline is about to have a new addition from Echo Entertainment, including casinos and a range of 4, 5 and 6 Star hotels. It’s a busy city.

So, now that your nightlife’s sorted, where are you going the morning after? Life’s too short for bad coffee, so it’s a good thing you’re in Brisbane. Only a short walk away from Treasury Casino, John Mills Himself makes some of the best coffee in the country. It’s a short walk off Elizabeth Street, making it a challenge to find at times, but being located off the beaten track removes the din from nearby Queen Street Mall, which should definitely be your next destination.

Queen Street Mall is the largest pedestrian mall in the country. With buskers, eateries and live entertainment filling the streets, who wouldn’t want to head inside? Between The Myer Centre and QueensPlaza, every shopping need is covered. Movies to high fashion, lingerie to linen, Queen Street Mall has it all.

Once you’ve finished shopping, you might be ready for some of Brisbane’s cultural sites. A quick walk across the Victoria Bridge will take you to the Cultural Centre in South Brisbane. Here you’ll find museums, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the State Library, all right on the Brisbane River. The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is a comfortable walk along the river and hosts world-class exhibitions, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The museum often holds art cinema nights, showing new films alongside classics, making their website worth a visit as bookings are essential to these must-see events. For a daytime visit, GOMA is free of charge and offers something for everyone.

From GOMA, you must visit the South Bank Parklands. Streets Beach is unique to Brisbane and has recently been re-done after the 2011 floods. The man-made beach is only a five-minute walk from the CBD and is patrolled seven days a week by professional lifeguards. It’s much safer than the nearby beaches surrounding Brisbane, as it has no rips or waves. It’s perfect for relaxing in the beauty of the Australian fauna and flora of South Brisbane. Just don’t feed the ibises.

If swimming’s not for you, the parklands themselves are stunning, and there’s always something to do. You can sit and have a picnic somewhere in the 17 hectares of parklands or visit world-class dining, while taking in the spectacular river views. Be sure to check what’s on before you visit, as there are hundreds of events all year round, such as carols at Christmas, fireworks for Australia Day, Riverfire, New Year’s Eve and a range of markets all year round–not to mention live music, festivals and free classes on just about anything.

If you do get to see Riverfire, you’ll probably notice the iconic Story Bridge, central to the fireworks display. Connecting Kangaroo Point to Fortitude Valley, it’s the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. To see the natural beauty of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs or the amazing view of the Brisbane River, adults and children are able to book into one of the many bridge climbs scheduled everyday. These climbs are extraordinary and offer an experience like no other.

If heights aren’t your thing, maybe you’d like to experience the river a little more personally. There are a variety of river cruises on offer daily for a diverse range of wants and needs. Day or night, river cruises provide a unique perspective on the city.

Alternatively, if you’re just looking to get from A to B, Brisbane has a fleet of ferries, known as CityCats, which are part of their public transport service. From the South Bank ferry terminal, it’s only five minutes back to the CBD. Comfortable and quick, the CityCat service beats the bus anytime.

As one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, Brisbane is quickly becoming the place to see. Whether it’s coffee, culture or casinos you’re after, Brisbane has it all.