For years, the third largest city of Australia also ranked a lame third among the country's most popular destinations and most desirable places to live. Compared to Sydney and Melbourne, which are synonymous with the Land Down Under, Brisbane just didn't come close. But it caught up fast when the Commonwealth Games, World Expo and Goodwill Games put it on the map. Now, a bustling Central Business District that stands alongside the impressive pieces of the Gallery of Modern Art and the naturally picturesque Moreton Bay, make Brisbane a popular tourist destination. But more than its many scenic wonders, the friendly and warm-hearted attitude of the people in the capital city of Queensland and the laid back lifestyle so rarely experienced against an urban backdrop makes for the ultimate in Australian vacations.
Because Brisbane is a large city, one of the best ways to see the sights is through a City High Lights Bus Tour sponsored by the City Council. With a ticket valid for one-day, you can explore and linger in any of its 20 stops since new buses come by every hour. Don't leave Brisbane without a visit to the Koala Bushlands to look at the cuddly animal that has long represented Australia. In the outskirts of the city, the Australian Woolshed with its sheep shearing and wool spinning attractions should not be missed. Go hiking and rock climbing at Kangaroo Point Cliffs or at Mount Coot-tha, and get spectacular views of the city and the surrounding areas. Mount Gravatt is another great picnic spot where you can also observe Australia's unique local wildlife and birds.
There are many great restaurants in Brisbane that provide good food at reasonable prices. Brisbane's Riverside Center and Eagle Street Pier house many premier dining areas located right on the river. Even the most discerning foodie will surely get satisfaction in any of the restaurants that line South Bank Parklands, Caxton Street and Given Terrace in the Paddington district. Make sure to check out Breakfast Creek, Milton and Spring Hill for more selections. If you're on the West End, head to the Boundary Street and Hardgrave Road when hunger calls.
The Queen Street Mall in central Brisbane is certainly a shopper's paradise with its vast selection of shops and boutiques. The Indooroopilly Shopping Center, Westfield Garden City and Westfield Chermside are also home to many retailers. If you want high-end shopping, go to James Street in Fortitude Valley.
Eagle Street Pier