• City Centre
  • South Bank
  • Mount Coot-tha Park
  • Alma Park Zoo
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • XXXX Brewery

  • Organised Tours
    Adventure Sports 
    Places to Eat 
    Getting to Brisbane 
    Getting Around Brisbane 
    Where to Go Next
    Brisbane has 1.1 million people and is the capital of Queensland. It is built on the lower reaches of the Brisbane River. The main shopping strip is the Queens St Mall.

    City Centre 

    City Hall has a good observation deck for views of the city. Cnr Adelaide and Albert Sts. Free access. Open 8.30 to 4.30pm. There is an art gallery on the ground floor open 10am to 5pm. 

    Treasury Casino is in the old historic treasury building. Cnr Queen and George Sts. Open 24 hours, 7 days. 

    Sciencecentre has hands on science displays. 110 George St. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Admission $7. 

    Parliament House was built in 1868 in French Renaissance style. Cnr George and Alice Sts. Free tours are run 5 times on weekdays but only when parliament is not sitting. 

    Brisbane Botanic Gardens have a riverside location. The main entrance is at the corner of Edward and Alice Sts. Popular with joggers and picnickers. Open 24 hours, floodlit at night. 

    South Bank 

    Queensland Museum is in the Queensland Cultural Centre. Cnr Grey and Melbourne Sts, South Bank, just over the Victoria Bridge. Exhibits include Melanesian artworks. Open 9am to 5pm. Admission free. 

    Queensland Art Gallery is also in the Queensland Cultural Centre. Grey St, South Bank. It houses a large collection of Australian art. Open 10am to 5pm. Admission free. 

    South Bank Park This former Expo ‘88 site has been redeveloped into a grassy landscaped park with a swimming pool with artificial beach and designed to look like a lagoon. It is popular with children especially in summer. Open 8am to 8pm. Phone 3867 2051 Phone 3867 2020 for a recorded message of the entertainment program. There are also restaurants and a tropical Butterfly and Insect House (open daily 8.30am to 5pm, entry $8, children $5). 

    South Bank 
    Picture: South Bank Park
    Queensland Maritime Museum has an 1881 dry dock, war ship and other boats as well as relics from old shipwrecks. Open daily 9.30am to 5pm. Admission $5, children $2.50. 

    Craft Market Open Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. 


    Mount Coot-tha Park 

    Located eight kilometres west of the city. There are great views from the lookout over Brisbane and beyond to the coast and islands as well as to the mountainous hinterland. It is a 3km hike up to the top from the bottom carpark. 

    Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens at the base of the mountain are very pretty and also feature an arid area, large tropical glasshouse, rainforests and Japanese garden. 

    The Aboriginal Art walking trail goes past rock paintings and tree carvings. 

    Japanese Gardens, Mt Coot-tha 
    Picture: Japanese Gardens
    Mount Coot-tha Park
    Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium (Cosmic Skydome) has 45 minute shows at 3.30pm Wednesday to Sunday. Also at 7.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 1.30pm and 7.30pm Saturday and 3.30 Sunday. Cost $8, children $54.50. 

    To get to the bottom of Mt Coot-tha take bus 37A from Anne St near King George Square. The trip takes 15 minutes. 

    Alma Park Zoo 

    The zoo has Australian and exotic southeast Asian animals in a large parkland setting. 28km north of Brisbane at Kallangur. Open daily 9am to 5pm. Adults $15, children $8. There is a daily zoo train with shuttle bus from Dakabin station. The trip takes 50 minutes. 

    Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary 

    Home to a large variety of Australian animals in a riverside bushland setting. Talk an the animals are given throughout the day. West of Brisbane. Open 8am to 5pm. Adults $12.50, children $6.50, students, YHA and VIP members $9. Get there on bus 581 from Queens St Mall underground bus station. 

    MV Mirimar cruises up the Brisbane river to the sanctuary for $15 return, children $8 return. The boat leaves North Quay by Victoria Bridge at the end of Queen St at 10am. Phone 3221 0300. 

    XXXX Brewery 

    XXXX (pronounced ‘four-ex’) is Queenslands favourite beer though everyone else thinks it tastes disgusting. Guided tours of the brewery cost $5 and depart on the hour. You get 4 free beers at the end. Book ahead. Phone 3361 7597. Milton Road, 1.5km west of the transit centre. Catch the Ipswich train to Milton Rd station. 


    City Sights 

    City Sights hop-on hop-off bus does circuits of the city sights leaving every 40 minutes from Post Office Square in Queen St. Buy one day tickets for $15 from City Hall or the tourist information booth in Queen St Mall. 

    River Cruises 

    Kookaburra I & II have 90 minute cruises departing 10am and 12.45pm for $20. Phone 3221 1300. The 2 1/2 hour buffet dinner cruise is $40. Departs Eagle Street Pier. 

    Brisbane Star has a 4 hour cruise to the mouth of the Brisbane River on Sundays for $10. Departs Edward St Pier. 

    MV Mirimar cruises up the Brisbane river to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for $15 return, children $8 return. The boat leaves North Quay by Victoria Bridge at the end of Queen St at 10am. Phone 3221 0300. 

    Hinterland Rainforest Tours 

    There are several day trip operators to the rainforest hinterland, Glasshouse mountains and Lamington National Park. 


    Rockclimbing and Abseiling 

    The Cliffs at Kangaroo Point on the south bank of the Brisbane River are popular and floodlit at night. Jane Clarkson’s Outdoor Adventures has abseiling and rockclimbing lessons there. $30 for 3 hours. Mobile phone 0411 554079. They organise trips beyond Brisbane. 


    Kayak Escapes (phone 3359 3486) and Jane Clarkson’s Outdoor Adventures (mobile phone 0411 554079) have one day ($70) and two day kayaking trips on the upper Brisbane River 


    Booking Service at the Transit Centre 

    Brisbane Visitors Accommodation Service is on level 3 of the transit centre. They have brochures from all the hostels and hotels and will ring to get your chosen hostel or hotel to come and pick you up. Open weekdays 7am to 6pm, weekends 8am to 5pm. 

    Youth Hostels - City Centre 

    Palace Backpackers The one and only place to stay! Cnr Ann and Edward Sts. Phone 1800 676 340. In a modernised heritage listed building. Kitchen. TV lounges, laundries, tour desk, employment service, rooftop sundeck. Downstairs is the ever popular backpacker’s Down Under bar with parties every night which inevitably extend to the hostel itself. Dorm $15-$17, single $22-$25, double $34-$38. 

    Youth Hostels - Spring Hill 

    Spring Hill is a suburb so close to the city the offices even extend into it. 

    Kookaburra Inn 41 Phillips St. Old converted Queensland house. Kitchen, laundry. Popular with Japanese backpackers. Single $30, double $40. 

    Youth Hostels - Paddington 

    Brisbane City YHA 392 Upper Roma St. Phone 3236 1004. Dorm $19, double $42. Cafe, tour desk. 

    City Backpackers’ Hostel 380 Upper Roma St. Phone 3211 3221. Dorm $13, double $32. 

    Aussie Way Backpackers is in a beautiful double story wooden house with wide balcony. 34 Cricket St. Phone 3369 0711. Dorm $14, single $27, double $32. 

    Yellow Submarine Backpackers is a friendly place in an old yellow painted house. 66 Quay St. Phone 3211 3424. Dorm $13, single/twin $30. Pool, BBQ. 

    Banana Benders Backpackers is a small establishment. Cnr Petrie Tce and Jessie St. Phone 3367 1157. Dorm $14, double $32. 

    Youth Hostels - New Farm 

    Homestead is large and modern with party atmosphere. 57 Annie St, New Farm. Phone 3358 3538. Dorm $12, twin/double $32. Free bike hire, free trips to Mt Coot-tha lookout. 

    Atoa House Travellers’ Hostel at 95 Annie St, New Farm, takes up three old Queensland houses. Phone 3358 4507. Dorm 414, single 435, double $32, or pitch your tent in the large shady back yard for $7. 

    Globetrekkers’ Hostel is family run in an old renovated house. Balfour St, New Farm. Phone 3358 1251. Dorm $12, twin $28, double $30, or park your caravan in the back yard for $5. 

    Bowen Terrace is family run. 365 Bowen Terrace, New Farm. Singles are $18-$23 and doubles with fridge and TV are $35 

    Red Hot Chilli Packers’ 569 Brunswick St, New Farm, above the Brunswick Hotel is popular with long term residents. Phone 3392 0137. Dorm $12, double $30. 

    Youth Hostels - Fortitude Valley 

    Balmoral House is YHA associated. 33 Amelia St, Fortitude Valley. Phone 3252 1397. Kitchen, laundry. Dorm $13, single $28, double $32. Although located in the Valley it lacks party atmosphere. 

    Pete’s Palace is popular with long term residents. 515 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley. Phone 3254 1984. Dorm $11 and up, double $30. 

    Youth Hostels - Other Locations 

    Brisbane Resort is a large purpose built hostel south of the river. 110 Vulture St, West End. Phone 3844 9956. Bed in dorm room $12-$15, single room $30, double room $45. Rooms have own bathroom, TV and fridge. Extra facilities are pool, 5 kitchens, games room, bar and cafe. The proprietors also run the Swagman’s Rest at 145 Vulture St. 

    Somewhere To Stay is a large old wooden house south of the river. 45 Brighton Road, Highgate Hill. Phone 3846 2858. Bed in dorm $12-$15. Some dorm rooms have own TV fridge and bathroom. Single $20-$25, twin/double $30-$45. Pool, cafe. 

    Courtney Place Backpackers is quiet, clean and comfortable. 50 Geelong St, East Brisbane. Dorm $14, single $25, double $30. 

    Major National Youth Hostel Chains 

    YHA - Youth Hostels Australia (Hostelling International) http://www.yha.org.au 
    VIP Backpackers http://www.vip-backpackers.com 
    Nomads Backpackers. Phone 1800 819883 or http://www.nomads-backpackers.com 



    There are numerous cheap weekday lunchtime foodcourts in the city but hardly any places for dinner 

    Fortitude Valley 

    There are numerous restaurants with outdoor tables, pubs and bars in the Valley. The area gets very crowded on Friday and Saturday night. 

    Chinatown is also in the Valley on Duncan St between Ann and Wickham Sts. It has many chinese restaurants. 

    McWhirters Marketplace sells fresh produce and has an international foodhall. Cnr Brunswick and Wickham Sts. 

    South Bank 

    South Bank has a few restaurants. 

    West End 

    Hargrave Road has a several restaurants. 


    Nightlife Information 

    Time Off, Rave and Scene are free entertainment newspapers with weekly live music, pub and night club guide. Grab a copy at record stores and cool cafes. 

    Pubs and Bars 

    Fortitude valley has a number of pubs. Dooley’s on Brunswick St is a popular Irish pub. 

    There are lots of cafe-bars in the Valley too as well as the West End. 


    The best commercial dance nightclub is Underground at 61 Petrie Tce, and yes, despite its name it is mainstream. 

    Especially on Friday night you will find an office party crowd at Gig, 22 Market St, City Rowers, Eagle St Pier and Friday’s, 123 Eagle St. 


    Mainstream cinemas are: 

    Hoyts Regent is on the Queen St Mall. 

    Hoyts Myer is in the basement of the Myer department store complex on Queen St Mall. 

    Greater Union is on Albert St just north of the Queen St Mall. 

    Arthouse cinemas are: Dendy 346 George St, Classic 963 Stanley St, Metro 109 Edward St. 

    The Village Twin at 701 Brunswick St, New Farm has mainstream and art house releases. 


    Roma Street Transit Centre is the terminus for all trains and long distance and inter-city coaches. There is information on level 2 and accommodation booking service on level 3. 

    Try backpackers Travel Centre for cheaper fare deals. Upper floor, Brisbane Arcade off Queens St Mall. 


    Qantas office is at 247 Adelaide St. Phone 131313. 

    Ansett office is on the corner of Queen and George Sts. Phone 131300. 

    Fares are approximately Sydney $300, Melbourne $450, Adelaide $550, Perth $750, Townsville $350, Cairns $450. 

    Flight West flies to more outback Queensland destinations. Phone 132392. 

    Brisbane airport is 15km east of town. A taxi is around $20. There are separate domestic and international terminals. 

    Coachtrans runs the Skytrans airport shuttle bus to/from the Roma Street Transit Centre every 30 minutes from 5am to 8pm. The fare is $6.50. Phone 3236 1000. They also run a bus from Brisbane airport to the Gold Coast (phone 5588 8777). 

    Suncoast Pacific runs buses from the airport to the Sunshine Coast. Phone 3236 1901. 


    All bus companies have booking desks on level three of the Roma Street Transit Centre. 

    Major long distance bus companies are Greyhound Pioneer and McCafferty’s

    Approximate inter-state fares are Sydney $70 (17 hours on the Pacific Hwy, 15 hours on the New England Hwy), Melbourne direct $105 (24 hours on the Newell Hwy), Adelaide $148 (32 hours, change at Dubbo or some buses are direct), Darwin $246 (46 hours). 

    For Brisbane-Sydney consider the often cheaper Premier Motor Service, phone 1300 368100. 

    Buses north along the Queensland coast go as far as Cairns (24 hours, $139). Noosa (2 hours $14), Hervey Bay (4 1/2 hours, $35), Rockhampton (9 hours, $61), Mackay (13 hours, $91), Townsville (19 hours $119). 

    Coachtrans runs the most regular service to the Gold Coast. 


    Countrylink runs one train a day to Sydney in 13 1/2 hours for $98, or $142 first class. Sleepers are $225. 

    Spirit of Capricorn runs daily to Rockhampton (9 1/2 hours, $67). 

    Sunlander runs three times a week to Cairns (30 hours, $135 economy, $165 economy sleeper, $253 first class sleeper). 

    Spirit of Tropics runs twice a week to Cairns (30 hours, $135 economy only). 

    Queenslander runs a luxury service once a week to Cairns (first class sleepers only, meals included, $389) 

    Westlander runs twice a week to Charleville (16 1/2 hours, $77 economy, $172 first class sleeper). 

    For all rail bookings phone Queensland Rail on 132232 or go to their travel centre beside Central Station at 305 Edward St (phone 3235 1323). 

    Car Hire 

    All the big car hire companies have offices in Brisbane including Avis, Budget, Thrifty, National and Hertz. 


    Bus and Ferry 

    Brisbane has a bus network and fast ferries along the Brisbane River. Single fares in the inner city are $1.40. If you are planning to get off and on a lot in a day consider the $6 Day Rover Card which gives unlimited travel on metropolitan buses and ferries for the day. The $4 Off-Peak Saver Card has is the same whole day deal except you cannot travel before 9am or between 3.30pm and 7pm weekdays. 

    Services are less frequent late weekday evenings, Saturday after lunch and Sunday. Buses stop at 11pm weekdays and Saturday and 7pm Sundays. 


    Brisbane has several lines to the outer suburbs. All trains go through Roma Street and central stations. 


    Gold Coast 
    100km south, this is a surf side party mecca. 

    Travel north along the coast to Cairns 
    Along the way is the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Heads, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef

    Travel south along the coast to Sydney 
    Along the Pacific Hwy through Byron Bay

    Copyright (c) 2000 Graham Warren. Backpackers Guide to Australia (TM) is a trademark.
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