Brisbane and Gold Coast
Travel to Brisbane to enjoy the unique, low-key vibe of a cosmopolitan city veiled in a haze of small town languor. The capital of Queensland and the third largest city in Australia, it is no surprise that this sun-soaked locale has quickly become one of the most desirable places in the country to live or visit.
Known as much for its natural beauty as for its down-to-earth pace of life, the city features pristine beaches, scenic parklands and the gently bending Brisbane River; not to mention newly renovated galleries, shops, cafes, and trendy night-time hangouts. Navigate the city by foot, river-cruise or ferry to take in the sights and discover why the river is so central to Brisbane life. Join one of the popular 4-wheel drive city tours, or for a view from the top, take a champagne breakfast balloon flight over the city. Other great options to tour the city include historic walking tours, specialist art tours with fine food and wine, adventure tours, ghost tours and eco tours.
Travelers to Brisbane can spend a peaceful afternoon in one of the popular recreation areas, including the South Bank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland, The Botanical Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf, or visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, established in 1927 as the world’s first koala sanctuary. Catch a match at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, known as The Gabba, or visit the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), the largest modern art gallery in Australia. One of the latest additions to the South Bank precinct, GOMA houses some of the most well known pieces of modern art from within and outside Australia.
A stunning, wide expanse of sheltered blue waters, Moreton Bay is Brisbane’s own aquatic playground and marine sanctuary. Dotted with unspoilt islands, including one of the world’s largest sand islands, this is one of Brisbane’s favorite getaway spots. Brimming with natural wonders, Moreton Bay is ideal for spotting dolphins, whales, turtles and manta rays, as well a vast array of birdlife. Many of the coastal villages surrounding Brisbane, including Caboolture, Redcliffe, Sandgate, Wynnum-Manly and Cleveland, have a rich cultural history with heritage trails, art galleries and events to commemorate their significance.
A hub of eclectic fashion, Brisbane is a shopper’s paradise. Start in the Queen Street Mall and stroll along the city’s stylish avenues and arcades before heading to the bohemian precinct known as The Valley, for the edgiest designs, jewelry and fashions imaginable. Also check out South Bank’s Little Stanley Street, for urban sophistication right by the river, and the Cleveland Markets held every Sunday on Bloomfield Street, featuring local arts and crafts.
Located just south of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, an area consisting of approximately 35-miles of gold sand beach extending south from Yatala and Russell Island to the border of New South Wales, and west to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. With the neon lights of its high-rise casinos, shopping malls, and apartments illuminating the coastline, the city is a fusion of excellent surfing breaks and flashy tourist attractions. The undisputable place to party on the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise, the center for entertainment and nightlife in the region.
Just behind the high-rises is the Gold Coast Hinterland, a thickly forested region home to two of Queensland’s most popular national parks, Lamington and Springbrook. Easily accessible by car, the area features an alluring collection of rural plantations, woody ravines, vineyards, bushwalking trails and cool mountain ponds.
Those who travel to Brisbane and the Gold Coast have an array of options to choose from when deciding where to stay the night, including Sofitel Brisbane Central, Quay West Suites Brisbane, Novotel Brisbane, Medina Executive Brisbane, Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast, and Sofitel Gold Coast.