Flights to Brisbane: Australia's subtropical gateway
Grab your sunhat and say g'day to Brisbane. Here in the east-coast state capital, the accent is on subtropical alfresco. Stroll the meandering Brisbane River, where CityCat ferries zigzag and joggers pound riverside running paths. Live acoustic sessions and performing arts rub shoulders with buzzing rooftop bars and organic farmers’ markets at cultural hubs like the Powerhouse. Sip an icy cold beer in bar gardens scented with flowering frangipani.
The shock of the new grabs your attention at GoMA, the angular modern art gallery perched on South Bank. Classic movies screen beneath the stars just downriver at Suncorp Piazza. Brisbane’s fertile music scene birthed local legends Powderfinger and the Go-Betweens, and you’ll catch the next generation at bars and venues across the city. Book summertime Brisbane flights to join fellow leather-on-willow fanatics at the holiest of local cricket grounds, the Gabba.
Eat and drink
Ocean bounty and hinterland organic goodies fill Brisbane's larder. And no Brisbane holiday would be complete without sampling the famous Moreton Bay bug. Try the delicious little lobster drizzled with Thai-style peach salsa, scoffed on the riverfront terrace at Eagle Street Pier. Across the city, opt for contemporary Italian in New Farm or quirky French patisseries in the chichi Paddington quarter.
Back to nature
Cute koalas will soften the stoniest hearts at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. There's nature bang in the city centre too. Head to South Bank Parklands, where sandy beaches and palm-lined boardwalks lead from one espresso bar to the next. Overlooking Brisbane, the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens reward visitors with city, ocean and mountain vistas, and sweet smells too. Garden walkways wind through perfumed rainforest on the Aboriginal Plant Trail.
Where? The state capital of Queensland, Brisbane is Australia’s northernmost east-coast capital. Next stop to the east is New Zealand, almost 2,300km across the Tasman Sea.
Population: More than two million people call Brisbane home (and call home 'Brissie'); around four per cent of those are Kiwis.
Getting about: Do as the locals do and get around by biking the riverside cycle paths. Or cruise on CityCat ferries that link the university to South Bank and inner city Teneriffe.
Did you know? Winter in Brisbane is peak time for visitors from colder southern climes, with the city’s average daytime temperatures nudging the balmy 70s Fahrenheit (or 20s Celsius if you prefer).
Go city slicker or go wild with our Brisbane hotel picks. Toboggan down the dunes of Couran Cove. Hand feed the wild (but friendly) dolphins of Tangalooma. Or if gilt-edged opulence is your thing, settle into urban luxury at the Stamford Plaza.
Europe, Asia, Oz: it's all on the menu here. Go classy French bistro, or get to grips with big Aussie steak and keg beer. Alfresco Australian innovation is the order of the day at riverside Watts, and green papaya salad is a Vietnamese crowd pleaser at you-know-where.
Shopping in Brisbane
Brisbane's subtropical heat characterises our sunny shopping picks. It helps grow the amazing produce found at the farmers’ market, and the eggplant for yummy baba ganoush at Sourced Grocer. If the heat gets too much, chill out in a chic boutique or at air-conditioned Queens Plaza.
Big bands or rock chicks, trad jazz or acid jazz; Brisbane plays a soundtrack for every swinger. High rollers can conjure Lady Luck – or Lord Bankruptcy – at Treasury Casino, housed inside a lovely 19th-century heritage building.
Recall laid-back Brisbane's wilder colonial days at historic Newstead House. After 108 years of building, the neo-Gothic cathedral must be worth a look. And don’t dare leave Australia without cuddling a koala at Lone Pine.