People call Brisbane the most boring city in Australia. I don’t think those people know what they’re talking about. Brisbane is far from boring, it’s ordinary. It is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. So be prepared to find stunning parks and urban beaches, great nightlife and art galleries, shopping and extraordinary nature outside of the city. Wildfires have recently been devouring that beautiful fauna and flora all across Queensland and New South Wales. The fire department is struggling to contain this disaster, but there’s only so little you can do against a raging inferno. It’s horror, especially all the photographs of animals. The bright side to this tragedy is that nature will heal and life will regrow. Trying to look at the bigger picture here, but I’m aware that it’s easy to say from another continent. Especially when it’s not Brisbane’s first experience with giant conflagration. The Great Fire of Brisbane took place on December 1st, 1864. It only raged for a little over two hours, but it destroyed more than 50 buildings. Think about the damage that is currently happening with the fires burning for weeks across Australian forests.
Brisbane was founded around 30 years before the Great Fire. I can only empathize with those people. Migrate to a penal colony, establish a city, build yourself a house and business just to watch it burn down in a fire. I digress. Brisbane turned out great, as it is the third-largest city in Australia, population-wise. I already mentioned a few things about it, but what makes it a major tourist destination? What makes it stand out? Brisbane River is this city’s lifeline. That’s where you’ll find some of the best hangouts, bars, and restaurants. That’s also where you’ll have to dodge the constant stream of people on electric scooters. Why are those even a thing? I mean: don’t we have a worldwide obesity epidemic? Just walk or rent a bike. Enjoy it and take the sights in, as the weather in Brisbane is great 300 days a year. The Story Bridge is often the first stop for tourists. You can book a walking tour and climb the upper part of the construction. The view of the city during sunset is something worth the trouble. Did you expect a Story Bridge story? Too bad: there is no story.
Mount Coot-tha is a better choice when it comes to views. It’s more of a larger hill, to be honest. Aboriginal tribes called it the One Tree Hill and ventured here to collect honey. There are a lot of landmarks packed into such an unusual suburban area. The Lookout is on top of it. There’s a terrace, a restaurant, and a gift shop. Perfect spot to relax after a long hike, but keep moving before you start feeling the calluses. You can drive up there if you don’t feel like walking. The road up there reminds me of the Mulholland Drive. There are also the Botanical Gardens and a Planetarium. I don’t believe it’s possible to see everything Mount Coot-tha has to offer in one day. Then there’s the bay with its own share of marvellous sights. Moreton Bay is a destination for all kinds of positively crazy people. You can take the ferry to the opposite end of it and you’ll arrive on Moreton Island. That’s where people go for the weekends; around 50km away from Brisbane. You can take part in some really cool activities. There aren’t many places in the world where you can sled down sand dunes. Snorkelling among shipwrecks and chilling on the beaches are viable options as well.
Go back to Brisbane and gasp at the contrast between the two sides of the bay. The once unremarkable city will seem like something out of the Jetsons. Notice the murals and the art galleries. All those organic coffee shops and hip breweries: are those even “hipster” anymore? I think we need a new buzzword for that stuff. It’s not really off-culture, unique or hip when it’s in every city in every country. Don’t get me started on craft beers, god I hate that stuff. The truth is you could spend your entire stay around the riverside. Hang around the outstanding South Bank Parklands or relax at the Streets Beach. It’s open all year round and it’s pretty awesome for an urban beach. I admit it is a bit small but at least you don’t have to bathe in the river water. Queen Street is where you go for the big city vibe and shopping because every Australian city needs a Queen Street. Make sure to stop by the Brisbane Arcade. You might notice the native aborigines playing their instruments practically begging for money. There’s something terribly depressing about that picture.