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Do not underestimate Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney’s quieter cousin. Only a short distance from the CBD will you find some of Australia’s best zoos and nature reserves. If you venture slightly further afield, the Gold Coast, Glass House Mountains and sand islands like Bribie await. This being said, Brisbane itself offers a host of entertainment options for families and groups of friends, a varied dining and entertainment scene and a focus on healthy living and eating. City apartments, suburban houses and luxury condos are some of the rental options available to Brisbane visitors.
Travellers will soon notice that Brisbane is a very family-friendly city. As numerous Aussies claim, it is a great place to raise kids. Beyond friendly locals and clean, safe streets, Brisbane and the surrounds are rife with activities for children. If your young ones are interested in Australian wildlife, head to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, 12km from the CBD. Hold a koala or take part in free daily wild lorikeet feedings. These colourful native birds will even land on your shoulder, guaranteeing some great photo ops. Rated one of the Top 10 Zoos in the world, the sanctuary performs ongoing ecological research and is dedicated to the well-being of Australian fauna.
Brisbane enjoys warm weather year round, but in the event of rain, children will have fun exploring Lollipops Playland in Strathpine, the largest indoor kids centre in Brisbane. Here, youngsters have access to bouncy castles, trampolines and slides, spread across three stories. There is a separate section for toddlers and a cafe for the adults. If you’re keen on making your Brisbane trip an educational one, spend some time at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which boasts a 12.5m projection dome- an exact replicate of the night sky. Educational activities for all age groups are organised throughout the year.
One of the perks of visiting Brisbane is that it is easy to live like a local, especially when it comes to getting your daily exercise. Joggers will enjoy the paths along the Brisbane River, considered the scenic way into the city centre. Alternately, opt for a leisurely walk and if you get tired, hop on the CityCat, Brisbane’s ferry service. To get around Brisbane beyond the river, hire a bike at one of the many CityCycle stands. If your trip is under 30 minutes, you can ride for free. When you’re done, simply return your bike to any CityCycle stand across town. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you may prefer to stroll through the City Botanic Gardens, which are crisscrossed by trails and feature a number of local plant and tree species.
Brisbane may have been called Brisvegas ironically, but high rollers will want to test that reputation at the Treasury Building, a fully fledged casino and 5-star restaurant established in 1995. Brisbane’s casino is the largest in Queensland with over 80 gaming tables and 1300 machines. Looking for a quieter evening out? Head over to South Bank, where you’ll find a myriad of international restaurants overlooking the river. During the day, travellers in need of retail therapy can browse all the big names in fashion along Queen Street Mall, Brisbane’s main shopping strip.
With so many natural and manmade attractions less than two hours from Brisbane, the city is an ideal base for day trips. The Glass House Mountains (70km from the CBD), populated with volcanic peaks, have numerous pathways which lead to scenic lookouts. The famous Gold Coast with its theme parks, surf beaches and year-round events is just a little bit further. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can take the train, which stops at Brisbane’s central stations, followed by a bus to Surfers Paradise. For a completely different experience, spend the day on Bribie Island, a sand island 65km from Brisbane with no commercial outlets but prime wildlife spotting opportunities on deserted beaches. Vehicles other than 4WDs aren’t allowed on Bribie Island, adding to the peace and quiet.
Travellers to Brisbane are likely to find warm (read, hot) weather throughout the year. In the winter months, Brisbane climate is quite comfortable, with average lows of 11C and highs of 21C. Even in June, you can put your feet in the water along the Gold Coast without being cold. Summer averages see temperatures between 20C and 28C. While planning your trip, do be mindful of Cyclone Season, typically from November to April. Cyclone damage does not tend to be severe in South East Queensland, but it is always best to monitor weather alerts before you travel.