Brisbane, the sophisticated capital city of Queensland on Australia’s east coast, is one of the world's fastest developing cities.
With its harmonious mix of elegant colonial sandstone structures and modern glass skyscrapers, this friendly, welcoming city has a laid back, vibrant atmosphere. Art and outdoor adventure are always on the agenda; the South Bank's cultural institutions and restaurants combine nicely with riverside gardens and a lagoon.
Take the paddle steamer or ferry down the Brisbane River, or bike ride through the City Botanic Gardens. A day trip to Moreton Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast hinterland are regular favourites, while, for the more adventurous, Kangaroo Point cliffs offer abseiling.
A more sedate day can be spent exploring the city’s numerous walks, reserves and barbecue hotspots. Australia Zoo – home of the family of the late Steve Irwin – and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, have a good mix of native Australian animals to discover.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The world’s largest and oldest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine is home to over a hundred koalas, as well as kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and wombats. Located approximately 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Brisbane, the koala sanctuary was founded in 1927 and is a must-do for any visitor to the city.
Mount Coot-tha Lookout Point Rising
287 metres (941 feet) above sea level, Mount Coot-tha is the highest peak in Brisbane, and is visible from much of the city. Home to Botanic Gardens and Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, it is also famous for its lookout point, from where (weather permitting) you can take in unrivalled panoramic views of the city.
The Gold Coast
Located south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is a city which attracts millions of visitors every year. The Gold Coast is renowned for its almost year-round sunshine and impressive beaches, and at its heart lies Surfers Paradise, the centre for tourism and entertainment.