Exploring Brissy, An Unexpected, But Much Loved Visit to A Cool Aussie City

Ah, Brissy, a city full of Australians.

Aussies oft refer to Brisbane as Brissy, named for the Brisbane River that runs through it.

Australia’s third largest city, behind Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is where people say you should visit if you’re out to visit a true Aussie city.

Experiencing an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, Brissy may not be beachfront, but there’s plenty to do in the city otherwise.

Brissy was never on my original plan for visiting Oz.

But, when we extended our trip after Sydney to head north again and visit more of Queensland, I asked a former colleague, who now lives in Brisbane for recommendations.

She graciously offered to show me around the city if I swung through, and so, I decided to spend my last day in Brisbane, before flying out of the Gold Coast airport to Singapore the following day.

After only one day, I found myself wishing I had more time.

There was loads more to do in Brissy than I ever would have expected, and even though there aren’t beaches nearby the city- the beautiful Gold Coast is only an hour away. This, in my opinion, makes Brisbane the perfect stop on a Gold Coast road trip, or Brissy a great place to base yourself for a few days with day trips to nearby beaches.

On my one day to see the city, I gave the reigns to my friend and took a backseat in planning.

Firm believer of ‘locals know best’, I decided whatever she wanted to show me would be more than perfect.

Turns out, I was right.

My afternoon exploring the best of Brissy was the absolute perfect way to cap off two months in Australia.

Many travellers overlook Brisbane, which is understandable, given how vast Oz is, but even spending one day in the city is totally worth it.

7 Things to Do With One Afternoon in Brisbane

Start with Coffee at Any of the City’s Ace Cafes: The iced coffee at Big Bad Wolfe hits the spot on a hot day, and the flat white and almond croissant at Fonzie Abott are the perfect way to welcome a morning before exploring

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Head to Howard Smith Wharves for a Wander & Lunch: This area, right on the riverfront, has been remodelled, and is home to loads of trendy restaurants and bars.

We had salads and pizzas with pints at Felon’s Brewing Company, while enjoying gorgeous views of The Story Bridge and skyline.

After lunch, we popped into Mr. Percival’s to check out their cocktail menu, and admire the gorgeous design elements.

Scoot Your Way Over to the Botanic Gardens: After lunch, walk along the riverfront, towards the ferry terminal to find scooters.

We grabbed ones with Lime, and started on our way over to the gardens. It was my first time scooting, and I loved it once I got the hang of it. Brissy is full of bike lanes and walking paths, so it’s perfect for scooting.

The gardens, themselves, are gorgeous. I loved scooting through the flower beds, and then the lush, jungle overhangs.

If I had more time, I’d definitely park the scooter and enjoy a leisurely stroll- perhaps an afternoon read or picnic- through the gardens.

Post-Gardens, Scoot to Southbank: Back across the river over the Goodwill Bridge, we enjoyed gorgeous views of the city en-route to our next stop- Southbank.

Southbank is a cultural hub in Brisbane, home to museums and many attractions.

While there, we checked out:

  • Streets Beach: Brissy may be to inland from the coast, but you can still hang at the beach at this downtown, riverfront, man-made stretch of sand. Not down to swim? Chill in the sand, or grab a drink at the nearby beer garden
  • The Nepalese Peace Pagoda: From the ’88 World Expo, this pagoda is a beautiful spot to relax in the city, and it’s next to the Rainforest Green, a lush spot of garden along the riverfront
  • QAGOMA: The Queensland Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are stunning galleries with contemporary art on display. Loved seeing the work of so many Aussie artists here

Post museum perusal, we hopped on a ferry back to Howard Wharves, which is where I’d parked.

A quick note on parking in Brisbane– I’d tried to find parking in neighborhoods further away from the Wharf, but everything was upwards of $20-30 AUD for a daily rate. The garages at the wharf offered hourly parking, and in total, I think I paid less than $15 AUD. In the end, it was cheaper and much closer to where I needed to be to meet my friend. A double win.

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Brisbane may not have been a part of the plan when I initially landed on the continent in Western Australia, but I’m so glad I made it there during my time in Oz.

It’s a beautiful city, and our day of adventures was the best way to round out nearly two months in the land down under.

Have you ever been to Brisbane? Is it on your list of places to visit one day? 

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