The moment you enter Brisbane you realize you're in holiday land - the capital of a state that counts tourism as a major industry. The subtropics start here, the sun shines with persistence and the air is balmy. Brisbane is now a city larger than Boston. The shops are loaded with tropical fruit and girls go bare armed and looking gorgeous, and everybody has a tan. Like other Australian capitals, Brisbane was founded as a convict settlement in 1824.
Transportation: Consists of buses and river ferries. For sightseeing the best buy is the Day Rover, which entitles the holder to unlimited bus rides for one day. The ferries are fast, cheap, clean, and great fun to ride. Try the Golden Mile Ferries for commuter service from the City to East Brisbane.
City Hall: Located on King George Square, one should go here for an overview of the city. From the top you get a real taste of the mishmash of Victorian, Edwardian, 1930's and glass-walled modern architecture that characterizes the city. At the tip of the bend of the Brisbane River is the beautiful Story Bridge. As you look at this, directly behind you is the Botanic Gardens, containing the State Parliament... and the direction of the Gold Coast - the sun drenched chain of beach resorts. The other bridges spanning the river - William Jolly, Victoria, and Captain Cook Bridges can serve as landmarks. Especially nice is the Victoria Bridge with its nearby spectacular Elizabeth Ii Jubilee Fountain, which throws a sparkling pillar of water high above the surface. Beyond the river rises Mt. Coot-Tha Forest Park, which is about 4 miles from Brisbane.
Oueensland Museum: ...at the corner of Gregory Terrace and Bowen Bridge Rd, has a German WWII tank outside, looking almost as prehistoric as the dinosaurs inside. There's a large range of natural history and technology exhibits.
Queensland Aboriginal Creations: At 135 George St..is the curio section of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement...offering a fascinating display of tribal masks, weapons, fire sticks, and the strange musical instruments known as "bullroarers". Also...bark paintings. 9-4:30 Mon-Fri.
Observatory: At Wickham Terrace. Originally built by convicts as a windmill. But the sails wouldn't operate, so the structure was converted into a man-propelled treadmill.
They Passed This Way Memorial: Located at L.B. Johnson Place, this memorial was erected by the people of Oueensland as a tribute to the USA. During the Pacific crisis of WWII, General MacArthur made his headquarters in Brisbane.
Queensland Art Gallery: 160 Ann St in the M.I.M. Building. This is a temporary location...gallery may have moved. Houses a good collection of Australian contemporary painters and an excellent Picasso. Daily 'til 5 PM.
Lone Pine Sanctuary: One of Brisbane's tops attractions...a 15 minute drive west of the city. This was the first koala sanctuary established in Australia and now has a colony of around 100 of these cuddly "bears". The welcoming committee consists of a Koala named Jockey riding on the back of a German Shepherd. There's a photographer on the grounds if you want a picture of yourself holding one of the Koalas. This sanctuary also houses a large cross-section of Australian fauna, including kangaroos and emus that you can feed by hand. There are also pythons, Tasmanian Devils, Dingoes and crocodiles. You can get to Lone Pine Sanctuary by bus. Catch it on Adelaid Street. But it's more fun to take the 14 mile route by ferry which leaves from Hayles Wharf at Victoria Bridge daily at 2 PM. The park is open daily 9:30-5PM.
Bunya Park: ...about 18 miles from Brisbane...is another outstanding sanctuary for wildlife. The park is designed around a "bush walk" leading through various reserves where the inhabitants live as similarly as possible to their natural habitats. Kangaroos to Koalas, wedgetailed eagles to wombats - all ready for your camera.
The Gold Coast: Southeast of Brisbane, along the surf-drenched beaches of the warm Pacific, lies Australia's premier tourist resort - the Gold Coast. It is such a perfect replica of Miami Beach that you couldn't tell the two apart unless you heard the accents. There are, of course, variations. Surfers Paradise is simultaneously the largest, flashiest, noisiest and liveliest resort. Overall, the beaches are gorgeous.
There are other attractions here:
Sea World which ranks among the greatest aquatic show spots round anywhere.
Bird Life Park And Koala Village - a happy confusion of zoo, aquarium, circus, and aviary.
Pacific Fair - Australia's most unusual shopping center, built around a central lake, complete with waterfall and tropical fish.
Barry's Art Gallery is a large wooden cottage with decent local art.
Dreamworld... the Gold Coast's latest playpen... a happy mélange of Disneyland, and Coney Island.
Plus: The Great White Shark Expo. The Palms. Land Of Legend. Fairytale Castle. Wax Museum. Sailworld. Natureland. Hawes Boomerang Farm. Bird Sanctuary... for those who don't want to make use of the beaches.