Brisbane - Attractions
Follow the golden arrows set into the footpath for a walking tour of Brisbane's remaining early buildings. The best old buildings, notably the Mansions and Harris Terrace, line George St. Also on the same street are the Old Government House and Parliament House, both dating from the 1860s. The Old Windmill & Observatory on Wickham Terrace dates from 1828. It was originally built to grind grain for the early convict colony but, due to a fundamental design error, failed to work properly. It was converted to a signal post and later to a meteorological observatory.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, possums, wombats, emus and lyrebirds. The star attractions are the 130 or so koalas. They're undeniably cute and for a price you can be photographed in their embrace. You can also picnic with kangaroos and take a turn feeding them.
Just a half-hour bus ride south from the city centre, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an easy half-day trip. The sanctuary is set in attractive parklands beside the river. Talks are given on the animals at set times throughout the day.
The popular South Bank markets, which feature craft and clothing stalls, are open every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Every Sunday, the carnival-style Eagle St Pier markets have 150 stalls featuring glass-blowing, weaving and other crafts. The small Fortitude Valley market, held on Saturdays in Brunswick St Mall, has a diverse array of junk, crafts and clothes.
The best place to get a view of the city is from the lookout on Mt Coot-tha, 8km (5mi) from the city centre. On a clear day, you can see the distant line of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, the Glass House Mountains to the north, the mountains behind the Gold Coast to the south and Brisbane at your feet. There are some good walks around Mt Coot-tha and its foothills, such as the one to JC Slaughter Falls on Simpson's Rd. The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, at the foot of the mountain, have an enclosed tropical dome, an arid zone, rainforests and a Japanese garden. You'll also find the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the largest in Australia, here.
Queensland Cultural Centre
This superb complex spans two blocks either side of Melbourne St in South Brisbane, just across Victoria Bridge. It houses the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum, the State Library and the Performing Arts Complex. The museum has a dinosaur garden and a worthwhile exhibition on whales, while the art gallery has an impressive permanent Australian collection and plenty of temporary exhibits. There are cafés in the Performing Arts Complex, the gallery and library.
South Bank Parklands
South Bank, formerly the site of Expo '88, has been redeveloped and is now one of the city's liveliest areas. Covering 16 hectares (40 acres), its attractions include restaurants and cafes, an IMAX theatre, parklands and bike paths, a butterfly house, market stalls and even a sandy swimming beach.