It can be quite hot in Brisbane, and for a nice, sandy beach, we really need to head to the Gold or Sunshine coast, that means a drive, bus or train trip.
Well, Southbank, located right in Brisbane city, has a lovely man-made Beach, nice clean water, and even Life guards on duty. Plenty of seating to watch the littlies, they have their own area, plenty of shade to sit in the cool, Ice-creams and drinks and Toilets right there!
It is a beautiful area, and as you may have guessed, in the hot weather, it is very popular!
Catch the Train, and get off at either Southbank or South Brisbane stations. It is only a short walk or ferry ride from the city! So easy to get to, come and enjoy!
On walking through Southbank yet once again, I happened to come across a new Sculpture, it was of the Great Chinese philosopher and thinker Confucius.
It hasn't been here long, only being unveiled in December 2009.
The bronze statue of him is quite large measuring 2.7 metres high, and it weighs about a ton! It was created by artists from East China's Shandong province, where Confucius was born and lived about 2,500 years ago and the idea is .... that it will contribute to greater mutual understanding between Chinese and Australian people.
Set in a nice setting, with a large pond in front
Every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, the South Bank Lifestyle Market is on.
This market is really great if you are looking for the arty, crafty items, designer clothing, home made fudges, drinks, icecreams, I guess you could say exotic wares, and of course, Buskers! It really is quite interesting walking around, even if you do not buy. For the tourist, it is a chance to buy a unique hand made Australian gift, I did see some "VERY" different items for sale here!
The Markets are popular, and it is easy to see why, when they are located in such a nice place as Southbank.
It’s the only 3 day market in Brisbane, on Friday nights, they have the Moonlight Markets, I haven't been to that one.
Fridays from 5 - 10 pm
Saturday 10 -5pm & ,,,Sundays from 9 - 5pm
It's just 20 minutes by City Cat to Oxford Street, Bulimba. Here you'll find more than 15 casual dining restaurants and lots of alfresco dining. All this plus a boutique cinema complex, several fashion stores and a bookstore.
Just a short road that leads into Petrie Terrace, Caxton Street has a couple of trendy pubs and some of the city's best seafood dining establishments, clubs and bars. A popular nightclub zone.
Eagle Street Pier
Go ashore here and try one of the many excellent restaurants. There are also specialty shops and a busy market featuring arts, crafts, clothing and local produce on Sundays.
This suburb, Brisbane's liveliest and most multicultural, is known as 'The Valley'. The area has shed its past seedy image and now has a cosmopolitan look and feel that is rare in suburban Brisbane. A vibrant Chinese community has long called the suburb home and this is the best place in the city to obtain Asian food items. Some of Brisbane's best nightspots and pubs are here and there is a market on weekends.
Home to a large migrant population for years, New Farm is a vibrant suburb with plenty of ethnic restaurants. Brunswick Street is the main thoroughfare and it is lined with alfresco eating places and chic bars, cinemas, art galleries and bookshops.
New Farm Park
Found at the eastern end of Brunswick Street, this park is a mass of purple jacaranda blossoms from October to December each year. The park always has splendid displays of flowering plants. This great family destination has playgrounds, barbeques and sports ovals.
Just to the west of the city centre, and west of Caxton Street, lies the trendy suburb of Paddington. Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace follow the ridges here and along this busy shopping and alfresco eating strip are interesting secondhand stores, antique shops, bookshops and boutiques. The leafy hills and valleys here are covered in weatherboard houses, many of which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
Park Road, Milton
Miltonís main thoroughfare, Park Road has an interesting assortment of specialty clothes and furniture shops, a range of good eating establishments and a couple of Brisbane's best bookshops. Look out for the mini Eiffel Tower.
Check out Brisbane's newest theatre and performance space, the Powerhouse. Built in 1926, and abandoned in the 1970s, it has been restored and rebuilt, even retaining some of its original graffiti.
This riverfront suburb, once known for its woolstores, is undergoing urban renewal. With lots of new apartment buildings, specialty shops, furniture warehouses, cinemas and fine dining establishments, the suburb is well worth a visit.
Centred on Boundary Road, on the southern side of the river and nearby South Bank, bohemian West End has many ethnic restaurants, some interesting secondhand bookshops and multicultural food shops.
The Southbank of Brisbane River is littered with tourist sights. Cross the river via Victoria Bridge. On your right, you'll find plenty of art galleries and museums, of which I will cover separately.
On the left, the first main structure you'll encounter is the cumbersome Performing Arts Centre. Unless you are going for a performance here, proceed on and you'll enter the South Bank Parklands proper.
At some stage, you'll walk past the Nepalese Pagoda, a remnant of the 88 Expo held in Brisbane. The so-named Peace Pagoda is rare in that it is the only international exhibit remaining on the old Expo 88 site. It is also the only example of a Nepalese temple in Australia, being one of only three that exist outside Nepal. The craftwork is quite intricate and certainly worth a closer look.
Beyond that, lies Streets Beach, an artificial swimming hole crafted into the park, worming its way around into a lagoon. Extremely popular (since it's free), you may be hard pressed to find some space for yourself on sunlit days!
Benches hug the walk and it's a great spot to look back on the northern shore with its tall buildings and heavy traffic. Not bad for a cool evening romantic stroll for 2.
There is only one in the southern hemisphere and it was built by craftsmen from 160 Katmandu Valley families for the people of Brisbane as part of World Expo 88. Situated in its current site, amongst the Southbank Rainforest near the Queensland Performing Arts Complex, the pagoda is a replica of a traditional Nepalese temple and is constructed from 80 tonnes of indigenous Nepalese Terai forest timbers.
If many of the carvings seem slightly pornographic in nature, it is said to protect the pagoda and is probably a symbol of virility.
South Bank Parklands offer several BBQ huts where it is lawful to consumer liquor if you are having a substantial meal. In other words, they allow you to have a wine or beer with a meal cooked on the BBQ. This is valid from 10am in the morning until 8pm at night.
The Parkland and river is absolutely stunning late afternoon in April and May with a gorgeous crisp sky and the sun painting a magnificent canvas against the cityscape.
Some of the BBQ huts near waterways are off limits for obvious safety reasons. They don't want broken glass where it may result in injuries. However, these are marked with signs.
I have plenty of ideas but you will see when you get there everything is at your door step. Southbank is full of things to do. Here are just a couple I am sure others can give you more.
1. Southbanks man made beach is great for kids (and generally it should be warm enough to swim)
2.Get a zone 1-2 daily ticket for the ferries and cruise around the river(cheap)Hop on and off and different stops like newfarm, hamilton etc.
3.musuem and art gallery very close to your accom.
4.Walk around to the KangarooPoint cliffs for a picnic or rock climb
5.Walk across the foot bridge into Brisbane and explore the Botantical gardens.
6. Heaps of good resteraunts at southbank.
These are just a few ideas all very close to where you are(waliking distance)
If you want to venture further for a day trip. Try Australia Zoo on the sunshine Coast. Take a train to Landsborough station and the Zoo bus picks you up from there.Kids will love it. Train station also walking distance from accomm.
Southbank in Brisbane is one of a kind.
This is actually the site of the Brisbane World Expo back in the 1990's
There are many walks, formal gardens, rain forests, cafe's, restaurants, pubs etc, and on public holidays and at weekends, a huge market.
The most prominent feature though has to be the Beach, complete with Surf Lifesavers in the middle of the city. This is a hugely popular place for families and kids (both young and old).
When I lived close by, I would walk to work through here and there would be office workers swimming before work there.
On public holidays like Christmas day, you have to be there really early like 6am to be able to get one of the free public BBQ's provided by the Brisbane City Council for the day. Many Many families do this.
There are Showers provided free.
The riverside area to the south from the city is now known as “Southbank”. In former days, it was simply “South Brisbane” and was a sleazy run-down area with rotting old timber wharves, tired looking warehouses, ugly industrial developments, and drunk-infested old pubs. Now it is one of the jewels in Brisbane’s crown.
What brought about the dramatic change? The World Expo of 1988, Brisbane’s contribution to Australia’s bicentenary celebrations. In a flash of inspiration a large expanse of South Brisbane was cleared, with the exception of a few historic pubs, which were restored. Roads were diverted, massive landscaping undertaken, and the 1988 Expo achieved more than anything before or since to put Brisbane on the international map.
Very little remains of the Expo developments – after it had finished nearly all the buildings were removed, most of the roads torn up, and the area was redeveloped again: this time mainly as parkland. As you wander through the forested areas, with substantial trees and water features, it is hard to imagine that the parklands have not been there for far longer! Fortunately, the planners have recognised that people need some shelter from the blazing summer heat, and have provided shelter over many of the main walking paths. But it’s far more than parks, as you will find in the next two tips.
Main photo: Southbank ornamental lake and banyan tree
Second photo: Southbank paths and palms
Third photo: Southbank covered walkway.
The Maritime Museum is at the eastern boundary of Southbank, adjacent to the (pedestrian and cyclist only) Goodwill Bridge. It is located in and around the historic South Brisbane Dry Dock and is sure to appeal to those with a maritime interest.
Here you can inspect the old Frigate “HMAS Diamantina” built in 1945, look at ship models, ship engines, details of shipwrecks and lighthouses. If you time your visit for the right day (check the website below), you may be able to take a tour down the river and back on the retired 1925 steam-powered tug “Forceful”. I had visited the Museum previously (sadly without a camera) and did not have time for a visit on this trip – but it is worthwhile if you have any historical or maritime interests. The entry charge is $7 for adults.
Open 0930 – 1630 (entry until 1530) except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday.
Nearly all the national pavilions built for Expo have been removed (Nepal’s delightful hand-carved timber Pagoda is the exception). Come to a point, to demolish the Pagoda after Expo would have been a crime, for the quality and workmanship in the carved stone and timber is superb. You will find it between the “Rainforest Green” and the “Cultural Forecourt”, not far from the river.
Should you head west from the Pagoda, you will reach the Performing Arts Centre and the Queensland Museum and Art Gallery. A shortage of time on this trip dictated that my cultural development must await another trip – as will the VT tips on these facilities. I have not even touched on the accommodation, convention centre, or cinemas which are to be found in this area. Maybe other cities somewhere have a parkland precinct offering such diverse choices, but none comes to mind. You can find out more about the Southbank development at the website below.
Main photo: Nepalese Pagoda
Second photo: Nepalese Pagoda
Third photo: Detail of carvings at Nepalese Pagoda.
As you wander through Southbank, you encounter a quite extraordinary sight (well, I think so, anyway). Before you is a sandy beach area surrounded by subtropical parkland and with the city skyline directly across the river. Should you venture there on a sunny summer weekend, you will find what seems a goodly proportion of Brisbane’s population enjoying a swim or just lying on the sand soaking up the sun. The use of the beach is free.
When we visited, not only was the artificial beach extremely busy, but it seemed that another large extension to the pool and beach is well on the way to being completed (it was concreted but empty). Yes, there even is a lifeguard service!
Not far from the beach are numerous restaurants (prices when we visited were reasonable and the food and coffee quite good). Close by them was an open air market and beyond that an old pub restored for Expo – if I hadn’t been so busily involved in doing VT research, I’d very possibly have slipped in for a cold beer! (Oh the sacrifices I make to keep you informed! :-) )
Main photo: Southbank beach (NB “Rivercat” ferry to right in background)
Second photo: Southbank beach.
When visiting Southbank take your bathers and enjoy a swim at the beach by the river. There are pools for small children and deeper pools for adults. If you do not wish to swim just sit in the sand and enjoy the sun.
We visited the Southbank Friday Night Market on a wet night and found the beach next to the market. The man made beach was deserted but I could imagine it being the place to be on a hot summer's night. The view of the city lights was spectacular.