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Clean, friendly and sunny, Brisbane is a pleasant city in which to spend a few days before heading off to explore Queensland, or in which to recuperate after exploring. Brisbane is a rapidly growing modern metropolis which has given it greater stature in recent years, however it still retains the friendliness and relaxed attitude it has always been known for. Known locally as Brissie or Brisvegas, it's the country's third largest city. For a city with less than two million inhabitants, it certainly has a lot to offer like world class art galleries, massive music venues and a bustling restaurant scene
Southbank is the city's main recreational, entertainment and cultural precinct. It incorporates a lot of the cities most popular attractions.
In Brisbane, scuba diving junkies will find some amazing walls, wrecks and drop offs. Whilst each diving spot has its own attraction to boast, there are perfect diving locations for those adventure-seekers who are looking for advanced dives. Find out more about the snorkelling and scuba diving in Brisbane.
Brisbane, being one of the southernmost places in Queensland, has a subtropical climate. The wet season lasts from November to March, which is also the warmest period of the year, with temperatures around 30 °C during the day and around 20 °C at night. During winter (June to August) temperatures are still above 20 °C during the day dropping to around 12 °C on average at night. Spring (September-November) and autumn (March-May) are good months to visit Brisbane, with warm and relatively dry weather.
|Avg Max||30.3 °C||30 °C||28.9 °C||27.2 °C||24.5 °C||22 °C||21.9 °C||23.1 °C||25.7 °C||26.9 °C||27.7 °C||29.3 °C|
|Avg Min||21.4 °C||21.3 °C||19.8 °C||17.3 °C||13.6 °C||11.6 °C||10 °C||10.6 °C||13.8 °C||16.3 °C||18.5 °C||20.6 °C|
To/from the airport
Air Asia now services the Gold Coast from Kuala Lumpur as well, offering low cost flights. This can be a cheap alternative compared to flying to Brisbane directly.
A number of local carriers (including low-cost airlines) fly to many destinations within Australia. Check airlines like Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia for more information about routes, schedules and prices.
Express trains, including the tilt train, and local trains connect Brisbane with Cairns, Sydney, and many other destinations along the East Coast. The XPT travels to and from Brisbane from Sydney and Melbourne.
Other trains to and from Brisbane, but within Queensland are:
Brisbane is easily reached from the north and south along good tarmac roads. Visitors from southern states can reach Brisbane by either the New England and Cunningham or Pacific Highways.
Brisbane is home to an international cruise terminal titled Portside Wharf.
Getting anywhere in Brisbane is extremely easy. The CBD is relatively flat and condensed, which makes it perfect for walking or cycling and virtually all other areas can be reached by public transport.
However, some areas can be difficult to navigate through a combination of dead ends, winding roads and steep slopes. This applies to some inner-city suburbs, but especially outer suburbs. If you find yourself lost, it's advisable to head to the nearest main road as more than likely it will be serviced by buses or trains. If you are driving, a street directory or GPS unit is an essential addition to your car. Locals are generally friendly and more than willing to help you out if you are lost, so don't be afraid to ask.
The three main public transport options of Brisbane (ferries, buses and trains) are run by a single provider, known as TransLink. This allows free transfers to be made between the three different transport modes, providing relevant time and zone restrictions are met. The TransLink website is handy for researching public transport options between destinations, and is essential for Brisbane visitors planning their commute.
Single tickets for travel in Brisbane start at over $4 for a one way trip, the most expensive of any city within Australia and the third-most expensive globally (behind Oslo and London). A paper ticket is valid for travel only in the zones you ask for and is only valid for one way trips, so make sure you buy a ticket that covers all the zones you'll need to travel in. Paper tickets are being phased out in favour of the competitively cheaper Go Card (see below).
Travellers should ensure they have a valid ticket as ticket inspectors make frequent appearances and fines can be significant. You may also be required to display a valid student/senior card if you are travelling on a concession ticket type.
TransLink has integrated ticketing called the go card, a contactless smart card which you purchase before travelling and you top-up with funds. The fare is deducted as you touch-on and touch-off as you board and leave public transport. Buses and CityCats/Ferries are fitted with go card machines that are apparent when you board, whilst train stations have external panels located on the platform or nearby. A deposit of $5 applies when purchasing a go card. Go cards can be purchased and topped up from staff at train stations, some ticket vending machines and selected newsagents and convenience stores, which there are many of in the city centre.
Buying a go card removes the hassle of figuring out zones. Fares are discounted by 30% and once you have paid for 9 journeys within a week (Monday to Sunday), all journeys for the remainder of the week are free. Translink uses the word "journey" to mean end-to-end journey including any required transfers, and the word "trip" to mean a single point-to-point trip. A journey can be made up of one or more trips. When making a number of trips to get to your destination it is still one journey if you touch on within 60 minutes of touching off on your previous trip.
Getting a go-card will save you around 50c to $1 on the average journey. However, getting a refund for the unused money and $5 deposit can be a hassle. If you have paid by credit card you need apply and have the money returned by cheque or by transfer to an Australian bank account. If you have paid by cash you can get a refund at a train station, including the airport train station.
CityFerries and CityCats have become an icon of the city and are fantastic ways to tour Brisbane along the river. The CityCats are high-speed catamarans with stops at South Bank and the city centre as well as many riverside suburbs, and are a very popular method of getting around for tourists. CityFerries are more traditional ferries which generally operate shorter routes with more frequent stops; you may end up on one if you must use one of the smaller terminals, but in practice, most riverside destinations are accessible from the faster and more modern CityCats.
Trains in greater Brisbane run along radial lines. Most train services in Brisbane are through-running, travelling from one end of the suburbs to the other, however all trains service Roma Street, Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills regardless of their ultimate destination. Interurban services can also be caught to the Gold Coast (using connecting bus services at Nerang and Robina) and Sunshine Coast (using connecting bus services at Landsborough and Nambour) as well as Australia Zoo (connecting bus at Beerwah). Trains generally run from 6:00am to midnight, though there are some variations such as running later on Friday and Saturday nights, and finishing earlier on Sundays.
Brisbane has a large network of bus routes. Virtually all buses have a digital display of their route number and destination(s). The inner city areas are very well serviced by buses, with the most popular routes running from 6:00am to 11:00pm as a minimum, and most routes ultimately terminating at Queen St Bus Station, Fortitude Valley (via Adelaide St or Elizabeth St) or on the busway. In some of Brisbane's notoriously dispersed outer suburbs, services may be much less frequent or have reduced running hours, so it is advisable to check timetables if making these trips. Due to Brisbane traffic, buses are occasionally up to 10 minutes late during peak hour.
Brisbane's dedicated busway runs from a corridor in the southern or northern suburbs, through South Bank and the central business district. Due to the large number of buses in the central business district, a number of other routes use stops scattered across the city streets, so if you are unfamiliar with the geography of Brisbane, use of the busway is recommended where possible. The busway and rail network meet at Roma Street station, and the two combined provide very good coverage of the key inner city areas.
Drivers do carry notes with them, but not always many or of high value. If you must pay cash, try to pay the correct amount and with coins where possible. Note that some services, especially in peak hour, do not sell tickets on board at all and only accept pre-purchased tickets or go cards. These are signed with the letter 'P' before the route number. As with many cities, Brisbane has a large number of express buses, so it should not be assumed that all buses observe every stop along the roads they travel. In peak hour there are even more express routes ("rockets" and "bullets") for commuters which make very few stops at all. Ask the driver if you are unsure.
Brisbane also has all-night bus services on Friday and Saturday nights on selected routes; this is branded 'NightLink'.
The centre of Brisbane is compact enough to comfortably explore on foot. Within minutes of walking in virtually any direction you will be able to find a bus, train or ferry station. Maps can be purchased from bookstores such as QBD (Queensland Books Depot), Dymocks, any tourist information centre or viewed online.
Many of the roads in Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) are one-way, making driving in this area complicated for people not familiar with the layout. Drivers used to city driving should not find Brisbane too much of a challenge, and parking is readily available in parking stations in the city, albeit it at a steep cost, around $40 to casually park for a day. $15 parking is generally available with early-bird deals (arrive before 09:00am, leave after 4:00pm).
CBD roads become clearways at 4:00pm, and any cars parked on the side of the road will be fined, towed or both. You have to pay for the towing to get your car back, and then they expect a fine to follow in the mail. Check for signs when parking, or just play it safe and find a parking station.
If you are looking to visit the areas surrounding the city, then generally a car will be as quick as any other way of getting around, with the possible exception of the height of peak hour. Brisbane is notorious for having roads that bottle-neck and what would normally be a 15 minute trip could easily turn into well over an hour during peak.
There are several toll roads in and around Brisbane, including the Gateway Bridge which crosses the river near the airport, the Clem-7 tunnel as well as the Go-Between Bridge. Cash is not accepted, toll users must have a prepaid transponder or post-pay via a website. Check the go-via website for more details.
Car hire is available at the airport and downtown Brisbane. There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from, including Redspot, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.
Getting around the city and the surrounding areas is easy thanks to the many cycle paths along the river. Bicycles can be rented in the centre of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.
The Brisbane City Council has recently introduced a scheme known as CityCycle, which offers bicycles for hire at different stations around the city. Tourists can register for a 24-hour period for $2 or for a week for $11 . The bikes are free to use after that, as long as you return the bike to a station within 30 minutes (afterwards usage rates apply). Helmets are required by law (and this is enforced with on-the-spot fines), but some free yellow helmets can be unreliably found at the bike-hire stations.
Cycling on footpaths is legal in the Brisbane City Council area (maximum speed 10 km/h), however pedestrians have right of way. Keep left and take special care when riding through South Bank Parklands as the shared (and quite wide) foot and cycle path is often clogged with large groups taking up the whole path, pedestrians stopping unexpectedly for photos and playing children running heedlessly in front of you. It is often too noisy here to use your bell, so out of courtesy and safety, you're strongly urged to dismount and push your bicycle through crowded areas.
Maps showing bikeways in the Brisbane City Council area are available on the http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/sports-and-leisure/cycling/bikeway-and-shared-pathway-maps/index.htm|BCC website]].
Some areas of Brisbane are very hilly. If your street map shows a tangle of winding streets close together that is a sign of steep roads. A short trip can quickly become a lot of work, especially if you are using the heavy CityCycle bikes. Stick to the river when possible, it's where you get the best views and it is almost entirely flat.
If you leave the cycle paths, footpaths, and minor streets you should be prepared to contend with busy urban traffic. Feel free to ignore any Brisbane motorists that may have resentment toward cyclists and ignorance of the road rules applying to cyclists; cyclists are permitted to travel on just about all roads in Brisbane. Special "bicycle lanes" on Brisbane's roads are becoming increasingly common and are often denoted by a narrow green-coloured strip of road adjacent to the curb.
Wearing a safety helmet is law in Brisbane (and the rest of Australia). The police issue a $120 fine for cycling without a safety helmet which is heavily enforced.
Brisbane's drinking and nightlife scene is separated into some distinct areas. Anyone planning a night on the town should be aware that after 3:00am, no more patrons are allowed into pubs and clubs. This is a safety measure, coupled with increased security presence at taxi ranks. Additionally, smokers should beware of strict anti-smoking regulations. Smoking is now banned in "all areas where food & drink are served", both indoors and outdoors. This means that smoking is banned in all hotels, clubs, and cafés except in designated smoking areas.
The drinking age in Australia is 18 and only an Australian driver's license, 18+ card or a foreign passport is accepted as proof of age. Other forms of ID such as a student card are not accepted. These regulations are strictly enforced - for nightclubs in particular, your ID will always be checked at the door, and while venues serving food may let you in, most are very prudent in checking ID if you wish to purchase alcohol.
A little backpacker ghetto has developed around Upper Roma/Quay Street, with a range of hostels including the official YHA, the characterful Yellow Submarine and the smart-looking Cloud 9.
|Airport Inn Brisbane||558 Kingsford Smith Drive Hamilton||Hotel||-|
|Ambassador Motor Inn||180 Gladstone Road South Brisbane,||hotel||-|
|Astor Metropole||193 Wickham Terrace Spring Hill,||hotel||-|
|Aussie Way Hostel||34 Cricket Street||Hostel||78|
|Banana Bender Backpackers||118 Petrie terrace||hostel||77|
|Base Brisbane - Central||Corner Ann & Edward Streets||Hostel||76|
|Base Brisbane-Embassy||Corner Ann & Edward Streets||Hostel||77|
|Bluetongue Backpackers & Tours||515 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley||Hostel||74|
|Bowen Terrace||365 Bowen Terrace New Farm||Hostel||-|
|Brisbane Backpackers Resort||110 Vulture Street West End||Hostel||77|
|Brisbane City Backpackers||380 Upper Roma Street||Hostel||78|
|Brisbane City YHA||392 Upper Roma ST||hostel||82|
|Brisbane Manor Hotel||555 Gregory Terrace||Hotel||-|
|Brisbane Street Studios||70 Brisbane Street, Annerley||Hotel||-|
|Bunk Backpackers||11-21 Gipps Street Fortitude Valley||Hostel||80|
|Chill Backpackers||328 Upper Roma Street||Hostel||77|
|Cloud9 Backpackers||350 Upper Roma St||Hostel||-|
|Kookaburra Inn||41 Phillips Street Spring Hill||Apartment||80|
|Manly Harbour Backpackers||45 Cambridge Parade Cnr Stratton Terrace Manly||Hostel||65|
|Minto||61 Gladstone Rd Highgate Hill||Hostel||-|
|Prince Consort Backpackers||230 Wickham Street||Hostel||-|
|Riverside Backpackers||327 Hawthorne rd Hawthorne||Hostel||-|
|Somewhere To Stay||Cnr Brighton Rd & Franklin St (West End)||Hostel||75|
|The Snooze Inn||383 St Pauls Terrace Fortitude Valley||Hotel||-|
|Tinbilly Travellers||462 George Street||Hostel||78|
|Valley Verandas Friendly Backpackers||26 KENNIGO Street Spring Hill||Hostel||-|
|Ellies Guest House||124 Merthyr Road New Farm||Guesthouse||76|
|Woodduck Backpackers||390 Upper Roma Street Brisbane||Hostel||72|
|Avondale Private Hotel||179 Musgrave Rd Red Hill QLD||Hotel||-|
|Lancaster Court Motel||521 Ipswich Road Annerley||Hotel||-|
|Jacaranda Lodge - Springwood||120 Dennis Road Springwood||Guesthouse||-|
|Swan Inn Bed and Breakfast||36 Swan Terrace Windsor||Guesthouse||-|
|Eton Bed & Breakfast||436 Upper Roma Street||Guesthouse||-|
|Edward Lodge||75 Sydney St New Farm||Guesthouse||-|
|Mt. Cotton Guest House||355 West Mount Cotton Rd Mount Cotton||Guesthouse||-|
|Yellow Submarine Backpackers||66 Quay Street||Hostel||71|
|Kirkland House||99 Kirkland Ave Coorparoo||Guesthouse||-|
|Explorers Inn||63 Turbot Street||Hotel||-|
|Chelsand Cottage||17 McCulloch Avenue Margate, Redcliffe||Apartment||-|
|Airport Hacienda Best Western Motel||560 Kingsford Smith Drive Hamilton||Hotel||-|
|Prince of Wales Hotel||243 Brisbane St Ipswich||HOSTEL||-|
|The Pixy Bed & Breakfast||20 Brownie Street Jamboree Heights||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Gonow Family Backpacker||145 vulture street westend||HOSTEL||74|
|Queensland Motel||777 Main Street Kangaroo Point||Hotel||-|
|Kingsford Riverside Inn||114 Kingsford Smith Drive Hamilton||Hotel||-|
Internet cafés are very common in the larger Australian cities and popular tourist destinations. However, once you leave the major population centres, you might have trouble finding somewhere to log on. Free wifi is getting more and more common (either with or without a code) in places like restaurants, some bars and coffee places and hotels. Sometimes a fee is required.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Australia is on a GSM 900/1800 network, so if you have an unlocked phone that works on those frequencies, you will be able to buy a prepaid SIM-card and stick into your phone when you're in Australia. You will receive a new Australian phone number with the SIM-card.
To dial out of Australia use the prefix 0011, followed by the calling code of the country you are trying to reach, followed by the area code of the city/town (without the 0!) and finally the phone number.
Within Australia, it is necessary to add an area code to the phone numbers if you are calling from outside the area. Below are Australia's area codes:
000 is the emergency telephone number in Australia, but the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112 also works on mobile phones.
Australia Post is the government's postal service. Most suburbs will have at least one post office. Opening times are mostly from around 8:00 or 9:00am to 5:00pm though larger ones keep longer hours sometimes. A standard letter or postcard sent within Australia will cost $0.60. Internationally, it costs $1.70 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.85 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.60 to anywhere else in the world.. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail. You can also use use private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL as they are competitive and reliable.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Brisbane searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Brisbane and areas nearby.
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