Exploring Brisbane in a day or two
from a Hop-on, hop-off bus
You’re in for a pleasant surprise when you explore Brisbane, capital of Queensland, Australiia’s Sunshine State. For years, people have underestimated Brisbane, believing it to be a little countrified, but Australia’s third largest city has come into its own. Today, this vibrant metropolis on the banks of the Brisbane River is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fabulous sightseeing attractions, excellent shopping and a vibrant nightlife.
In springtime the city’s many parks and gardens come alive with beautiful jacaranda and bougainvillea, making it the perfect setting to relax and explore. And there is a lot to see in the city, with its excellent cultural centre full of fascinating museums and galleries, old heritage buildings and relaxed, unhurried lifestyle.
In Brisbane you can laze on sandy beaches in view of the city’s modern skyscrapers, shop at farmer’s markets, enjoy a picnic in a choice of beautiful city parks, savour Chinese cuisine in Chinatown, and enjoy a vibrant café society. All this in the sunshine for which Queensland is so famous.
With so much to see and do, there’s no better way to get around than on a hop-on, hop-off bus. This way, you can sightsee at leisure, hopping off the bus to see exactly which sights tickle your fancy, and then hopping on again to visit another exciting location along the route.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Child: $20 for children aged 4 to 12 years
Concession: $20 for holders of Australian pension cards and full-time students
Family: $80 for 5 people in any combination, with a maximum of 2 adults
Note: Prices include GST
Tip: You can buy your ticket from the bus driver or get one at one of a choice of locations in Brisbane: Airtrain service counter, Brisbane Domestic Airport; Brisbane Transit Visitor Information Centre, Roma St, Brisbane; Brisbane Visitor Information Centre, Queen St Mall; Southern Queensland Tourism Visitor Information Cnetre, or Brisbane International Airport.
Departs from Post Office Square 9am onwards. Tour lasts 45 minutes
From Post Office Square: 9am, 9.45am, 10.30am, 11.15am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.15pm, 3.00pm*, 3.45pm* (*= terminate at ANZAC Square)
For a map and full timetable, you can get your copy of the Brisbane’s CitySights brochure or download it from here.
PLACES TO SEE AND THINGS-TO-DO ALONG THE ROUTE
1. You start your bus tour at the POST OFFICE SQUARE, in the middle of the CBD, on Queen Street, opposite Brisbane’s General Post Office. This beautiful sandstone building was opened in 1872 and initially housed the Queensland Museum. Underneath Post Office Square is a subterranean shopping mall. Explore the square itself, with its statues, fountains and street entertainers. There’s an excellent food court here, too, where you can enjoy some delicious food.
2. Next stop is BRISBANE CITY HALL on Adelaide St outside Broadway Arcade. The City Hall is an elegant heritage-listed building erected in the 1920s. It opened in 1930 and is the seat of the Brisbane City Council, and Lord Mayor of Brisbane. During recent restorations, a 19th Century streetscape was discovered under the floor of the Auditiorium – you can take a look at the restoration work and this discovery on your visit here. The three-storey City Hall also boasts a magnificent restored Clock Tower and is home to the Museum of Brisbane, where you can learn all about the city’s history, art and culture.
3. Brisbane’s COMMISARIAT, is next along your route in Williams Street. Built by convicts in 1829, it is the oldest building in the city and home to a museum full of interesting artifacts and Brisbane memorabilia. Nearby, in George Street is the Old Treasury Building, now the Treasury Casino, which opened in 1995. This entertainment complex and casino is open 24 hours a day, and offers fine gaming rooms, 5 bars, 6 restaurants, the Treasury Heritage Hotel and much more.
4. Your next stop is at RIVERSIDE CENTRE, on the corner of Charlotte and Eagle Streets. This 40-storey office complex boasts many cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques. After dark, it is the center of the of the CBD’s nightlife and on Sundays the outdoor Riverside Markets take place on the north banks of the Brisbane River, overlooking Story Bridge. Here artists and locals sell their wares, you can sample exotic food, and enjoy the atmosphere. This area is also Brisbane’s Financial Centre, and you will find the Brisbane Stock Exchange here.
5. The WINDMILL is the next place you can hop off. The bus stops at Wickham Terrace nearby opposite Bartley Street, and from there it’s a short walk to explore the Windmill, the city’s first industrial building, which was built in 1828. This sandstone tower was used as a mill for grinding corn and wheat to feed the convict population. It was originally a treadmill, but then sails were added. Around 1849 it became the location for Queensland’s first museum, and in the early 20th Century it was used as a broadcast tower. It was also used as a conservatory for a while.
6. Next stop is at Wickham Terrace at Albert Park, opposite Bradley Street. This is SPRING HILL, a lively area 2km north of the CBD. It is of historic importance because it was originally the source of water for the people who first settled here. Today, Spring Hill’s history is still evident at the Spring Hill Baths, built in 1886, a heritage-listed swimming pool which still boasts its classic change rooms and grandstand seats.
7. For some tranquil respite from the busy city, hop off at the next stop to visit ROMA STREET PARKLAND. The bus stops opposite the Park entrance to Roma St Railway Station. The 16 hectares of gardens and water features is a paradise location in the heart of Brisbane, which is why it’s such a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Aside from its lush gardens, the park is also famous for its weekend markets, outdoor cafes, traditional pubs – and there’s even sandy beaches here when you can do a spot of sunbathing! The more adventurous can enjoy boating, bird watching, bushwalking, or just strolling along and soaking up the beauty.
8. TRANSIT CENTRE in Roma Street, in front of the Police Building, is your next hop-off point and an ideal spot to do some shopping or dining. Built in 1986 to house the new Coach and Rail Station, the complex includes two commercial office buildings, lots of shops, cafes and restaurants, a major hotel and a coach terminal.
9. Hop off at the next stop in Caxton Street to visit SUNCORP STADIUM, a world-class sports venue where over 52 000 spectators come to watch international rugby and soccer matches.
10. Next stop is at the Summit Car Park so that you can visit MOUNT COOT-THA, one of Brisbane’s highest points, 287m above sea level. From here, at the Lookout, you will have breathtaking panoramic views of the city stretching out to Moreton Bay with the Glass House Mountains in the distance. Mount Coot-Tha itself is a magnificen1500-hectare bush land reserve with a number of excellent walking trails.
11. Your next stop takes you to Brisbane’s BOTANICAL GARDENS, at the foot of the city's tallest mountain, Mount Coot-tha. These beautiful gardens were opened in the 1970s and cover 52 hectares of tropical and subtropical plants, many of which are indigenous to Australia and the Asia-Pacific, including a colourful collection of exotic plants, Tropical Display Dome, "Rainforests", Fern House, Bonsai House and more...
12. THE REGATTA HOTEL, on Landsborough Terrace, is next along the route. Set in a heritage-listed building, the three-storey hotel first opened in 1874. The present building was designed by Richard Gailey in 1886. The hotel’s restaurant, bars and nightclubs still attract crowds today, and despite the destruction caused by floods in 2011, the hotel, now restored, is as popular as ever.
13. Hop off at your next stop on Coronation Drive to explore PARK ROAD, a busy strip full of cafes, restaurants and pubs. This is the best place in Brisbane to people-watch over a steaming coffee, enjoy a tasty lunch with the working crowd, or have a cold beer at the XXXX Brewery with the in crowd from 5pm. Another reason to believe you’re actually in the midst of Paris café society - take a look at the mini reproduction of the Eiffel Tower here!
14. Dedicate a few hours to explore all there is to offer at your next hop off point in Grey Street, which will take you to Brisbane’s CULTURAL CENTRE. There is a lot to see here, starting with the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Museum, next to it. The Art Gallery boasts a fine collection of Australian and international artworks, and the Museum is home to a number of very exciting cultural and science displays covering natural history, cultural heritage, science, human achievement and local history. Here you can walk under a whale, discover dinosaurs, learn about Australia’s unusual reptiles, and find out how medical science is unlocking the secrets of Ancient Egypt.
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A very famous part of the Museum is the unique Sciencentre, which is filled with interactive science-based fun in three themed galleries – Body Zone, Earth Space and Action Stations. A pedestrian bridge links the Museum and Art Gallery to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, a fascinating complex containing the Lyric Theatre, a Concert Hall, small studio theatre. Here the city’s diverse history of performing arts is displayed in exhibits of theater programmes, lavish costumes, recordings, scripts, and much more.
Also in the vicinity is the State Library of Queensland that is not just full of books – it offers exhibitions, seminars, workshops, games and activities for young and old.
15. Next stop on the route is at Grey Street so you can hop off and explore SOUTH BANK PARKLANDS, an exciting entertainment area in the city with lots to see and do. Located on the Brisbane River opposite the CBD, it’s full of cafes, shops, entertainment and a sandy beach off an idyllic man-made lagoon, this area is one of Brisbane’s most popular.
Every weekend, the area is full of open-air markets with a fine selection of gourmet foods. The area is also full of excellent restaurants and some historic pubs worth visiting.
16. Hop off at the next stop in Vulture Street to explore the fascinating QUEENSLAND MARITIME MUSEUM located at the historic South Brisbane Dry Dock in the South Bank Parklands. One of the largest maritime museums in Australia, it features many excellent displays of maritime history including the famous HMAS Diamantina, a restored frigate from the Second World War
17. Next stop on your route is at River Terrace, a great place to hop off and take photographs. This popular city lookout offers magnificent scenic views over the city.
18. You must hop off at your next stop in Duncan Street, to explore the city’s colourful Asian hub, CHINATOWN. It is located in Fortitude Valley, named after the immigrant ship Fortitude that landed here in 1849. There’s a wide selection of Asian restaurants, from Korean, Indonesian and Japanese to Thai and Vietnamese, and you can shop for all sorts of goods in the authentic markets. Explore Fortitude Valley, an up and coming are for designers, artists and musicians. It’s become one of Brisbane’s most popular shopping and entertainment districts.
19. Last stop on the route is the ANZAC SQUARE MEMORIAL in Ann Steet to see the memorial, the Shrine of Remembrance with its Eternal Flame. Located in a tranquil setting, it was erected in memory of those Australians who fought and died for their country. It forms the focal point of the area, which is full of pathways, lawns, pools and trees. Amongst the majestic statues and memorials you will find the World War Two Shrine of Memories, home to a mosaic with over 140,000 hand-cut Venetian glass enamels, honour rolls and plaques.
Did you know ??? Taking a hop on hop off bus tour is one the best ways to see any large city, as it saves you plenty of precious holiday time and takes you EXACTLY where you want to go... (Not to mention the great cityscape views you can enjoy on the way...). Our "Hop on hop off guides" cover quite a few cities across the world, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, The Blue Mountains, Perth, Canberra and many other destinations..... (Click on the links to go directly to the city-guide of your choice, or click here to go directly to our world hop-on, hop-off guide).