Centred around the river, Brisbane City’s unmissable landmarks are easily accessible in an action packed day tour. Brisbane City Cycling has narrowed down the many river city attractions to a Top Ten for any visitor to Brisvegas.
1. The Brisbane River
The only Australian city to share a name with its river, Brisbane City’s history has ebbed and flowed with the river. Meandering a massive 350km from the mountains to the sea, our tour limits itself to just 14 kilometres around the river (you’re welcome) focusing on the inner city.
Whether you prefer to enjoy your river views with cocktails from Howard Smith Wharves, delicious food from Eagle Street Pier or from the deck of one of Brisbane’s many ferries, the river is unmissable on any Brisbane trip.
With it’s cooling breezes, the river is certainly the place to be on a warm day!
2. Customs House
Heritage listed customs house has stood on the banks of the Brisbane river since 1889, taking duties first for the State and later for the Commonwealth. It uniquely has three aspects, ensuring that it has a view from each of the city streets and the river. The beautiful sandstone facade has been maintained and now houses a fabulous restaurant. More information on Customs House, including the menu is available here.
3. The City Botanic Gardens
Mianjin/Meanjin was the eventual site of the convict settlement of Brisbane. With water on three sides, the theory was to make it slightly harder for the convicts to escape.
As a penal colony, Brisbane didn’t ever live up to expectations, with the mantle for the most feared destination for transportation quickly shifting to Norfolk Island and the site being declared a botanic garden in 1855.
Today, this beautiful leafy slice of paradise in the heart of the city is a must visit on any trip to Brisbane.
On our Brisbane City Cycling tour we circumnavigate the gardens, giving you a preview to it’s best features!
4. Old Governor’s House and Parliament House
Now nestled into the grounds of Queensland’s University of Technology, building Old Governor’s House was the first act of the new State of Queensland’s parliament. Home to Governors from 1865 to 1910, the beautiful sandstone building now houses a fabulous art gallery and is a nice counterpoint to a botanic gardens visit.
Surpassed in it’s grandeur by the stately Parliament House, this landmark is still the active seat of Queensland’s government. Visitors are able to visit Parliament house ordinarily (temporary arrangements are in place during COVID), perhaps the more stomach friendly option is to combine a visit with High Tea or Stangers Dining Room for a long lunch.
5. Town Hall and the Museum of Brisbane
Brisbane’s Town Hall (or City Hall as it is now known) is the biggest in Australia (size sometimes matters). Heritage listed, it has recently undergone a restoration and had it’s former grandeur renewed. There are daily walking tours of the most beautiful features (including a surprisingly big organ and of course the clock tower) available. Include dropping by the Museum of Brisbane in your visit, the exhibitions are always worth a peak.
6. Gallery of Modern Art/ Queensland Art Gallery
Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art and Art Gallery attract blockbuster exhibitions canvassing the art of the Asia Pacific, the European masters and the beautiful art of the Australian Indigenous peoples. With an interactive section for kids at GOMA (and the big kids supervising them) it is fun and accessible. The very least of both art gallery’s attractions but well worth mentioning is the air-conditioning, a much appreciated bonus, much like the spectacular river views the galleries command
7. Southbank Parklands and Streets Beach
Think Queensland, think beach? You certainly aren’t alone.
Streets beach is the river city’s answer to a beach. With the river not available for bathing since the turn of the century, Streets beach is a welcome spot to cool off, complete with lifeguards.
Set in leafy parklands, Southbank was transformed from it’s industrial port legacy to the site of Exhibition 1988, or Expo 88, themed, “Leisure in the age of technology”.
The Nepalese pavilion remains as a reminder of Expo, beautifully maintained with the riverfront pathway an enduring legacy for the city.
8. Kangaroos Point Cliffs
The very first farm of the Brisbane settlement hardly seems spacious enough to grow the very first crops for Brisbane town. Kangaroo point has served as a farm, a quarry, wharves, a naval base and now a spectacular sunset picnic venue and fabulous climbing site.
9. The Story Bridge
Potentially the most iconic landmark of Brisbane, the Story Bridge has spanned the cliffs since 1940. Named for John Douglas Story this iconic Queensland depression era project has a twin in Montreal. It is also climbable!
For one of the best views of Brisbane check out the Story Bridge Adventure Climb.
10. Howard Smith Wharves
Howard Smith & Sons, a shipping company, has had a long history with this site, eventually lending their name to the wharfs under the Story Bridge. With a recent Government announcement, Howard Smith Wharves will soon be returning to it’s shipping routes (see what we did there!).
Now a restaurant precinct, it is a great place for a coffee or a cocktail, with dining options for every budget. Make sure you go for a ride in the lifts at either end of the precinct for an effortless view of the city.
Brisbane City Cycling tours cruise past the best of Brisbane City taking in all of the listed attractions (except Town Hall).
With the breeze in your (helmet) hair, let us guide you past the unmissable landmarks of Brisbane!