The capital of the Queensland region and the jewel of Australia's eastern coast, Brisbane is a rapidly growing city, both in terms of populace (over two million at this point) and in culture, making it a premiere destination for travelers who are less interested in the deeds and designs of historic figures and more into the progressive and inclusive sense of culture as it occurs right now. With weather that is warm year-round, an abundant nightlife and live music scene that is always on the cutting edge, and natural areas that quickly turn from challenging bush-hikes to pristine, surfer-friendly beaches, Brisbane is the perfect travel destination for the Embark traveler.
The Central Business District is the heart of this thriving travel destination and a lot of the most important attractions can be reached on foot or by well-designed and consistent public transport. King George Square, often a-bustle, is an excellent place to start your journey, while other CBD attractions of note include the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the Queensland's Parliament House. On the other hand, your evenings and late nights may be best spent in Fortitude Valley just northeast of the CBD, home to one of the most vibrant music and clubbing scenes in the world. If you're an advocate of good live music and a city that supports it in droves, then pack yourself in with the tens-of-thousands per weekend that party here. Check out our nightlife and cuisine pages for further information on drinking and dining in Brisbane.
We'd be remiss if we didn't talk about some of the other excellent destinations that you'll be privy to when you touch down in Brisbane. If you're one for sun, sand, and water sports of all kinds, then you can head south of the city to hugely popular destinations like Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast (Mooloolaba, Currimundi)- if you ask two different Aussies which is better, you'll undoubtedly get different answers, but you'll find that the Sunshine Coast is generally less busy. There are also some incredibly picturesque islands that deserve a day of an itinerary, including Frasier Island and North Stradbroke Island, where hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving or just getting a healthy dose of sun are veritable options for a day's fun. Springbrook National Park, the rain-forested Conondale Range, Bunya Mountains National Park and their massive-coned bunya pines, Lamington Mountain National Park, and Kondalilla National Park all provide excellent hiking opportunities in some the renowned Australian bush. This is also the closest big city in Australia to the Great Barrier Reef, and, next to Cairns, the most popular departure point for activities of this nature.
The long and short of it is this: Brisbane possesses a deep cache of culture that relies less on rococo government buildings and heroic statues, and more on the type of culture that is bursting at the seams in neighborhoods like Fortitude Valley. Which is not to imply that there is a lack of preservation of public buildings, squares, and gardens, but the big reasons for visiting Brisbane are the types of attractions that give you the chills. So if that means hopping out of an airplane with one of a handful of different skydive outfits, jamming out in a packed club, trekking local rainforest or hitting the surf breaks, then Brisbane is the type of city you need to experience for a while.