The revitalized river town of Brisbane draws many visitors thanks in part to the semitropical climate in the north of the country. The South Bank development created a new cultural district and welcome outdoor spaces, while the city center houses heritage buildings and draws crowds to the Queen Street Mall and Myer Centre shopping district. Beware that the principal cruise dock for large ships is well down the river, while the smaller vessels come closer but still not near the action.
What We Love
Moreton Bay Bugs: They may not sound tasty, but these delicious shellfish resemble a small lobster and are served broiled or steamed with a tangy butter sauce.
CityCat: If you think taking public transportation is a bit of a bore, think again. This fast-ferry service sweeps you along the serpentine river into and through the city center with landings at both banks.
Best Known For
Queen Street: The pedestrian street mall in the heart of the city draws locals and visitors for its shops, restaurants, and street entertainment. It's also not far from Brisbane City Hall — climb the tower for amazing views.
South Bank: The Queensland Museum highlights Australia’s history, wildlife (including a terrific dinosaur exhibit), and World War relics, while the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art exhibits art by Aboriginal Australians, South Pacific Islanders, and Europeans. The adjacent parkland walkways lead to a zoo, outdoor markets, and a sandy beach.
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Who It's Best For
All Ages: Kids will love riding the CityCat and seeing strange animals and plants found nowhere else, while adults will go for the Queen Street Mall, South Bank attractions, and the outdoor cafés along the Brisbane River.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Far From the Reef: The gorgeous beaches and surfable waves in Gold Coast are less than an hour away, but the Great Barrier Reef is more than 200 miles to the north.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.