Editor’s Note: This post is written and provided by Kerry Dunleavy.
Aside from being the capital of Queensland, and the third largest city in Australia, Brisbane is an often overlooked destination for many traveling to this dynamic continent. What these same well-meaning travelers don’t realize are the many sights and attractions waiting for them, particularly on Queensland’s South Bank. Here are just a few of the many destinations Brisbane and the South Bank have to offer, and a few tips to help you save money on your flight into Australia.
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Exploring Brisbane provides you with the unique opportunity to view a botanical paradise tucked inside a stark, metropolitan landscape. Located within steps of the city’s business district, The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is one of the continent’s oldest public parks, and has been teaching visitors and locals about Australia’s flora since 1828. Horrendous flooding in the 1970s caused extensive damage to the original gardens, but this didn’t stop the park’s conservators and generous patrons from recreating a second park at the foot of Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane’s tallest mountain. The new and improved Brisbane City Botanic gardens now features an outstanding Japanese Garden and a glass dome that houses more than 2,000 examples of trees and flowers native to the continent.
South Bank Parklands
Located a short distance from Brisbane’s Central Business District, the South Bank Parklands are also adjacent to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, making it a convenient second stop on your tour of the city. The parklands houses a number of impressive attractions, most notably the Wheel of Brisbane, which was constructed in 2008 to honor the 20th anniversary of World Expo 88. This massive Ferris, or observation, wheel provides visitors with a 360 degree, 60 mile view of the city. Now that you experienced the Wheel of Brisbane, and are ready to cool off and shake your vertigo, take a few steps through the park and jump into Streets Beach. This man-made lagoon is the ideal spot to jump in feet first, or allow the kids to blow off some steam and witness the South Bank Arbor. The arbor features a single, massive purple bougainvillea plant that stretches the entire length of the park.
You may be familiar with Seattle’s famed space needle, but prepare yourself for a truly unique experience when you patronize the Brisbane skyneedle. The structure was originally built for World Expo 88, and afterwards was destined for Japan’s Disneyland. To avoid losing one of the city’s major tourist attractions, local businessman Stefan Ackerie purchased the skyneedle, and uses its bottom floor to house one of his hair salons. The skyneedle suffered two major electric fires in 1988 and 2006, prompting Ackerie to replace a large portion of the structure. In 2009, the Brisbane Skyneedle reopened, complete with a new LED lightshow. The skyneedle’s main light, which can be seen from over 60 miles away, is activated on rare occasions due to the fear it disrupts flights to and from nearby Brisbane Airport.
Story Bridge Climb
The adventure-hungry members of your group will jump at the opportunity to experience the story bridge climb. The climb itself takes two and one-half hours, but don’t worry if you’re not in the best physical shape, and instead take this as an opportunity to witness Brisbane’s many sights while conquering your acrophobia. The tours depart from the bridge’s base every 20 minutes and last from dawn until dusk, eliminating most excuses about time constraints.
Finding a Cheap Flight to Brisbane
Unfortunately, unless you’re flying from a nearby city, there’s no such thing as a “cheap” flight to and from Australia. Instead of accepting this fate, there are several ways to save the most money possible on your flights to Brisbane, or an adjacent city.
- Don’t restrict yourself by flying into Sydney, Melbourne or even Brisbane. There are several, smaller airlines and airports that offer amazing deals throughout the year.
- Avoid flying during Australia’s peak tourist times, including around Christmas, between June and August or October to February.
- Book early. This is a universal travel rule that also applies to your Brisbane trip. The earlier you book, the more options available and chances you have to save money on your flight and hotel.
If you’re having trouble booking a flight to any of Australia’s airports, both large and small, don’t hesitate to contact the airline directly. You may get lucky and snap up a recent cancellation, or an unbelievable, unpublished deal.
Kerry Dunleavy is a world-conquering travel blogger. She has visited every continent on earth and has no thought of stopping her travels anytime soon, regardless of being 68 years old.
Photo courtesy of from 123rf.com