The City Centre has as its focus the Queen Street Mall - a pedestrian walkway between the shops, department stores, arcades and boutiques of Queen Street itself. Despite its mediocre architecture, it works well as an assembly and meeting point for residents and visitors. Your best information source for tours is as the kiosk located here at the corner of Albert Street.

The City Hall on the corner of Adelaide and Albert Streets also has an information desk, and it's clock tower has a free observation gallery where you can enjoy a high view of the city. A lift provides access from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm weekdays, and 10 am to 4.30 pm Saturdays.
One notable historic building which has not been consumed by high rises is the old Treasury Building on the corner of Queen and George Streets. It has been converted into a 24-hour casino.

The beautiful Botanic Gardens in the city centre are so different to the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens (see later) version that they are worth a visit for that reason alone. Established for more than a hundred years, the style is more European and consequently contains more exotics species than at Mt Coot-tha. It never shuts and is lit at night (watch out for possums). To visit walk south down Albert or Edward or any parallel street. The gardens are right at the end.

South Bank Parklands [ ; 3876 2051; ] was created in turmoil in the mid 1980's as entire streets of residents' dwellings were bulldozed to make way for Brisbane's hosting of Expo 88. It has nevertheless turned out to be in the public good as this huge expanse of space is now available for community use. It includes a wide range of grassy areas and sub-tropical trees, an impressive swimming pool with a realistic sandy beach and less than convincing streams which meander around the site. Its absolute river frontage is its special feature, affords a wonderful view of the city centre just across the water, and is particularly atmospheric at night. There are also restaurants, weekend markets (Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays until 5 pm), a performance pavilion and covered picnic areas with gas fired BBQ plates for free use day or night.

Just north of South Bank is Queensland Cultural Centre which includes the Queensland Museum with dinosaur, whale and aviation exhibitions and the Queensland Art Gallery which houses a wide range of Australian art. Both the museum and art gallery are open 9 am to 5 pm daily and have free admission. The art gallery provides free guided tours weekdays at 11 am, 1 pm and 2 pm, and on weekends at 11 am, 2 pm and 3 pm. The Performing Art Complex is also part of the Centre and is one of Brisbane's most premier performing theatres. The easiest way to get to South Bank is to walk over Victoria Bridge at the end of the Queen Street Mall.

The CityCat, is a delightful and economical way to ply the Brisbane River from the east at Hamilton to the west at the University of Queensland campus in St Lucia, and stopping at about 12 points over a period of about an hour. The first catamaran departs at 6 am daily and then every half hour except during peak times when they run every 20 minutes. The last cat leaves either end at 10.30 pm. The fare ranges from $1.40 for one sector to $3.20 for the full length; children, students and pensioners are half-price. Three central embarkation points include the Eagle Street pier at the Riverside Centre, North Quay at the end of the Queen Street mall and South Bank. The cat also stops at New Farm Park which is worth a visit. Both South Bank and the Eagle Street Pier are locations of a handicrafts markets on Sundays and the cat is a convenient way to visit both. It is worth noting that you can freely hop off and on the CityCat anywhere in your journey.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary [ ; Jesmond Road Fig Tree Pocket; 3241 4419;] accommodates a wide range of Australian animals including over 100 very cute koalas which you can hold for a photograph. Apart from zoo-like pens and cages with everything from snakes to flying foxes to dingos, you can stroll around a large free range area containing hundreds of kangaroos and related marsupials which allow you to take photos at very close range. It is open 8am to 5pm daily and costs $12.50 for adults, $9 with VIP or YHA card and $6.50 for children 3 to 13 years. To get there, catch the Cityxpress bus #445 which costs $2.60 and takes 35 minutes from opposite the City Hall in Adelaide Street. The first bus leaves at 7.30 am, then 8.15 am, then every hour after that. Another way, which also gives you a fresh perspective on the river, is to take the MV Mirimar [ ; 3221 0300; ] costing $16 return for adults and $9 for children departing daily at 10 am from Queens Wharf just south of Victoria Bridge, North Quay, located at the end of the Queens Street Mall. It arrives at Lone Pine at 11.20 am, departs at 1.30 pm, and en route the captain gives an interesting commentary of the river and the convict history of Brisbane.

The Australian Woolshed [; 148 Samford Road Ferny Hills; 3872 1100;] simulates an outback sheep station and provides 5 shows daily on sheep shearing, working dogs herding sheep and a range of animals you are likely to encounter on a farm. There is a restaurant, café and parkland for relaxation. Entry costs $13 adults, $9.50 pensioners and students, and $7 for children and the hours are from 7.30 am to 5 pm daily. You can take a suburban train from, say, Central station in Ann street in the city centre, to Ferny Grove station from which the Woolshed is only a few minutes walk.
Mt Coot-tha has a great lookout, forests and a native botanic gardens. In day time the lookout affords great views of Moreton Island and Stradbroke Island and, in some weather conditions, both the Sunshine and Gold Coast hinterlands. It is, however, much more spectacular at night when Brisbane city's lights sprawl stunningly before you. The Summit Restaurant, [ ; Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, Bardon; 3369 9922; ] a classy establishment atop on the lookout, offers main courses from $17.90 to $25.90 and allows you to enjoy the views in style. It is so popular that it is recommended you book in advance to secure a table next to a window. There are also cheaper al fresco cafes next door. To get to the lookout during the day catch a #471 bus in Adelaide Street opposite King George Square just outside the Commonwealth bank. The first bus departs at 8.50 am, then 9.35 am, then hourly until 3.35 pm, and costs $2.20.

The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens are at the base of the mountain and includes some 21,000 species of native and exotic plants, including an arid zone, a domed tropical zone, a rainforest zone and a Japanese garden. They are open 8.30 am to 1 pm with free guided walks at 11 am and 1pm daily except Sunday. Admission is free. Bus # 471 (above) stops at the Botanical Gardens before continuing to the lookout. A 2 hour Council tour costing $7 goes up to Mt Coot-tha lookout and also visits the Botanic Gardens, departing 2 pm daily from the City Hall Sights bus stop on Adelaide Street.

Brisbane Forest Park is a huge forest reserve just to the west of Brisbane, and includes an Information Centre [60 Mt Nebo Road, the Gap; 3300 4855] at Brisbane's perimeter suburb The Gap, which is open weekdays from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm and weekends 10 am to 5 pm. The rangers offer guided bush-walks and tours. A scenic mountainous road continues to rainforested Boombana National Park, Manorina National Park, and Jolly's Lookout (great for an elevated picnic) containing self-guided walks and well maintained barbeque areas, located further away from Brisbane near townships Mt. Nebo and Mt. Glorious where you can also have lunch or afternoon tea. The road has been recently extended past Mt Glorious to Lake Wivenhoe through truly spectacular mature rainforest and mountain passes. The trip requires a car and makes a wonderful day tour. Follow Musgrave Road from the western edge of the city centre for a few kilometres after which it which becomes Waterworks Road, then follow this to The Gap where the road changes its name again to Mt Nebo Road. Mt Nebo is 19 km, and Mt Glorious is 30 km past The Gap.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse [ ; Lamington National Park Road via Canungra; 5544 0644; ] is an unusual guesthouse about 2 hours drive south of Brisbane in the Gold Coast hinterland mountains. It rose to prominence over 60 years ago when the original Mr O'Reilly single-handedly found and rescued the survivors of a plane crash downed in the nearby rugged mountains. Since then the family has developed the guesthouse into a distinctive eco-adventure establishment with a tree-top canopy walkway and guided rainforest trails. It is preferable to spend at least one night here. Accommodation with all meals and organised activities costs $179 per person, with no single supplement.