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Brisbane Australia Tourist Places

Gallery of Modern Art

All angular glass, concrete and black metal, must-see GOMA celebrates modern and contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on Australian, Asian and Pacific artists. Regularly changing exhibitions spotlight everything from painting, sculpture and photography to video and installation art, while GOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque screens unique, often rare films and video several times weekly. The gallery also includes a Children’s Art Centre, well-stocked book-and-design shop, and both a casual cafe and smarter Modern-Australian restaurant.

South Bank Parklands

Should you sunbake on a sandy beach, saunter through a rainforest, or eye-up a Nepalese peace pagoda? You can do all three in this 17.5-hectare park overlooking the city centre. Its canopied walkways lead to performance spaces, lush lawns, eateries and bars, and regular free events ranging from fitness classes to film screenings. The star attractions are Streets Beach, an artificial, lagoon-style swimming beach (packed on weekends); and the near-60m-high Wheel of Brisbane, delivering 360-degree views of town.

Also in the parklands is Stanley St Plaza, a renovated section of historic Stanley St lined with mainstream cafes, restaurants, a handful of shops and a bustling pub. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, the plaza hosts the tourist-heavy Collective Markets South Bank, peddling everything from artisan leather wallets and breezy summer frocks to prints, skincare and contemporary handmade jewellery.

Close by, South Bank Piazza is an outdoor performance space offering year-round events.

City Hall

Fronted by a row of sequoia-sized Corinthian columns, Australia’s largest city hall was built between 1920 and 1930. Although free, fascinating heritage tours (45 minutes) of the sandstone behemoth should be booked in advance (online or by phone); they can be available on the day from the excellent on-site Museum of Brisbane, however, so always consider checking. Alternatively, free tours of the building’s 85m-high clock tower run every 15 minutes from 10am to 5pm; grab tickets from the museum.

Interestingly, the marble in City Hall’s foyer was sourced from the same Tuscan quarry as that used by Michelangelo to sculpt his David . It’s one of many fascinating details about the building. The Rolling Stones played their first-ever Australian gig in its magnificent auditorium in 1965, itself complete with a 4300-pipe organ, mahogany and blue-gum floors, and offering free concerts at noon every Tuesday from February to November.

Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Conquering Brisbane’s most famous bridge is thrilling, with unbeatable views of the city – morning, twilight (our favourite) or night. The climb scales the southern half of the structure, taking you 80m above the Brisbane River. Dawn climbs and climb-and-abseil combos ($159) run on Saturdays. Most climbs last two hours, with the climb-and-abseil experience lasting three hours. Minimum age six years.