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Brisbane Cruises Port Guide

Brisbane is the capital of the Australian state of Queensland. Though it doesn’t have the same amount of acclaim as Sydney to the north, those on a cruise to Australia will be thrilled with a day spent in Brisbane. You’ll quickly get a sense of what it’s like to live along Australia’s east coast as you’re immersed in the city culture of Queensland. Even more exciting for most visitors is Brisbane’s close proximity to the Gold Coast, a stretch of coastline beloved by locals for its surf breaks and soft, welcoming sand.

Cruises to Brisbane, Australia

 

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Brisbane

Mt. Coot-tha

For one of the best views in Queensland, head to the top of Mt. Coot-tha, which offers a spectacular lookout over the city of Brisbane and its surrounding scenery. Mt. Coot-tha is located in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and a journey to the top will take you to Brisbane Lookout Point, a delicious restaurant and café, and bushwalking trails. The lookout point is adjacent to the lovely Brisbane Botanic Gardens that will beckon you to spend some time walking around the flowers and vegetation. While you’re here, you can also tour the onsite planetarium and walk along a great trail designed for kids that makes Mt. Coot-tha a great family destination during Brisbane cruises.

The Cultural Precinct

The Cultural Precinct is an area of Brisbane located on the South Bank of the Brisbane River. This heritage-listed site is home to a number of museums, art galleries, parks, walking trails, libraries, and other family-friendly attractions. The Cultural Precinct boasts several performance venues for operas, ballets, comedy shows, and concerts. 

Story Bridge

This heritage-listed bridge is one of the most famous sights to see in Brisbane. In addition to being visually striking, it’s also the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. When you cruise Brisbane, you can walk along its pedestrian walkway.

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Top Things to Do in Brisbane

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Interact with one of Australia’s most beloved animals during your cruise. Brisbane is home to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is home to koalas as well as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, crocodiles, dingoes, snakes, various birds of prey, and several other animal species. While visiting this sanctuary, you’ll get the opportunity to cuddle a koala, hold a snake, and see animal demonstrations such as sheep shearing shows, platypus feedings, and barn animal encounters.

Brisbane Museums

Brisbane has a number of museums you can visit during your cruise to Brisbane. Two that stand out are the Queensland Museum for history buffs and Sciencentre, where interactive exhibits offer exciting science demonstrations and activities. Art enthusiasts will want to visit the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, one of the leading contemporary art museums in Australia. 

Brisbane River Activities

Brisbane River is an excellent spot for those looking for some exciting action while in port. There are a number of different activities you can do on or near the water, such as kayaking, biking by the river’s edge, and even rock climbing at the adjacent Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park. For a more leisurely day on the river, take a catamaran cruise tour of Brisbane.

Visit the Beach

If you’re more of a beach lover than a city fanatic, head on an excursion south of the city to the Gold Coast. There, you’ll find miles upon miles of silky sand in shades of white and gold bordering the rushing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a relaxing day lounging on the sand, or try your hand at surfing, sea kayaking, or windsurfing.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Brisbane Cruise Port

Brisbane has an eclectic, international food scene. From gastropubs to 5-star restaurants, al-fresco street dining to panoramic views, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the culinary scene during Brisbane cruises. 

A popular choice for dining in Brisbane is the riverside Stokehouse Q. Go here for fine dining with an elegant atmosphere and excellent views of the Brisbane River. If you cruise to Brisbane on a Farmer’s Market day, you can try some local produce and delicacies there. Fresh, locally caught seafood is also a top cuisine choice to try while in Brisbane.

For a drink, enjoy a local brew and the Queensland sunshine at one of Brisbane’s rooftop bars.

Culture & History of the Brisbane Cruise Port

The history of Brisbane is quite different from the exciting cityscape you’ll see today. Brisbane was once the location of where more than 100,000 Aboriginals lived, making it one of the most populated areas of Australia long before European settlers arrived. When those European explorers did come, they pushed the Aboriginal inhabitants to the outskirts of Brisbane and turned the area into a penal colony. Convicts built some of the first buildings in Brisbane. In the mid 1900s, the city struggled to deal with a rapidly increasing population, environmental conservation, and aboriginal land rights. Today, Brisbane has evolved from its past and become a city quick to implement change for the betterment of the people and environment. It’s a leading city for diversity as well as culture, arts, and cuisine. 

The water around Brisbane has made a big impact on its culture. Brisbane has a sub-tropical climate that is warm year round with nearly 300 days of sunshine each year. The nearby beaches of the Gold Coast give it a laid back surfer vibe that’s intermixed with a bustling city scene. The adjacent Brisbane River that runs through the city provides a peaceful ambiance and gives Brisbane an outdoorsy feel, since you’ll see likely see watersports occurring on and by the river.

Brisbane Port Facilities & Location

Brisbane cruises stop in the city at Portside Wharf, an international cruise terminal that provides a modern experience for travelers visiting the city via ship. Portside Wharf is located in the city of Hamilton, which is roughly a 15-minute drive from Brisbane’s city center. At Portside Wharf, you’ll find a variety of restaurants and bars, plus shops selling souvenirs and clothing.

Transportation in Brisbane

You can travel around Brisbane by land or water during your day in the city. The CityCat ferries that operate on Brisbane River provide an affordable way to get to popular attractions near the riverfront. A CityCat ferry is located right by the Brisbane cruise terminal. For a more traditional mode of transportation, you’ll find an extensive city bus system that travels all around Brisbane and its suburbs. The city center of Brisbane is quite walkable, and there are bridges and free cross-ferries connecting each side of the river.

Shopping Near the Brisbane Cruise Port

You’ll find a variety of shopping experiences while in Brisbane. The City is the premier shopping district where you’ll find over 1,000 shops, including flagship stores for popular brands and boutiques you won’t find anywhere else. The stores are located along Edward Street, Elizabeth Street, and Adelaide Street, and within the Queen Street Mall.

Some other places to shop while in Brisbane include Fortitude Valley, where you’ll find local designers; James Street, for high-end fashion boutiques; and Paddington, which is a great place to find vintage fashion as well as housewares and books. 

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The currency used in Brisbane is the Australian Dollar (AUD). You’ll find ATMs throughout the city dispensing the currency. Money exchange offices are also located in the city. Be aware that instead of dollar bills, you’ll have dollar coins, so be sure you keep track of your loose change. In addition to cash, credit cards are widely accepted in Brisbane, with a preference for Visa and Mastercard. Tipping is not expected in Australia, though it is appreciated. 

 

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On a Brisbane cruise, you'll find a thriving art scene, sandy beaches, lively nightlife, and multiple wildlife sanctuaries. Start with scenic city views from Mount Coot-tha, west of downtown.

Cultural sophistication belies Brisbane's proximity to wilderness. Contemporary art galleries energize the vibrant Fortitude Valley district, including the Gallery of Modern Art, Institute of Modern Art, Philip Bacon Galleries, Jan Murphy Gallery, and Edwina Corlette Gallery.

A cruise to Brisbane offers plenty of possibilities to recreate. Go for a swim at South Bank Parklands, a sparkling, man-made, inner-city beach overlooking the Brisbane River. Or, take a ride down to Gold Coat and swim, surf, or build sandcastles on one of the Pacific's most famous beaches.

Meet Australia’s best-known natives, the koalas and kangaroos, at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, on the river. Learn all about the sleepy marsupials and other wildlife threatened by traffic, disease, and habitat loss. Cuddle a koala. Feed a kangaroo. See Tasmanian devils.

North of town, you can visit the Australia Zoo to learn about Wildlife Warriors and efforts to protect injured, threatened, and endangered species. See cheetahs and rhinos roaming the zoo's African Savannah.

You can shop for the latest designer goods on a Brisbane cruise. One chic area is Edward Street, where you'll find Hermès, Oroton, Georg Jensen, Paspaley, Chanel, and Australia’s largest Cartier store. Move on to James Street, in Fortitude Valley, for the vibrant colors, bold designs, and bohemian fashions of Australia's own Camilla.


Tip from Travel + Leisure

South Bank Surf Club Bar & Restaurant

Enjoy the sunshine at South Bank Surf Club Bar & Restaurant, a (mostly) outdoor restaurant shaded by bougainvillea blooms. On the menu: fresh seafood dishes such as Tasmanian oysters and seared scallops with blue cheese panna cotta, as well as Queensland beers like Fourex Gold.

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