Whilst there are a host of activities to enjoy in the sun-drenched city of Brisbane, the city’s South Bank takes the biscuit. In similar fashion to London’s trendy area of the same name, Brisbane’s South Bank has become synonymous with the food, arts and cultural scene in Australia and, increasingly, worldwide. The area consists of 42 acres of lush parklands, not to mention world-class eateries – many of which boast stunning river views. If that isn’t enough to convince you to visit then perhaps try one of the hundreds of delightful events all year round. This article will uncover the very best things to do on your visit to Brisbane’s South Bank.
South Bank Beach
If there’s something that Australians know how to do, it’s beaches. In fact, Brisbane’s South Bank is home to a man-made beach which is the ideal place to soak up the rays on one of the city’s many sunny days.
The Boat Pool and Aquativity water play area of the beach, as well as the fact that it is patrolled by lifeguards, makes this attraction incredibly child friendly.
Riverside Green and Picnic Playground
Another area which is great for families is Riverside Green which has equipment for children of all ages (and big kids too!). The picnic playground is perfect for letting the children run wild whilst enjoying a coffee or some of the South Bank’s delicious cuisine.
South Bank Markets
Mentioning coffee and cuisine brings us to another great thing about Brisbane’s South Bank: sampling the fare at one of the Friday night or weekend markets. Eat and drink your way around the market whilst perusing clothes, art and jewellery, to a soundtrack of live music.
BBQ or Picnic Areas
If you prefer to prepare your own nourishment then there are multiple BBQ spots available around the city. Time it right and you can sit back and enjoy some of the local live music, such as the Sound Society, Brisbane's newest, free live music program.
The Brisbane Wheel
This large Ferris wheel is the best way to see Brisbane. On a 12-minute ride, 60 metres above ground, you can take in the sights of the city whilst being guided by audio commentary. For a unique spectacle come after sunset and survey the twinkling lights of the Brisbane skyline.
Although the pristine Daintree Rainforest is further up the coast you can get a taste of the same environment by wandering over the city boardwalk, through the tropical and sub-tropical plants, interspersed with water features.
Forged from 80 tonnes of Nepalese timber and standing three storeys high, the Nepalese Pagoda is the only international exhibit left from the 1988 World Expo. Made by 160 Nepalese families, the Pagoda offers a peaceful monument to waltz around during the day and at night, when the Pagoda’s delicate and artful illuminations make it particularly beautiful.
Stroll through the Grand Arbour
The Grand Arbour is, perhaps, the most striking and aesthetically pleasing of all the attractions at Brisbane’s South Bank. Its 443 galvanised streel structures are draped with bougainvillea and form a 0.6-mile-long passage that is an urban rambler’s dream.
QAGOMA, or the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art is considered by many to be the jewel of the South Bank. Although they are actually two separate galleries they are housed in the same building. Together, the galleries share a dream to be the leading contemporary art centre for the Asia-Pacific region and, with over 16,000 works on display, they make an incredibly strong case for having achieved this. Highlights include the ‘infinity room’ which is a piece created by celebrated artist Anish Kapoor – known for creating Chicago’s Cloud Gate, aka ‘The Bean’.
From popping into Nonna’s Deli for some fabulous coffee to getting your fix of sweet treats from one of the South Bank’s desert cafés (Cowch or San Churro) through to gorging on a variety of Asian treats available from Bamboo Basket, Harajuku Gyoza or Junk; there is something for everyone’s tastes at the South Bank.
The Seed Project
Find the next big thing in music at these open-air Friday night concerts, from funk to folk. Many artists, such as Wolfmother, The John Steele Singers and Nine Sons of Dan, have begun their journey to the big stage from this spot.
River Quay Green Amphitheatre
This subtle construction cut into the riverside offers a section of lush parkland on which you can take in uninterrupted views of the river and the Brisbane skyline. The area has a real ‘picnic in the park’ vibe and often plays host to free live music events.