Occupying the southern banks of the Brisbane River – is aptly named South Bank; home to the famous Streets Beach, the Nepal Peace Pagoda, the Wheel of Brisbane, and many other titillating sights to see. There is no shortage of fun to be found whether you’re travelling alone, or with the family. Boasting a fine number of eateries, small pubs, and boutiques; lush greenery, and sparkling teal waters, it’s easy to see why this touristic destination in Brisbane hosts up to 11,000,000 visitors each year.
Around the 1850’s, South Bank was the bustling business hub of Brisbane. After the 1893 Brisbane floods, that all changed and the business district moved to the North side of the Brisbane River. Today South Bank presents an array of free festivals, shows, and family friendly activities throughout the year, and has become a buzz of cool activity for travelers and locals. The South Bank Parklands occupies the main view of this region, and was created on the historical site of World Expo 88. The Parklands, (which opened on June 20, 1992) are located opposite the city and act as a place of refuge from the busy Brisbane streets. You can access the Parklands from the city by the Victoria Bridge at the north point of the park, and by the Goodwill Bridge at the south point. The Parklands are open from 5am until Midnight, every day of the year. There is plenty of access via public transit by train, bus, or ferry.
Within the Parklands you’ll find many areas to explore, it is home to the famous man-made ‘Streets Beach’. This pristine and ideally structured lagoon is detailed with exotic and tropical plants, white sand, and turquoise, crystal clear waters. The beach has been created with enough of the nuances of the ‘real-deal’ for people to feel lured into the harmonious submission of beach life. It is a free beach, complete with lifeguards, and ice cream.
Another highlight within the Parklands is the magical man-made rainforest. Get lost in the canopies of trees and assortment of agriculture and wildlife in the trails scattered throughout. On your ventures through the greenery you’ll encounter the Nepal Peace Pagoda. It was erected as part of the World Expo 88’ and is one of three peace pagodas around the world that exists outside of Nepal. It has a simple but profound presence and makes a perfect backdrop to add to your sight-seeing photo bank.
The famous Stanley Street Plaza is also located within the Parklands and comes alive with vendors and markets held during the year. On the first Sunday of every month, the Young Designers Market is featured. This market provides a chance for local and up and coming talent, to promote themselves to a diverse market. The market is open from 10am to 4pm. A more frequent market is the Collective Markets South Bank, which is held Saturday and Sunday every weekend of the year. It is home to many local artisans with beautifully created handicrafts and mouth-watering morsels to nibble one.
Outside of the Parklands, there is still much to explore and culture to experience. Take your pick with the one of two museums (Queensland Museum or the Queensland Maritime Museum), one of two art galleries (Queensland Art Gallery, or the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art), the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, or the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. There’s also a host of companies offering different options for river boat cruises, or take a tour through the inner-city on a bus tour.
As dusk falls, the city becomes an electric sparkle set against the sunset, and you’ll find yourself captivated with the vibrant view as the city comes alive at night. Against the skyline, the Wheel of Brisbane stands prominently in sight. It was erected in 2008 at one of the entrances to the Parklands, and is a whopping 60 meters high. With its 42 pods, you won’t find yourself having to wait long to soar around the wheel while taking in the views of the city. The pods are air conditioned, (so you can seek refuge on those hot summer nights) and are able to hold up to 6 adults and 2 children. At around 12 minutes a ride, you’ll still have time to dine and take in other sites during your evening.
Mouthwatering options await your approval, and the variety in South Bank doesn’t disappoint. South Bank Surf Club is a popular dining destination and was started by the famous celebrity Chef Ben O’Donoghue. Located within the Parklands, on Streets Beach, it promises to be a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Offering many worldwide cuisines, it is easy to find something to suit even the pickiest of eaters. From everything to fine dining at Bacchus (modern Australian cuisine), Popolo Italian Kitchen & Bar, or The Jetty South Bank (fresh, local, organic ingredients); to the more budget friendly restaurants like Next Door Kitchen & Bar (friendly, local vibes), Ol’ School (authentic fish and chips), or Southbank Beer Garden (favorite for pub classics). There’s something to suit everyone’s needs.
When it comes to accommodation there is a vast quantity of options to suit all budgets. If you’re opting for something more luxurious, you might consider the modern and chic Rydges South Bank. With 3 restaurants on site, you don’t even need to step foot off of the property to be able to enjoy a succulent meal with a view of the skyline. Rydges is located in close proximity to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, and only $204 USD a night. The Mantra South Bank is another more upscale option at $152 USD a night also in walking distance to the Convention center and has a more modern Ikea feel to the rooms. A more budget friendly option (without compromising comfort) is Allegro Apartments at only $89 USD a night. The units are cozy and well decorated and also include a small kitchen (great for longer stays) and are only a short 5 minute walk to the South Bank Parklands. The great thing about all of these locations is that they are only a 20 to 25 minute drive away from the aiport.
No matter what your budget, travel style, or needs require; there is always fun to be found in South Bank. Feel free to check out our homepage for more information.