South Bank was created for the 1988 World Expo and when the fair left town the venue remained as a free facility for the people of Brisbane to enjoy. The waterfront park is packed with a variety of attractions, making it a magnet for locals and visitors alike. Spend a day chilling out Australian-style and get a flavour of the indigenous way of life.
Make your way through the vibrant bougainvillea blossoms of the Grand Arbour to enter the parklands and head straight for a refreshing dip in the tropical waters of Streets Beach. Adults will enjoy watching the kids having fun in the waterpark while they relax in the shade of a palm tree. There are lockers for rent to stash your stuff in while you swim.
When it’s time to eat you’ll be spoilt for choice. The riverfront is lined with stylish restaurants where you can sample a cornucopia of world cuisines at your leisure, or grab a quick sandwich from one of the park’s kiosks. Do it yourself with a picnic spread, or opt for a liquid lunch in a typical Australian pub – try The Ship Inn, an old sailors’ haunt dating from 1864, for authentic atmosphere. While you’re there, pop into the Maritime Museum opposite to see a World War II naval frigate and other historic artefacts.
There’s always something going on at South Bank, ranging from sporting events, music festivals in the public stadium, or free entertainment from talented street artists. At weekends the park fills up with market stalls where you can browse to your heart’s content and maybe pick up a bargain from the huge variety of local crafts, clothing, jewellery and accessories.
One of the best ways to see Brisbane is from the top of the giant Ferris wheel, and no visit to South Bank is complete without taking a ride in one of its gondolas. At the foot of the wheel is a miniature rain forest enclosing the Nepal Peace Pagoda, one of only three outside Nepal, which features a beautiful tea house on the second level.
Reaching South Bank is easy by ferry or bus; on-site parking is available but can be expensive.