#TatlerTips: The Globetrotter’s 10 in Brisbane
In a brief trip arranged by Philippine Airlines and Brisbane International Airport to celebrate the maiden voyage of PAL’s brand new Airbus A321neo, we had the chance to explore the charming little “River City” of Australia.
The Brisbane Central Business District alone boasts countless vibrant locales with different personalities, but what’s striking is the easygoing vibe that seems to permeate the air. While our trip was mostly focused on Brisbane City itself, there’s so much more to see and experience if you venture out of the Inner City a little.
1/10 Visit some furry friends
What’s a trip to Australia without meeting some of its icons? Travel southwest of the CBD and you will arrive at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where you will find over 100 species of Australia’s native animals. Here, you get to cuddle a koala, feed kangaroos (maybe spot a joey hiding in a pocket if you’re lucky), and interact with dingoes, platypus, and other beautiful creatures in a controlled environment that closely resembles their natural habitat.
2/10 Give yourself a break at Mt. Coot-tha
Go north of Lone Pine and you’ll end up at the foot of Mt. Coot-tha. Drive or hike up to the lookout to take in a panoramic view of Brisbane and its neighbouring regions. This is especially perfect on a cool winter day sunset, with the breeze gently blowing. If you get hungry, drop by the Summit Restaurant to get your fill.
3/10 Take a scenic drive
While you’re already at the Mt. Coot-tha lookout point, take the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive for a dynamic look at Brisbane’s colourful cityscape.
4/10 Shop ‘til you drop
The Queen Street Mall is lined with international and local brands of varying price points, making it a good place to shop. For a more exclusive experience, you can head to Fortitude Valley, particularly James Street, which is brimming with independent stores including upscale Australian designer labels.
5/10 Do a walking tour of Brisbane City
What better way to discover a city than seeing it through the eyes of a local? Book a Brisbane Greeter if you don’t like going with big tour groups. These volunteers are on hand to flesh out the city’s history for visitors like you. If you want, you can also do a walking tour by yourself since the Inner City is very easy to traverse.
6/10 Experience the river
Brisbane is very proud of its river. You can make the most of this by riding the CityHopper, the free ferry service that will take you from Queen Street in the CBD to Sydney Street in New Farm. Aside from transportation, the river also hosts numerous fun activities such as daytime and sunset kayaking and abseiling (rappelling).
7/10 Go culture-tripping
Unlike in most cities, general museum access in Brisbane is free for all. You can catch more than 17,000 works of historical, modern, and contemporary Australian and international art in the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. To immerse in Aboriginal culture, you can take the day cruise from Meeanjin (Brisbane CBD) to Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) and back with tribal songs, dance, creation stories, traditional local language, weaving, and native cuisine.
8/10 Wine and dine in South Bank
Right across the river from the CBD is the South Bank, which is a happening place especially at night. The district consists of 17 hectares of lush parklands and world-class eateries with views of the river. StokehouseQ near the Maritime Museum serves delicious modern Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed and open setting. Meanwhile, Gauge near the Queensland Museum offers local produce-driven and progressive dishes in an upscale diner backdrop.
9/10 Camp in luxury
Australia as a country is known for its great outdoors, and Brisbane’s state, Queensland, has its fair share of natural wonders. Drive south 90 minutes from Brisbane for the Nightfall Wilderness Camp. At any given time, the camp can accommodate six adults because visitors will sleep in luxury safari tents fitted with fireplaces and vintage baths. Right next to the camp is the Lamington National Park, where you can explore lush rainforest and waterfalls.
10/10 Test the waters at Moreton Island
For a water adventure, take a trip to Moreton Island, 25 kilometres northeast of Brisbane’s shore. Most of this sand island is national park, and has less than 100 residents. Here, you can hand-feed dolphins in the pristine waters, and discover the Tangalooma Wrecks in your diving and snorkelling expedition.
Philippine Airlines is now flying the fastest non-stop service on the Manila-Brisbane route with the brand new Airbus A321neo. The aircraft houses enhanced cabin features such as 12 full-flat business class seats, 156 economy seats with wider legroom, in-seat TV monitors on all seats, free wifi connection (subject to time and volume limits), further reduced noise levels, and myPAL eSuite to access more inflight entertainment selections. These creature comforts are more than enough to get you through the flight, which is just less than eight hours. The Manila-Brisbane route flies on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.