FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Brisbane: Riverside Pride

Nov 1, 2008
2008 / November 2008

A pologies to author norman Maclean’s American classic about fly fishing, but A River Runs Through It seems more appropriate to Brisbane, Australia, where the Brisbane River gently curves and twists through the entire length of the city.

You can’t ignore it — just about everything happens near or on the river, the city’s main attraction. It’s where you can saunter or bike 12 miles of walkways and cycle paths in shirt sleeves in the middle of winter. For sustenance, you can stop at dozens of casual cafés along the river’s edge.

Just about everyone gets around — upriver, downriver and across the river — on the high-speed CityCats catamarans. Or, if you happen to be near one of Brisbane’s nine bridges, you can just walk across to get to something on the other side.

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, the Sunshine State, and the third largest city in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne. For Australians, it’s a popular vacation destination in winter, when its subtropical weather is sunny and mild. For tourists, Brisbane delivers the quintessential Aussie experience.

For a popular only-in-Australia excursion, head upriver to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (http://www.koala .net), which has been delighting visitors since 1927 in its bushland setting. This is where tourists go to have their pictures taken hugging a koala, but you can also get up close and personal with kangaroos and wallabies, handfeed rainbow lorikeets and watch sheep dogs mustering the sheep. There are also wombats, birds, dingoes and even Tasmanian devils in the 50-acre sanctuary.

Best way to get there is on the historic MV Mirimar (http://www.mirimar.com), the oldest wooden ferry boat on the river. Along the way the skipper narrates the history of Brisbane, and you’ll see an inner-city colony of flying foxes (fruit bats) hanging from mangrove trees on Indooroopilly Island.

When the boat docks on your return, stroll across the Victoria Bridge to South Bank, the prime neighborhood for the arts, entertainment and restaurants. Cultural sites abound — check out Queensland’s Performing Arts Centre (http://www.qpac.com.au), Art Gallery (http://www.qag.qld.gov.au), Theatre Company (http://www.qldtheatreco.com.au), Museum (http://www.qm.qld.gov.au) and the recently opened Gallery of Modern Art (http://www.qag.qld.gov.au) housing Australia’s largest collection of modern art. Plus arts and crafts markets every weekend, a lagoon with a man-made sandy beach, a rainforest with walkways, and more than 30 restaurants and cafés.

For thrill seekers, Brisbane’s Story Bridge Adventure Climb (http://www.storybridgeadventureclimb.com.au) requires a breathalyzer test, special clothes and a safety harness linked to a fixed line to climb with a guide up and over the superstructure of the bridge. A viewing platform 262 feet above the river provides unobstructed views.

It’s a leisurely stroll from the bridge along the Riverside Promenade to reach the historic 1889 Customs House (http://www.customshouse.com.au), which features an excellent restaurant serving continental cuisine where you can eat outside on the terrace facing the river.

For the ultimate private dining occasion, check out Golden Gondola(http://www.gondola.com.au), where you’ll glide along the Brisbane River by candlelight and music.

For more information, visit http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au .

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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