Australia’s Capital of the Sunshine State: Beautiful Brisbane

Contributed by ILSC-Brisbane Activities Coordinator, John Smedley in collaboration with an ILSC-Brisbane internship student

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Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, the Sunshine State – where tropical paradise meets urban living. Brisbane has a great sub-tropical climate all year round and we’re lucky to see the sun over half of the year!

Whether you’ve been in the city for 1 week or 10 years, you always feel at home – the locals are extremely friendly and welcoming.

Unlike other busy, bustling cities, here it’s a little more chilled out so people can relax, live freely and enjoy an active and social lifestyle. You’ll see many locals riding their bikes in the mornings, or spot artists expressing themselves at one of the many secret cafes around the suburbs.

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Explore Brisbane on a CityCycle bike (Photo credit: Flickr user Brisbane City Council)

On top of this, there’s the beauty of the local markets which are scattered throughout the inner and outer suburbs. You can enjoy local entertainment, from juggling, to music, all while taking in the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Or if you’re looking for something to do during the evening, the West End Night Markets are a must!

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One of the many local markets scattered throughout the city

The beautiful shape of the Brisbane River which curves through the city lets you see so many different places while cruising on the CityCat. Some cities have trams, train and buses, but Brisbane uses the ferries like nowhere else I’ve seen – I recommend taking a cruise around 6:30pm as the city lights are just spectacular!

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Cruise the city on a CityCat (Photo credit: Flickr user Brisbane City Council)

When I arrived in Brisbane I could not believe how close it was to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, both are worth the hour or so drive to explore the amazing coast and beaches! You can also enjoy outdoor activities from water sports to mountain climbing all year round, and all within a short distance from the city. If you get the chance, go to the Glass House Mountains at sunrise where the sun gives the mountains an amazing warm glow.

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Learn to surf like a pro at one of the amazing beaches only an hour from Brisbane (photo credit: Flickr user Aristocrats-hat)

You don’t have to live here long to realise that there’s more to Brisbane than meets the eye. It’s an incredibly multicultural city where all cultures are truly embraced. Besides the local delicacies, there’s a massive choice of multicultural dishes, which the locals also love.

The coffee shops are also a stand out. There seems to be quite a pride in making a good coffee here in Brisbane. Of course there are the common and popular cafes that you would see in any city, however Brisbane locals seem to want to find their own personal café – down an alleyway somewhere, or around the back of a building. There are plenty of these around and the coffee is truly magical! Many cafes also promote positive fundraising at their counters where the money goes towards supplying warm clothes, food and clean water for homeless people. There is a great sense of community here and the local people always seem to get together and find ways to make the city a stronger, more connected community.

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Felix Felix Espresso and Winebar in Brisbane (photo credit: Flickr user Rae Allan)

If you’re coming to Brisbane, I would also recommend visiting the Botanical Gardens. Not only is it a great place to enjoy a coffee, or just sit and read a book, but it has the added perk of free WiFi – so you can chat with your friends and family across the globe while taking in the beautiful scenery.

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Wonder across the city’s pedestrian bridge (Goodwill Bridge) and venture into South Bank. Here they have Open Movie Nights, Riverfire (the biggest fireworks display in Brisbane), free exercise classes, cooking shows and the list goes on!

The city is so creative and friendly. I really feel at home here.

Check out the video below to see what life is like for ILSC students living and studying in Brisbane:

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