Koalas, Dolphins & Floral Charms in Tropical Brisbane

Brisbane is a popular gateway to Australia and especially when travelling through to Northern Queensland. However, don’t underestimate this urban centre on Australia’s East Coast. Take your time before heading up to the Great Barrier Reef and other wonders of the tropical north.

Brisbane is the fastest growing city in the country and the growth has created a bustling, vibrant atmosphere. It’s blessed with a beautifully warm climate, and you’ll get an immediate sense of being in a tropical oasis walking right downtown. There are elegant winding pathways of pink bougainvillea and exquisite purple blossoms adorning the jacaranda trees scattered around the coastal city. Head to Rainforest Walk in the South Bank Parklands to get a good sense of the city’s floral culture. It houses a variety of tropical species including monstera and many kinds of palms. You can also linger in the South Bank to enjoy the busy nightlife with a variety of fantastic restaurants and shops to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a slower pace and some relaxation, head outside the city centre. Tangalooma Island Resort is a great option. Only an hour from the city via ferry, it feels like you’ve been transported to the Yucatan Peninsula with its turquoise waters and spotless beaches. There’s a lot to do so be sure to stay at least a couple days. You can get your adrenaline kick with ATV rides and a helicopter adventure, or engage with the wildlife with kookaburra sightings and live feedings. A definite highlight is being able to feed wild bottlenose dolphins each evening at sunset. You can scuba dive among shipwrecks off the island. June through October is a great time to likely spot migrating humpback whales. It’s truly a beautiful spot to unwind and relax, offering a nice counterpoint to the bustling city.

Koalas’ diets consist mainly of eucalyptus leaves.

Another hot spot to check out is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s just 20 minutes outside Brisbane by car and home to a wide variety of wildlife, with over 70 species of native Australian animals, including Tasmanian devils and echidnas. Of course, the highlights are the cute, fuzzy koalas, who are in no shortage at this spacious sanctuary. You even have the opportunity to encounter a koala for a photo op. It’s an adorable experience, and I was surprised that the texture of a koala is similar to a cozy wool sweater. The Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast is also a popular stop, and rightfully so, but Lone Pine offers an intimate experience, which makes for a special moment on a trip to Australia.

Brisbane’s fast pace of growth also means there’s always more to see and explore every time you visit. On your next journey through Queensland, give yourself a few days in Brisbane to appreciate its charm. It’s an easy place to stay for a while.

This article was originally published in Vol. 32 of Globetrotting Magazine.

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Gareth Adamson
Gareth Adamson

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