Brisbane Life and Travel Tips
(Brisbane, Queensland - QLD, Australia)
Brisbane, the most important city in Queensland, is divided by the winding Brisbane River, which runs through the centre and edges the South Bank and scenic Riverside Expressway. The river can be crossed in several places, on the Captain Cook Bridge - which links the South East Freeway and the Riverside Expressway, the Victoria Bridge - connecting Melbourne Street with the North Quay area, and the William Jolly Bridge - joining Grey Street and the Kurilpa Point with Saul Street.
The sprawling city of Brisbane has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with many interesting features, world-class shopping centres, superb restaurants, stunning weather and glorious, sandy beaches. Architecture throughout the city is varied, with a number of impressive, historic buildings dating back to the early 19th century, combined with some modern, striking skyscrapers. This appealing mixture of old and new makes the skyline breathtaking, particularly at night when the lights on the tallest buildings are reflected into the water.
The combination of stunning weather, exceptional tourist attractions and superb beaches attracts people from all over the world, throughout the year.
Tourism and Tourist Information
There is a large selection of tourism offices and outlets throughout Brisbane and these provide detailed tourist information, such as brochures, maps of the area and suburbs, attraction information, landmark opening hours, theatre booking and directions.
Brisbane Tourism Centre
Address: City Hall, King George Square, Adelaide Street, Brisbane, Queensland (QLD), 4000, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 3221 8411
The local Tourism Centre is one of the main outlets for general tourist information. With helpful and friendly staff, visitors can pick up useful brochures and arrange guided tours.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 16:30, Saturday - 08:30 to 13:00
Queensland Rail Citytrain Information
Address: Central Train Station, Ann Street, Brisbane, Queensland (QLD), 4000, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 3235 5555
The Queensland Rail Citytrain Information desk is situated at the central train station and provides a wealth of information about train travel in the Brisbane and Queensland area, including train timetables and special offers.
Open hours: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday - 07:00 to 19:00, Tuesday - 07:00 to 22:00
Redcliffe Visitor Information Centre
Address: Hornibrook Esplanade, Clontarf, Brisbane, Queensland (QLD), 4019, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 3284 3500
Situated in Moreton Bay, the Redcliffe Visitor Information Centre is full of important information about attractions, tours and days out in the Redcliffe area.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 16:00
South Bank Visitor Information Centre
Address: Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland (QLD), 4101, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 3867 2051
Located in Brisbane city centre, the South Bank Visitor Information Centre is a useful stop for tourists. Offering invaluable help and advice to ensure that you get the most out of your visit, the South Bank Centre also offers the usual brochures and leaflets, museum opening times and festival information.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 18:00
When travelling in and around Brisbane, as in any large city throughout the world, is it advisable to always maintain an awareness of your surroundings and not look like a tourist. Although crime levels are generally low, try to blend in and be particularly careful with hand baggage, handbags, purses and cash.
Places of Worship
The diverse and cosmopolitan city of Brisbane is home to many different cultures and religious beliefs and most religions have some kind of presence in the area. Many locals are at least nominally Christian in their belief, although this majority has reduced in more recent years. Most Protestant churches in Brisbane have merged to form the Uniting Church, although the Anglican Church of Australia remains a separate entity. Catholic churches in the city are particularly popular, due to a large population with an Irish or Mediterranean background.
Brisbane has two cathedrals, St. Stephen's Cathedral, which is a Catholic church, and St. John's Cathedral, an Anglican church. There are also a number of other religious minorities in the area, such as Buddhists, Jews and Muslims, together with splendid examples of mosques and synagogues.
Pharmacies and Chemists
Most pharmacies and chemists in central Brisbane are open from 08:00 until 20:00 or later and some of the city's pharmacies are now open 24 hours. Pharmacies are run by qualified professionals who are able to dispense prescribed medication and medicines. Visitors are permitted to bring three months' worth of prescription medication with them, although it is sensible to also carry a doctor's certificate to avoid problems at customs.
English is the most commonly spoken language in Brisbane, Queensland and Australia as a whole, although many other nationalities and ethnic cultures are well represented in the multicultural city. Although Australian 'Aussie' accents can be strong, with regional dialects, they are not difficult to understand.
All visitors to Brisbane, Queensland and any other areas of Australia require a visa. Application forms are available from either Australian diplomatic missions overseas or travel agents, where you can either apply in person or by mail. Many travel agents and airlines now also grant on-the-spot Australian visas for up to three months, using the Electronic Travel Authority system (ETA).
New Zealand nationals are the only country not requiring these travel visas, although they do receive a 'special category' visa when arriving at the city of Brisbane.
There are very strict regulations allowing overseas visitors to work in Brisbane and these rules are issued by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). Visitors aged between 18 to 30 from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Malta may be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa, lasting up to 12 months.
Most services in Brisbane don't expect to be tipped, although many porters, waiters and taxi drivers are generally tipped small amounts. Restaurants in Queensland expect a tip of around 10%, to the nearest Australian dollar, in recognition of prompt, courteous service and good food. Generally, no other public service workers expect tipping or gratuities.
Taxes and Refunds
Brisbane has a 10% goods and services tax (GST) which is applied to most items purchased in the city, although fresh food produce can be exempt. If you purchase goods with a total value of more than AUD 300 from a single supplier, you can claim a full refund of the tax within 28 days. Cheque refunds are available at Brisbane Airport in designated booths.
Smoking in Brisbane is not allowed in any public buildings, restaurants, outdoor areas, sporting arenas and also not on Australian public transport. When in Brisbane, it is sensible not to smoke in enclosed spaces unless others around you are also smoking. Many locals are now anti-smoking so it is advisable to ask first before lighting up.
Invitations to Eat
Much business is done over the dinner table in Brisbane and throughout Queensland. Business lunches are often held at restaurants in the city centre and this is a popular way to conduct business. Most restaurants should be booked in advance, as many quickly get fully booked for both lunch and dinner.
Brisbane has an enormous selection of public houses and wine bars, often specialising in Australian wines and lagers. With a wide range of lively pubs and bars in the heart of the city centre, many with spectacular views of the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, most are friendly and enjoyable places to unwind.