With a perfect climate to complement world-class conference and meeting facilities, it's no wonder that Brisbane rates as the world's 6th best business destination, according to The Economist Magazine. Over the last 20 years, Brisbane has experienced enormous economic, population and cultural growth, and it's impossible to miss the taste of optimism in the air. As the gateway to Australia's most popular tourist attraction, the Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane has excellent transportation links, with the non-curfew international airport just a 20-minute drive from both the central business district and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
As a large component of the impressive South Bank cultural redevelopment, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre has become the envy of other world cities. Built on three levels, the centre is home to the 4,000- to 8,000-capacity Great Hall, four exhibition rooms totaling almost 20,000 square meters, a wide variety of meeting rooms and a ballroom, as well as fully integrated in-house services. The Centre's expansion, known as BCEC on Grey Street, has added 20 new meeting rooms. The centre is adjacent to two major hotels and within easy walking distance of 27 more. Its prime location downtown also lends easy walking access to many of the city's cultural hotspots including the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the multi-faceted Queensland Cultural Centre.
Want to impress guests with a really special venue? Look no further than Brisbane's 30 unique venues. For a venue seeped in prestige and sumptuousness, why not try the Brisbane City Hall? Set amid a backdrop of sweeping marble staircases, mosaic floors and glittering chandeliers, City Hall will provide an unforgettable function for 20 to 1,500 guests. Alternatively, the XXXX Ale House offers a wonderfully historic venue decorated with copper and wood brewing kettles and catering for events for 80 to 350 people. Or, get outside and enjoy some of that famous Queensland sunshine. South Bank's 13 versatile and dynamic venues include Streets inner city beach and Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary, which can cater for between 10 and 10,000 guests.
As Queensland's capital, Brisbane is the seat of government and commerce in the region. Brisbane's port, as part of Australia TradeCoast, is Australia's fastest-growing economic development area. Queensland's government has invested major resources in developing technology and science industries in Brisbane and the city is home to the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology. The city is the regional home to numerous international and national companies including DHL and Asia Pacific Aerospace.
Sun-drenched days and sultry evenings set the scene for this gorgeous sub-tropical city where the idyllic climate leads to an al fresco, happy-go-lucky lifestyle envied by the rest of Australia. Settled in 1825 as a British penal colony, it's impossible to imagine what the prisoners would think of lively and cosmopolitan Brisbane today. Ever since 1859 when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony and Brisbane was chosen as its capital, population growth has been steady, with the exception of a spike during World War II when hundreds of thousands of troops arrived in Brisbane to defend Australia. Today this heavenly metropolis is home to 1.86 million people and is Australia's fastest growing city.
Brisbane, known locally as Brissy, is the 3rd largest city in Australia and can be found reclining around two great loops of the Brisbane River in the southeast corner of Queensland. The cultural heart of the city is the breathtaking South Bank redevelopment. Attracting over 11 million visitors a year, South Bank is a cultural smorgasbord, with attractions such as the Queensland Art Gallery, the Performing Arts Complex and the Queensland Museum. Nestled among these grand buildings are pedestrianized plazas and walkways, stylish restaurants and bars, and, surrounding the area, the luscious green backdrop of South Bank Parklands, which run for over half a mile alongside the river. The Parklands' centerpiece, and its most distinctive attraction, is Streets Beach. Take a break from the heat at this artificial beach with real sand that curves through the park and opens into a lagoon overlooking Brisbane River and the gleaming skyscrapers of the central business district.
Downtown Brisbane is a wonderful assortment of the old and new. Majestic historic buildings including the gothic revival cathedral of St. Stephen and Parliament Building blend seamlessly with modern architectural triumphs such as the Riverside Centre. Explore the city and indulge in Queensland's best shopping in the Queen Street Mall and Little Stanley Street before checking out the boho chic suburb of Fortitude Valley. Once in "The Valley," choose from a sumptuous array of restaurants serving award-winning cuisine and wines, such as the super stylish Cru Bar & Cellar, or enjoy a cocktail at one of many venues overlooking the river.
Brisbane's buzzing nightlife captivates visitors, but they should be cautioned against staying up too late, as they won't want to miss out on the numerous daytime attractions found in this gateway to outdoor adventure. Watch the sun rise floating over the city on a hot air balloon, cuddle a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or take a refreshing wilderness walk in Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. Whatever visitors to Brisbane choose to do, they will definitely enjoy the city's philosophy on life, which is simply to enjoy it, usually in the sunshine over an icy cold drink.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers, mild winters and an average of seven hours sunshine each day. The average temperature in the summer months of November to February is 30°C (86°F). The average temperature for the winter months of March to September is 15°C (59°F).
The rainy season runs from late December to March, bringing thunderstorms and occasional hail, and the average annual rainfall is about 946 millimeters (94 cm). Humidity hovers around 50 percent all year. With such a consistent mild climate, the best months to visit are March and October.
Brisbane Airport (BNE)
Approximate taxi fare: $34.48 AUD
Brisbane Airport has an international terminal, a domestic terminal and one runway, with another under construction as part of an AU$1 billion expansion plan, due for completion in 2015. The airport operates without a curfew and has direct connections to 26 international destinations. Easily accessible by various modes of transportation, the airport is located just 20 minutes by car from downtown Brisbane along the Gateway Motorway.
With an exquisite range of places to shop and eat, Brisbane Airport is as much a destination as a major transport center. Travelers can spend time browsing an exciting range of shops selling anything from Australiana and Aboriginal artifacts to books, magazines, surf wear, chocolate, jewelry, DVDs and sunglasses. A number of cafes and restaurants serving a delicious range of food and drinks line the terminals, including Aromas, a Brisbane institution, where patrons can enjoy great coffee, tea, beer or wine as they chose from a delectable selection of meals, sandwiches or cakes. For a fresh juice to enliven the senses of weary travelers, the Luscious Juice Bar offers a fine range of juice cocktails, smoothies and healthy snacks.
Other airport services provide currency, travel and accommodation advice. Short-term, long-term and valet parking is available.
Airline carriers serving Brisbane Airport
The Roma Street Transit Centre is the major hub for all long and short distance buses and trains. Citytrain, the urban rail network, comprises 10 suburban lines that cover the west, north and east sides of the city. Citytrain also manages the Airtrain service in conjunction with Brisbane Airport, which runs every 15 to 30 minutes from the city to the airport. The Airtrain costs AU$13 for a single trip and takes about 20 minutes. Citytrain services generally run Monday through Sunday from 5 to 1 AM.
Brisbane public transportation is excellent and simple to use. Translink operates an integrated ticketing system, which works on a zone system for all trains, buses and ferries. There are 23 zones in total, but the city center and most of the inner city suburbs are located within Zone 1. For access to public transportation more than once in a day, travelers can purchase a daily ticket, which allows unlimited transport on trains, buses and ferries. A Zone 1 single ticket costs AU$2.30 and is valid for two hours across all forms of public transportation. A Zone 1 daily ticket costs AU$4.60.
Citybus operates regular services from the city to the suburbs and is a convenient way to travel around town. The Cityxpress services and Rockets, which are fast peak-hour commuter buses, offer even quicker transport. Buses generally operate Monday through Friday from 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 7 AM to 6:30 PM. A free bus loop, which circles the city area stopping at Queen Street Mall, City Hall, Central Station and Riverside, runs Monday through Friday every 10 minutes from 7 AM to 6 PM.
Due to Brisbane's geography alongside the curving Brisbane River, ferries are often the best, as well as the most enjoyable, means of travel. The fast blue CityCat catamaran travels between the University of Queensland in the southwest to Apollo Road in the northeast with stops at North Quay, South Bank, Riverside and New Farm Park. It runs daily every 30 minutes from 5:30 to 12:40 AM. The Inner City Ferries zigzag back and forth across the river and generally operate daily every 10 minutes from 6 to 12:30 AM.
Rental car companies Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Red Spot and Thrifty operate at Brisbane Airport. Rental car customer service desks are located on level 2 at the international terminal.
Taxis are numerous in Brisbane and guests should have no difficulty in flagging one down. Fares start at AU$2.50 and increase at a rate of AU$1.74 per kilometer. Guests should expect a taxi fare of around AU$33 from the city to the airport.
Photo Credit : Tourism Queensland
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