Southbank Brisbane, A Downtown City Playground


Southbank Brisbane, or more formally South Bank Parklands, is located on the Brisbane river.  It is a downtown beach and pleasure area made for sunny summer days and, in Australia, that's most of the year.

With its man-made beach, warm lagoon and many other tourist attractions nearby, this park has all that the beachgoer needs right in the city.

Built on the area once used for the World Expo '88 this area south of the river is full of great things to see and do.

However they can be missed if you don't know they're there or are distracted by the beautiful beach.

There's an Information Center in the Stanley Street Plaza and lots of helpful maps located around the area to help you make the most of your time in the park. 

As with most things in and around the Central Business District or CBD, the Parklands are easiest to get to by Brisbane transport. There are terminals for the CityCat and City Ferry, as well as the Cultural Centre and bus terminals.

South Bank and South Brisbane train stations are also within easy walking distance.

If you're already in the CBD then a short walk across the Goodwill or Victoria Bridges will take you into the parklands.

There are also three underground parking lots which are available at different prices.

A day or two in South Bank can also be a cheap, fun, active way to spend your time in the city.

Southbank Brisbane is also close to two of the city's sports centres, the Gabba and the Queensland Tennis Centre, so it's a good place to stay if you're visiting for a cricket, footy, or tennis event.

Southbank Brisbane, lagoon and beach

© Kevin Gibbons | Flickr.com - South Bank Beach

The beach and lagoon are a favorite hangout for the people of Brisbane. It's a bit of the beach in the heart of the city. Both beach and lagoon are man-made and kept spotlessly clean by the city.

And because the lagoon is not directly connected to the river the water is not only clean, it's free from wild creatures too, a sort of 'natural' swimming pool.

One of the newer tourist attractions in the park is the Wheel of Brisbane. The 60 metre Ferris Wheel give spectacular views over the CBD and Southbank Brisbane areas as well as out to the suburbs on clear days.

Southbank Brisbane, wheel and citycat terminal

© Kevin Gibbons | Flickr.com - South Bank Beach

It was built in August 2008 and was intended to remain for 2 years until moving on to its next location. It's still there today. The 15 minute ride is around $20 for an adult. Child and family prices are available. 

The South Bank Arbour is a great way to check out the area and the people in it. 

Southbank Brisbane, flowery arbour

© J Brew | Flickr.com - South Bank Arbor

This bougainvillea covered walk goes throughout the entire South Bank area and goes past all the major attractions and eateries. The bougainvillea climbs around artful support beams and is constantly flowering in a delightful purple color. 

Southbank Brisbane, Nepalese temple

© Richard Fisher| Flickr.com - South Bank Nepalese Peace Pagodas

One of the main attractions left over from the World Expo of 1988 is the Nepalese Peace Pagoda. One of only three Nepalese Peace Pagodas outside of Nepal it required over 80 tonnes of Nepalese timber and over 150 Nepalese families to build the components which were then shipped to Australia.

Each of the temple's three levels contains a different space. There is a meditation level, a tea house, and now, a display of pictures and artifacts from the Expo.

Originally, the plan had been to remove the pagoda once the Expo was finished. However the people of Brisbane loved the pavilion so much they petitioned to keep it in the city.

Farther down the river from Southbank Brisbane, near the Goodwill bridge, see picture below, is where you'll find the Queensland Maritime Museum. Many of Brisbane's festivals take place in the park, for example Buddha's Birthday and the Brisbane Festival.

Southbank Brisbane, Goodwill Bridge

© Brisbane Walkabout| Flickr.com - View of the Goodwill Bridge From South Bank

With all those visitors, there has to be somewhere to eat and the area has a host of cafes and restaurants to suit every taste and occasion.

Our recommended spots can be found here and we encourage you to try them all and make your own list. Also close by is the Cultural Centre, including QPAC, Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery.



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