Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brisbane's City Sights 'hop-on, hop-off' bus

Like most cities and tourist destinations, Brisbane has its own hop-on, hop-off buses - City Sights.

With the help of your on board driver/tour guide, they are a good way to see some of the sights of Brisbane, both in the CBD area and a little beyond. The buses depart every 45 minutes from Post Office Square on Queen Street in the CBD (opposite the GPO between Edward and Creek Street - STOP 1 is the photo above).

One day pass costs (as of April, 2012):

Adult: $35
Concession/Child: $20 (Australian Pension cards, full-time students and children aged 5 to 14 years inclusive)
Family $80: (comprising five passengers in any combination, with a maximum of two adults)

Tickets can be purchased from the driver with cash, EFTPOS, or credit card (Visa and Mastercard only). City Sights tickets are only valid on the tour bus and CityCat services.

If you stay on the bus and don't get off, one 'circuit' takes around 1 hr, 20 mins. And there are some great places to get off and spend some time. In fact, looking at the City Sights map, most of the stops are worth spending some time at.

If you arrive on a cruise ship at Portside and are in Brisbane for the day, a nice way of getting to the City Sights departure point at Post Office Square is to get the City Cat from Bretts Wharf, a few hundred metres from Portside. The City Cat will take you up the Brisbane River to Eagle Street, where you can get off and walk 300 - 400 metres to the City Sights departure point.

NOTE - while your City Sights tour ticket includes travel on the City Cat services, if you do get the City Cat from Bretts Wharf to the city, you can't buy a City Sights tour ticket on the City Cat.

I have discovered that this post runs slowly if viewed on Internet Explorer. It's best viewed on Google Chrome or Firefox (not as fast as Chrome).

STOP 2 - City Hall with King George Square in front.
STOP 3 - Treasury housed in the Queensland state government's
'old' Treasury building and is located at the top of the Queen Street Mall.

(STOP 3 also) - The Commissariat...built in part by convicts.
STOP 4 - The Riverside Centre...houses Brisbane's Stock Exchange
and has Sunday markets.
STOP 5 - The Windmill...this was the first industrial building in Brisbane, built by convicts in 1828.
STOP 6 - Spring Hill...inner-city and lots of workers cottages in the traditional 'Queenslander' style.
More Queenslander-style residences.
The Roma Street Parkland (see STOP 7) borders the Spring Hill stop on the City Sights tour.
This is the top of the parkland, which has an amphitheatre (visible in shot).
STOP 7 - Roma Street Parkland...16 hectares of gardens and water features right next to the CBD.
The buildings in foreground are residential apartments, the buildings
in the distance are the edge of the CBD.
STOP 8 - The Brisbane Transit Centre, facing on to Roma Street and home to Roma Street railway station,
the Roma Street Bus Station (council buses) and a coach terminal for long-haul bus journeys.
Brisbane Transit Centre, from the back (photo taken at one of the entries to the Roma Street Parklands).
A commuter train leaves Roma Street railway station and a council bus enters
the Roma Street bus station via one of the network of busways in Brisbane.
STOP 9 - The statue of the 'Emperor', Wally Lewis, stands outside Suncorp Stadium (formerly known as Lang Park).
Most, if not all, Queenslanders, regard Wally Lewis to be the greatest rugby league player of them all.
Many of those south of the border i.e. New South Wales, might beg to differ.
STOP 10 - Mt Coot-tha (Brisbane lookout)...great views of the city and surrounds.
What a view?! Mt Coot-tha...Kuta Cafe (& Gifts), part of the Brisbane lookout and where you can
get a great meal at quite an affordable price, with one of the best views in town.
Next to the Kuta Cafe is the Summit Restaurant, which is a bit more 'upmarket' than the Kuta Cafe.
Kuta Cafe - Chicken & Pumpkin Salad w mixed leaves, feta ,toasted almonds & a creamy dressing - $13.50 
Kuta Cafe - Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich, smoky bacon, lettuce & roma tomatoes
on toasted sourdough served w golden chips $14.90
w Avocado  add 2.00
w cheese  add 1.00
STOP 11 - The Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha, open 7 days.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens - Japanese Garden.

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If you'd like to know how to turn your images into visual stories, I've published a book that takes a whole new slant on photography and 'translates' the art of taking photos into a language we all understand.

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***I use all the tips and hints from my book in every photo I take, including those in Travel With Giulio.

*     *     *     *     *

STOP 12 - The Regatta Hotel...Heritage listed hotel (pub) that was built in 1874.
I've had to use a file photo because the Regatta was flooded during the Brisbane floods
of January 2011 and, as of March 2012, it's still in the throes of being renovated.
(Photo: Flickr/jemasmith)
STOP 13 - Park of Brisbane's original cafe 'strips' (many say it is the original).
You can quite easily walk to the city along the Coronation Drive walkway (photo below).

While it's not on the City Sights tour, the Coronation Drive walkway (and bikeway) is easily
accessible from Park Rd (and the Regatta hotel) and you can walk all the way into the city and South Bank.
STOP 14 - Cultural Centre...the hub of the Arts.
Above is the Qld Art Gallery and the Museum, with the Sciencentre hidden away next to the Museum.
The Cultural Centre is not just one building. Lined up in a row along the Brisbane River are (in no particular order):

The Sciencentre 
The Queensland Performing Arts Centre, housing the Lyric Theatre, the Concert Hall,
the Playhouse and the Cremorne Theatre.
The State Library of Queensland.
The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).
STOP 15 - South Bank...42 hectares of parks, water features, cafes and restaurants...and Australia's
only beach in the middle of the city! All directly opposite the Brisbane CBD and
next to the Performing Arts Centre buildings.
Walk by the Brisbane River and through South Bank.
The Nepalese Pagoda, one of the many attractions at South Bank.
Australia's only beach in the middle of the city!
I have always been wary of taking photos here, as there's usually a lot of
children around, so we've 'borrowed' this photo from Trip Trumpet (thank you!).

STOP 16 - (Queensland) Maritime Museum
Located at the far end of South Bank from the city.
STOP 17 - City Lookout on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs...
spectacular panoramic views of the city and beyond. Get the camera ready!
The Kangaroo Point Cliff park - the Cliffs Cafe (see next photo) is just beyond the sculpture.
Get a table at the Cliffs Cafe and soak up the view!
STOP 18 - Chinatown...located in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.
Fortitude Valley comes alive on the weekend, especially...good nightlife and  live music/arts scene!
Lots of restaurants, Chinese and otherwise, too! 

STOP 19 (end of tour) - ANZAC Square...dedicated to Australia's military heritage.
Set in peaceful surrounds in the centre of the Brisbane CBD,
the Cenotaph (far left) houses the eternal flame.

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The City Cat service isn't officially a part of the City Sights tour but your ticket will get you access
to this great service that runs every 15 minutes or so and is a different way of seeing Brisbane.

As mentioned earlier, the City Sights tour is a great way to see some of the sights of Brisbane you may not see if you 'went it alone'. The fact your ticket gets you onto the City Cat service is an added bonus.

Enjoy your time in Brisbane. While it is my home and I might be biased, it is a great city. Hopefully you will get to experience some of this on the City Sights tour.

Ciao for now,

*If you went on the City Sights tour as a result of this post, please tell me -

*To see more posts about accommodation, dining, and/or things to do in Brisbane and SE Qld, visit HERE.

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Photos & text by Giulio Saggin (unless otherwise stated)
© Use of photos/text must be via written permission

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