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At the meeting point of Australia’s Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, laid-back Brisbane is spread around the meandering river running through it. The river’s artsy South Bank is home to Australia’s largest modern art gallery, tranquil gardens and an artificial beach. Just across the river is the towering skyline of Brisbane's central business district, the location of many hotels in central Brisbane.
Nearby are the botanic gardens and Queen Street Mall, the most popular Brisbane shopping spot. There are more shopping centers all over the city, and the out-of-town malls include one in the Indooroopilly suburb by the foothills of Mount Coot-tha.
This green hill offers fabulous city views and has a planetarium, nature reserve and yet more botanic gardens. In Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to the south, you can hug one of the lovable animals, while Australia Zoo – Steve Irwin’s legacy – is a good day trip.
Brisbane is a very leafy city and one of its parks, Wickham Park, contains the Old Windmill, Brisbane’s oldest building. To the northeast, the Fortitude Valley suburb is known for its vibrant music scene and Chinatown. Across the river in Woolloongabba is The Gabba or Brisbane Cricket Ground, and nearby is the bohemian West End district.
Accommodation Georgetown has plenty of downtown hotels, and other accommodations near Brisbane Airport in a northeastern coastal suburb.