Have you ever ridden a scooter? Scooter is getting popular these days, and I am going to share with you why Brisbane is a great place to do so.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and it is the third largest city in Australia behind Melbourne and Sydney. It has a population of 2.6 million with a proximity to several major travel destinations including Gold Coast and Sunny Coast. Every year, tourists flock to the beaches through Brisbane, and the city is quickly emerging with a strong population and economic growth in the last decade.
For a week in Brisbane, I got to experience the pleasant weather and the beautiful cityscape on a scooter. While e-scooter sharing could be new to some travelers, e-scooters are a nice cool way to experience a new city. Stay tuned and I will explain a little more about how to explore the best highlights of Brisbane with an e-scooter.
Why Brisbane is a great city to explore on an e-scooter?
E-scooter sharing is now becoming more readily available in many cities in Europe, Australia, and North America. While some cities eventually ban them for safety and other issues, two service providers have set up operations in Brisbane. I don’t know if these companies are making a profit from their operations, I had a great experience with their scooter anyway.
Why? First of all, Brisbane is a dynamic city with a scale that is neither too big nor too small. It has a decent CBD and infrastructure, but it is not overwhelming to first-timers. Brisbane has almost 200 universities and community colleges, and over 75,000 international students. There are 54 parks, hundreds of galleries, and over 1,000 restaurants.
Talking about infrastructure, Brisbane is a very walkable and bike-friendly city, all the roads are well-paved with plenty of bike lanes – in other words, it is easy and safe to get around Brisbane on a scooter. A relatively small population makes navigating the city on a scooter freer. Third, Brisbane is named “the River City” with a winding Brisbane River, 334 kilometers long, passing through the city center.
Brisbane River leads to the largest sandy island in the world, Moreton Island. The city is connected by plenty of bridges, and this body of water gives the city rooms that technically anywhere by the water is a scenic viewpoint. Hop on a scooter, and I travel through the Story Bridge on my scooter and I enjoy a gorgeous on both sides of the river.
Lastly, Brisbane is in Queensland, it has a relatively warm and sunny weather. Brisbane is the sunniest place in Australia with over 273 hours of sunshine in its sunniest month. Having said that, travelers can simply hop on a scooter anytime and explore the city without worrying too much about rain.
On top of everything that I have just said, the city is also served by Kitty Cat (and City Cat), Kitty Cats is a free CityHopper for cross-river travel.
It is a wonderful complement to the e-scooter to get around Brisbane. Now, let’s find out the highlights and the best things to see and do in Brisbane.
South Bank, Scooter on Clem Jones Promenade
South Bank is Brisbane’s center for entertainment, leisure, culture, and recreation. South Bank is in a premier location right across the CBD by the river, and it is a cluster of tourist attractions. Visitors may need a couple of days to fully experience what South Bank has to offer.
First off, Streets Beach is a man-made beach in the city center that’s truly one-of-a-kind. It’s the only inner-city beach in Australia, and arguably in the world. The man-made beach boasts a blue lagoon surrounded by white, sandy beaches, sub-tropical plants, and skyscrapers that are soaring like bamboo by the river. It is an oasis of the city and the locals like to take a break and to get some sun any time of the week.
For family visitors, there are two aquatic spaces next to the beach – the Boat Pool and Activity. The Streets Beach is open to the public and free, everyone is welcome to just hop by and lie down as they please.
Usually, the beach is quieter and less crowded early in the morning, all the actions take place in the afternoon, but there is nothing wrong with just having a chilling moment by the beach in the evening, too.
Because there are plenty of bars and restaurants, right by the beach along Grey Street. Mexican, Turkish, Vietnamese, American… there are plenty of choices and my advice? Just go to the ones that are crowded, we ventured into a Turkish restaurant with Turkish cuisine that is pretty tasty.
If you are in South Bank over the weekend, the Collective Markets opens every Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday, showcasing an exciting range of local arts, crafts, homewares, and fashion.
On the other side of Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center, a number of vibrant cafes can be found on Melbourne Street and Vulture Street, including the famous Lune Criossanterie, Kürtősh, Picnic Café, Lokal + Co, Cordelia Sourdough Bakehouse, and Morning After. Check out the map guide and have a sip of coffee while exploring the parks and galleries in the area.
For family visitors, There are five facilities located at the north end of the South Bank Embankment. The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), State Library of Queensland, Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), Queensland Museum, and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are commonly known as QAGOMA, and they are two art galleries that are adjacent to each other.
These galleries feature a collection of over 20,000 pieces of artwork from Australian and worldwide artists, and the main building, QAG, is the main building with free access to stunning paintings, and historic items in the Asian Art and Australian Art sections. The Indigenous Australia art collection is unique and special to visitors alike. GOMA is the new wing, hosting contemporary and installation art pieces with their themed temporary exhibitions. Like when I was there, the gallery showed artworks that were made around the title “Air”.
Queensland Museum is the state’s museum that celebrates the stories of Queensland. It has coverage from prehistoric times to recent development and discovery.
The topics in their exhibitions can be so broad that is a great place for family visitors to learn and to inspire. I am sure that kids will have a great time learning all about history and science through their information, and interesting and interactive exhibits. I was already impressed when I saw the T-Rex on top of the museum and with all the fun facts about the dinosaurs found in this land.
Scooter on Clem Jones Promenade
South Bank is a wonderful area to explore with an e-scooter. The Clem Jones Promenade is a 4-kilometer out-and-back trail along the Riverside Green, it is a leisure pedestrian zone that offer space for both riders and walkers. The Park land feature free inner-city beach, walking trails, picnic area, cultural facilities.
Walk along the parklands of South Bank visitors can enjoy a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane to appreciate the rapidly changing city skyline. The wheel was built in 2008 as part of the 20th anniversary of the World Expo 88, and the 150th anniversary of the State of Queensland.
The wheel rises to 60 meters high and it’s a striking landmark on the South Bank that can be seen from various spots in the park.
Each rotation on the wheel takes about 15 minutes and the ticket includes 4 rotations.
To the end of South Bank by the Goodwill Bridge, Queensland Maritime Museum is one of the largest maritime museums in Australia and the site showcases historic vessels of various shapes and sizes.
The museum was founded in 1971. The museum today is based on the “Pavilion of Promise” at World Expo 88, and visitors can have a walk on the Brisbane dry dock to see the impressive vessels in the early 19th century.
Eat Street Northshore
Eat Street Northshore is a popular venue for the locals to have a great time and a night out. It was in Hamilton as a container wharf in the past, and then it was fashionably transformed with food stalls, and live music, featuring international street eats and beer.
While it is not located in the city center, ask any local guys and they will be happy to recommend Eat Street Northshore. There are about 30 stalls offering cuisines from all over the world – from the East to the West. Try the Funnel Cake as the dancing troupe prepares the delicacy. The best way to go there is by taking CityCat to the Northshore Hamilton ferry terminal.
New Farm, Scooter on New Farm Riverwalk
New Farm is a short distance away from the city center in the west, and the Powerhouse is a cultural space for performing arts. The site is a former power station and it is now a popular venue for different kinds of functions and events, like weddings. If you are interested in having the full experience, go to a concert or a show. For a day trip, enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal by the river and then explore the New Farm Park.
Scooter on New Farm Riverwalk
Away from the river, there are plenty of cafes and stores along the James Street in the suburbs. It’s a rather quiet area to get around with an e-scooter. The end of Merthyr Road connects to the New Farm Riverwalk, a water highway for pedestrians and cyclists that leads to Brisbane. The riverwalk is about 870 meters long, yet it is build on water with dedicated roadways for cyclists and pedestrians, with a gorgeous view of the Brisbane CBD and the Story Bridge.
Story Bridge, Scooter on City Reach Boardwalk
Story Bridge is Brisbane’s landmark for being a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge across the Brisbane River. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia, and there is a pedestrian path on both sides of the bridge that allows the e-scooter to pass through. It is a wonderful experience to do so because it offers an amazing view of the city!
Scooter on City Reach Boardwalk
The bridge is in the middle of the City Reach Boardwalk and New Farm Riverwalk. Along the river there are plenty of bars and restaurants. For the section of City Reach Boardwalk extends to the City Botanic Gardens.
The Customs House is a beautiful historic restaurant with a terrace, serving modern Australian cuisine.
Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens Lookout, Scooter on Bicentennial Bikeway
Mt Coot-tha is the best place to get close to nature in Brisbane. Entry to the gardens is free, and the gardens have several special features. The Mt Coot-tha Lookout has sweeping views of the city, Moreton Bay, North, and South Stradbroke islands, and the southern ranges. It provides a spectacular view of the city during the day or a fairyland of lights at night.
There are a couple of spots to explore like the tropical display dome, Fern House, Bonsai House, Japanese Garden, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, and Mt Coot-tha Library.
After heavy rain, the creeks and waterfalls in Mt Coot-tha Forest are spectacular with waterfalls. If you have more time, take a walk on one of the popular walking tracks like the summit track. The track takes about 30 minutes and leads from the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area to Mt Coot-tha Lookout. The Mahogany Trail is a 2.6-kilometer-long trail that starts at JC Slaughter Falls picnic area winding its way through a beautiful open eucalyptus forest, providing city glimpses on the way to the popular Mt Coot-tha Lookout.
It forms a 4.5-kilometer circuit walk when combined with the Summit Track and also allows access to the Citriodora Trail that connects through to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha.
Scooter on Bicentennial Bikeway
Bicentennial Bikeway is my favourite in Brisbane – it’s a 4.8 kilometer off-road pathway from Toowong to the Brisbane CBD. The path offers a safe space for pedestrians, cyclists and scooters to quickly reach the CBD, South Bank, and even New Farm. The path is well-paved, with smooth asphalt. It’s an important transport connection. Head to the Toowong Memorial Park and enjoy a fabulous brunch at Pitch and Fork before heading to Mt Coot-tha.
There are six bridges connecting Brisbane CBD to the other side of the River. The Story Bridge is the historic one; the Captain Cook Bridge is the highway; the Goodwill and Kurilpa Bridges are walking bridges; and the Victoria Bridge and William Jolly Bridge are in the north of the South Bank. The Neville Bonner Bridge is the latest addition in honor of the first indigenous member of the Parliament of Australia.
Among the modern-day skyscrapers, there are a couple of historic landmarks in the CBD. For example, the magnificent Treasury Casino and Hotel Brisbane are across the Victoria Bridge. It was a beautiful heritage converted into one of the most luxurious hotels in the city.
The Brisbane City Hall and its clock tower are a stone’s throw away and the monument is free to the general public. The building itself is a heritage-listed building with a neo-classical facade, mosaic tiles, stained-glass windows, and soaring ceilings.
The City Hall is known as the “People’s Place”, and it was constructed between 1920 and 1930. It was the second-largest construction project at that time in Australia after the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Check out the impressive auditorium, the design took inspiration from Rome’s Pantheon and hosted rock stars and royalty. It is also home to Father Henry Willis and Sons Pipe Organ, made up of nearly 4,400 pipes. This instrument is one of only two of its kind in the world, and it is still playing an integral role in events today. The Museum of Brisbane in the City Hall brings vibrant art, culture, and history to life. It is on the 4th floor and there are exhibitions, workshops, tours, talks, and special events.
Brisbane Central Train Station is located on the North Coast line in Queensland, Australia. It is a principal station on the City network. It was built in 1889 and the elegant building still functions on Ann Street. It is opposite Anzac Square a heritage-listed town square and war memorial located between Ann Street and Adelaide Street.
Queen Street Mall, lastly, is where all the commercial activities take place. It’s the most popular pedestrian mall with more than 500 retailers from home-grown talent, designer stores, and international labels.