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The secrets of my city: Brisbane

Story Bridge Brisbane
Brisbane's Story Bridge by sunset.

The best way to explore any new city is with the benefit of local knowledge. As our series on secret spots continues, we asked people who've moved to Brisbane from across the globe to share their insider knowledge. Here are their favourite places.

Scenery and swimming

Brisbane at night, viewed from across the river
Looking at Brisbane City from across the Brisbane river.

Flickr CC: Sam Petherbridge

Julia is from Vietnam and has lived in Brisbane for four years. She’s currently finishing her PhD at Griffith Film School, and loves Brisbane’s scenery and views.

Julia with her bike among the Jacaranda trees.
Julia with her bike among the Jacaranda trees.


“Travelling by ferry (City Cat) along Brisbane river is excellent," she says. "I can see the most splendid views of a modern city with a lot of peaceful green trees and parks. I easily fell in love with the Queenslander white wooden houses, too. Jacaranda season (early October to late November) makes the river and city gorgeous.”

As an avid swimmer, Julia says she appreciates the city’s warm weather, and many options for swimming.

“I did swim in the Brisbane river with some local Australian swimmers near Wivenhoe pocket road. It was was so exciting. Then scary. I read the news about bull sharks swimming in the river!”

Although there is a population of bull sharks in the Brisbane River, they don't venture as far as lake Wivenhoe, where Julia was swimming, so she was entirely safe. But her swimming adventures extend beyond Brisbane, too.

“From Brisbane, we can drive about 80 minutes to Tweed Heads and go offshore snorkeling or scuba diving," she says. "My city is not far from warm beaches at Sunshine Coast, either."

“Studying, living and swimming here – it’s lots of fun."

My suburb, Newstead

Street art showing a girl blowing bubbles, painted on a wall in Newstead, Brisbane
Street art in Newstead.

Flickr CC: criswa

Febianca is an architect and she left Auckland, New Zealand, about six years ago to move to Brisbane.

Febianca at a cafe


While she also loves the Brisbane River, Febianca says the suburb she’s made her home is has made the biggest impression.

“My favorite place in Brisbane is the suburb I'm living in called Newstead.

“It's the most vibrant but yet cozy place in Brisbane. It offers suburban lifestyle with convenience of an inner-city location. The suburb provides you access to beautiful New Farm Park and riverside walkways or bike paths if you need some solitude. But it also gives you lots of trendy and hot places to hang out such bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.”

She says it’s also close to cultural and entertainment venues.

“It's special for me because I live here. Or more precisely, I should say, I live here because I think it's a special place.”

South Bank

The Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank
The Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank.

Flickr CC: Richard Fisher

Adrianova moved to Brisbane in 2014, from her home in Nicaragua. She says Brisbane’s recreational precinct, South Bank is by far her favourite place.



“It was one of the first places I visited when I first arrived and I instantly fell in love with it,” Adrianova says. “It is the perfect place for leisure. It has many restaurants, a movie theatre with the biggest screen in Brisbane, a wheel similar to the one in London, as well as places for having barbecues, walking the dog, riding your bike and even for swim!

“The artificial beaches are what make South Bank unique if you ask me. It is like escaping to the beach in the middle of the city.

“South Bank is the place I take anyone who pays me a visit in Brisbane, and they all love it. If you come to Brisbane, South Bank is a must!”

Brisbane Lookout at Mt Coot-tha

View of the city from the Brisbane Lookout at Mt Coot-tha Reserve
The Brisbane Lookout at Mt Coot-tha Reserve.

Dannicah is originally from Samoa, and she moved to Brisbane in 2013 to study.

Dannicah feeding kangaroos
Dannicah feeding kangaroos.


“The Brisbane Lookout at Mt Coot-tha is my all-time favourite,” she says. “I’ve visited twice since I have been here and the view of Brisbane is breathtaking.”

“It is a must see for those who are visiting as it is one of the best places to take memorable photos. During night time, the view gets even better as Brisbane lights up."

But it’s not only the views that have captured Dannicah’s interest.

“The Mt-Coot-tha Botanic garden is like a living museum of enchanted forest and tropical plants,” she says.“You can also enjoy lunch or dinner with families and friends at the cafe and restaurant on spot.”

“The Brisbane Lookout at Mt-Cootha is special to me because this place was my first experience when I arrived in Brisbane. The feeling of being away from home was not easy but seeing this view of Brisbane meant so much. It meant that it is such a blessing being able to study here, and Brisbane is home to me.”

West End Markets

Stalls displaying produce at the West End Markets in Davies Park
Produce at the West End Markets in Davies Park.

Flickr CC: Rae Allen

Milly moved to Brisbane about six years ago, from her hometown of Hervey Bay which is about three-hours drive along the Queensland coast.

Milly and Darcie at the West End Markets in Brisbane
Milly and Darcie.


She says her favourite thing to do in Brisbane is to visit the West End Markets in Davies Park.

“There are a number of stalls ranging from fresh produce and delicious cooked food to jewellery, clothing and arts and crafts," Milly says. "Everyone is so open and lovely.”

“There is no better way to start your weekend than sitting by the river, listening to some live music and sipping on a mint julep.”

The people of Brisbane

People dance at Brisbane's multicultural festival
People dance at Brisbane's multicultural festival.

Flickr CC: Wenxiong Zhang

Albert is a student who moved from Nairobi in Kenya to Brisbane in 2014.

Albert with friends
Albert with friends.


“I believe every city has its own personality,” Albert says. “I think Brisbane has a really strong city personality that makes it unique and attracts people from all walks of life, who, through their varying views and cultural backgrounds contribute to the city's positive culture and personality.”

Albert says he loves Brisbane’s weather, and the city continues to surprise him. But the thing he loves above all is the people.

“I happen to be a people person," he says. "So meeting new people from all walks of life, that transcends distance and cultural values and is special to me because it expands on my way of thinking and keeps me open to positive change as well as knowledge.

What I am learning from Brisbane and its people is an experience that is very special to me.”

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