Brisbane seems smaller and more laid back than it actually is. Australia’s 3rd largest city, Brisbane will reach a population of 2.5 million this year. It seems like all of its citizens are downtown every day. It’s streets are crowded with pedestrian traffic at all hours, and I was told that it’s one of the safest cities in the world at night.
Brisbane’s downtown juts slightly southeast on a triangular peninsula into a large bend of the Brisbane River. Downtown’s streets are generally named after kings and are mostly intersected by streets named after queens, like Mary and Charlotte. Another peninsula to downtown’s east forms Kangaroo Point, which is topped by the beautifully bluelit Story Bridge seen above.
The Brisbane River curls around both peninsulas. It begins in the Great Dividing Range on Mount Stanley, 1,673 feet tall, and flows for 214 miles to the South Pacific Ocean. It is crossed by 15 major bridges and is flood prone. There have been 7 major floods since Brisbane began. The 2 worst were in the 19th century. The 1970s saw the biggest 20th century flood.
Brisbane is nicknamed River City. The World’s Fair it mounted to celebrate it growing bigcityness in 1988 caused 3 major changes. One of them was greater use of its river for people transport. The most fun of the well-used commuter boats, CityHopper didn’t come about until 2012. Taking this free ride around Brisbane’s excitingly lit downtown is a good intro for any visitor. Ruth and I hopped aboard on our first night in River City.
CityHopper runs every 30 minutes between 6 am and midnight, 7 days a week. It’s a great way to meet locals like Kylie Asmus who might tell you about Brisbane’s unheralded attractions. Ruth & I got on CityHopper at the popular Eagle Street Pier, which has many fine restaurants, and rode to North Quay. CityHopper makes 8 stops. Traveling west, it passes Kangaroo Point gliding under Story Bridge and stopping on both sides of the river before ending at Victoria Bridge.