Wheel of Brisbane
The Wheel of Brisbane with its London Eye–style prime riverfront views is the latest attraction in the Parklands. The fully enclosed, air-conditioned capsules rise to nearly 60m but the experience is all over in 13 minutes. Book online for a 10% discount.
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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A 35-minute bus ride south of the city centre, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is set in attractive parklands beside the river. It is home to 130 or so koalas, as well as kangaroos, possums and wombats. The koalas are undeniably cute and most visitors readily cough up the $16 to have their picture taken hugging one.To get here catch bus 430 ($4.70, 43 minutes, hourly), which leaves from the Queen St bus station. Alternatively, Mirimar II cruises to the sanctuary along the Brisbane River from North Quay, next to Victoria Bridge. It departs daily at 10am, returning from Lone Pine at 1.45pm.
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Mt Coot-tha Reserve
A short drive or bus ride from the city, this huge bush reserve and parkland has an excellent botanic garden, a planetarium, eateries and a superb lookout over the city. On a clear day you can see the Moreton Bay islands. The lookout is accessed via Samuel Griffith Dr and has wheelchair access.Just north of the road to the lookout, on Samuel Griffith Dr, is the turn-off to JC Slaughter Falls, reached by a short walking track, plus a 1.5km Aboriginal Art Trail, which takes you past eight art sites with works by local Aboriginal artists.The pleasant Brisbane Botanic Gardens has a plethora of mini ecologies, which include cactus, Japanese and herb gardens, rainforests, and arid zones, making you feel like you're traversing the globe's landscape in all its vegetated splendour.Also within the gardens, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is Australia's largest planetarium. There's a great observatory here and the shows inside the Cosmic Skydome will make you feel like you've stepped on board the Enterprise. Outside of show times, you can explore the small space museum.To get here via public transport, take bus 471 from Adelaide St, opposite King George Sq ($3.90, 25 minutes, hourly Monday to Friday, five services Saturday and Sunday). The bus drops you off in the lookout car park and stops outside the Brisbane Botanic Gardens en route.
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Queensland Art Gallery
The gallery houses a fine permanent collection, mostly of domestic and European artists. The Australian art dates from the 1840s to the 1970s, and you can view works by celebrated masters including Sir Sydney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, William Dobell and George Lambert.
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Queensland Cultural Centre
On South Bank, just over Victoria Bridge from the CBD, the Queensland Cultural Centre is the epicentre of Brisbane's cultural confluence. It's a huge compound that includes a concert and theatre venue, four museums and the Queensland State Library.
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Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
At the entrance to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the only stand-alone planetarium in Australia and a wonderland for budding Neil Armstrongs. The observatory has a variety of telescopes and one of the resident astronomers can help pinpoint stars and intergalactic beings. There are also regular shows inside the Cosmic Skydome, which journey into outer space and are narrated by the likes of Harrison Ford and Ewan McGregor.
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