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Things to Do in Brisbane with Kids, Koalas and Kangaroos

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Cuddle a koala, feed a kangaroo, and create lifetime memories with your kids when you visit Brisbane, Australia. You will quickly learn that there are endless things to do in Brisbane with kids. It is why this city is a personal favorite of mine.

Brisbane is the sunny capital of Queensland. It is located in the state’s south east corner, 455 miles north of Sydney. This subtropical city of 2.2 million is a friendly gateway to Queensland’s tourist destinations, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast nearby and the Barrier Reef and the Outback further north. Brisbane may once have been a quiet country capital, but today it is a vibrant business city offering good food, professional sports, and world class art, theater and dance in a unique Australian setting.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

On your first day in Brisbane, learn about Australia’s fauna and flora and make a lifetime memory. Go to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to start the day. Here in Brisbane’s south you find 130 koalas in the world’s largest koala sanctuary. Learn about these sleepy marsupials. Watch them munch on eucalyptus leaves. See a joey peek out of his mother’s pouch. Then you will actually hold a koala, an experience you and your kids will remember throughout your lives.

The Koalas alone justify a visit to Lone Pine but there is much more as you see Australia’s most unusual animals. Lone Pine is not a huge zoological park but it is one of the most enjoyable because of the interaction that you have with the animals. You can hand feed wallabies and kangaroos. Meet the platypus, a strange mix of duck, beaver and otter.

Discover that the Tasmanian Devil is real. See dingoes, emus and birds in their natural settings. End your visit with a sheep dog show as an incredibly smart sheep dog musters sheep before they are sheared. To get to Lone Pine, you can drive or you can take a Mirimar Cruise on the Brisbane River.

Michele Feeding a Wallaby at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Michele feeding a wallaby at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Summit Restaurant at Brisbane Lookout, Mt. Coot-tha

From Lone Pine, drive up Mt. Coot-tha (287 meters) to the Brisbane Lookout. Here at the highest point in Brisbane you have a panoramic view across the mountain from Brisbane to Moreton Bay. The mountain is a bushland reserve and the site of the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. The views are impressive and romantic. Your family will enjoy exploring the many hiking trails and watching for wildlife. Finally relax and have a family oriented Sunset Dinner at 5:30 pm at the Summit Restaurant and Kuta Café. You will enjoy excellent local seafood and meats, prepared in an international style. Prices are reasonable.

The View from the Summit Restaurant at Brisbane Lookout, Mt. Coot-tha

The view from the Summit Restaurant at Brisbane Lookout, Mt. Coot-tha.

As you sip a cool drink and look out to the horizon, notice the aboriginal art designs around you. Mt. Coot-tha means “place of honey” and proprietors Russell and Jacqueline Barrett and Jim Heron retained aboriginal artist, Debbie Scott, to design a unique artwork. This work, dominated by the sun and sea, tells of a time in the Dreaming about a place of wild honey. The Summit Restaurant satisfies your appetite and stimulates your imagination.

Kuta - Place of Wild Honey by Debbie Scott courtesy of R. Barrett

Kuta – Place of Wild Honey by Debbie Scott courtesy of R. Barrett.

Culture and Recreation on the South Bank

Follow the focus on nature with a focus on the River City. The South Bank of the Brisbane River is the old World Expo 88 site. Here you find river walks, bars, restaurants and shopping. The park is now the home of the Queensland Performing Arts Center, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. Presentations range from the play War Horse through pop music concerts to the Bolshoi Ballet.

The Queensland Museum traces the history of Australia while the Sciencenter is a hands-on exploration of science that most children will enjoy. After the science lesson, let the kids get all wet at the Aquativity water play park or swim at Streets Beach. There are many things to do in Brisbane on South Bank.

Sports Fans

Australians love both playing and watching sports. For a great afternoon, take in a game with the family. Watch the action but get to know the fans beside you. Rugby fans cheer on the Brisbane Broncos while soccer fans support the Brisbane Roar. You can also see cricket, tennis and Australian Rules Football.

Visiting Brisbane – Practicalities

Visit at any time of the year. Southern Hemisphere seasons are the reverse of those in the USA. Brisbane’s average high temperature is 84⁰F during the December to March summer. The average low winter temperature is 48⁰F in July. It rains about 10 days per month in the summer and slightly less in the winter.

Getting to Brisbane is simple. There are direct flights from Los Angeles and Honolulu and connections through other major Australian and New Zealand cities. In Australia, see the country by taking a train between Sydney or Cairns and Brisbane. There are daylight and overnight options.My wife and I used a rental car to drive from Sydney with an overnight stop in the Hunter Valley wine region.  (The scenery was beautiful but choose your designated driver if you do a winery tour!)

Stay in the heart of the action. Hilton Brisbane is a city center hotel, near the Central Station and a short walk to South Bank. It has spacious rooms, a friendly staff and an outdoor pool. For more details on current events, speak to the Hilton concierge or go online to Visit Brisbane.

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Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!

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