The beautiful meandering Brisbane River is perfect for adventure and recreation. Go kayaking, jetskiing, stand up paddle boarding or take a trip on a City Cat. Walk, jog, or cycle along the many riverside walkways and gardens and perhaps stop for a picnic. You can even climb the Story Bridge giving you great views of the city any time of the day.
Whichever way you look at it, you can’t visit Brisbane without experiencing the River. It is the heart of the city.
The City Cats run from the University of Queensland at St Lucia all the way downriver to Hamilton. Stop off at any of the terminals to explore the area (Riverside, QUT, Botanical Gardens, Southbank, Regatta, New Farm Park, Bulimba (Oxford Street), Holman Street (Kangaroo Point), East Brisbane. etc. So many opportunities to get around the city.
From the ferry, you can enjoy great river and city views, and get to pass under the many bridges that span the river. No tours needed, just the cost of a City Cat fare. The staff on these ferries are mindful of tourists and are quite friendly.
City Hopper – an excellent river ferry service provided free by the Brisbane City Council reaching from North Quay, all the way through to Hamilton. They depart every 30 minutes. However at present with Covid-19, some of these services may be suspended.
There are also some small ferries that simply cross the river between just two terminals. One example of this is from Teneriffe to Bulimba.
Of course there are many private city cruises where you can relax and have a drink/meal whilst cruising. These are popular at night.
Brisbane’s city bridges: There’s nothing like a good bridge on a picturesque river to get you snapping away. Brisbane doesn’t disappoint in showcasing its river, cityscapes and of course the different designs of its bridges.
Brisbane’s most iconic landmark, the Story Bridge opened in 1940. It is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge carrying vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the northern and the southern suburbs. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia and has a “sister” bridge in Montreal, Canada.
Captain Cook Bridge is an exclusive road bridge that forms part of the Riverside Expressway. It was built in 1972 and links Gardens Point in the CBD with South Brisbane.
Goodwill Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge spanning the Brisbane River, connecting South Bank Parklands with Gardens Point and QUT in the CBD. This is popular with university students, tourists, walkers, joggers and cyclists.
Victoria Bridge is a vehicular and pedestrian bridge over the Brisbane River. It connects South Bank Parklands with the CBD at North Quay. Probably the most popular bridge for tourists visiting South Bank.
Kurilpa Bridge is a multiple-mast, cable-stay structure comprising18 structural steel bridge decks, 20 structural steel masts and 16 horizontal spars. Once thought to look quite ugly, it has become a much photographed icon of the city. It is great to see the comparison of this modern bridge with it’s close neighbour, the much older William Jolly Bridge.
William Jolly Bridge is a heritage-listed road bridge spanning the Brisbane river between North Quay and South Brisbane. With its three graceful arches and art deco design, this bridge is also a drawcard for photographers. Once known as the Grey Street Bridge, it was renamed William Jolly Bridge in honour of Brisbane’s first Lord Mayor.
The Merivale Bridge is a double track railway bridge connecting Roma Street and South Brisbane railway stations. Exclusively a rail bridge, it is the only inner-city rail crossing in Brisbane. It was opened in 1978 by one of Queenland’s iconic premiers, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
The Go Between Bridge is a toll bridge for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in the inner-city. This can be seen behind the rail bridge.
There are many walks along both sides of the Brisbane River. These are frequently used by walkers, joggers and cyclists from early morning to late afternoon and even into the evening.
We have walked many of these on the city side of the river. Walking from Milton Ferry Terminal all the way through to Newstead (not all at the same time) is about 13km.
This is a Google Map of the areas I am about to talk about. You can find this map on the internet and research it further.
Walking from Milton into the city was amazing as there are no barriers along the side (probably not so good with small children) but it gives you unimpeded views of the river.
Closer to the city, you pass under the many city bridges and the Riverside Expressway. As there is a lot of construction going on with the Queens Wharf project, some of these paths may be closed. There are several exits off these paths to take you up into the city centre.
Then follow the paths right around to the Botanical Gardens.
Some paths follow the mangroves on the water’s edge (Bunya Walk), then the path takes you out into the river. Here you will get a glimpse of the Story Bridge.
Keep walking until you reach Riverside (City Reach Boardwalk) where you can stop for a drink or meal and admire the river and its activities.
If you continue on, you will actually go under the Story Bridge (now home to the recent popular development of HSW (Howard Smith Wharves). So much going on here (more in later post).
Then it’s onto the New Farm River Boardwalk which is quite new (replacement for the one destroyed by the 2011 Brisbane Flood).
It has many outlooks along the way with drinking fountains and seats.
Don’t forget to look back and across the river for great photos.
Once you reach the end of this boardwalk, travel along Griffith Street and Oxlade Drive to New Farm Park. Here you can continue along the walkway heading past the Brisbane Powerhouse (perhaps stop for refreshments at this historic building), then past the old Wool Stores until you reach Teneriffe Ferry Terminal.
Back on to the road again (Skyring Terrace) till you join up with the Riverwalk to Newstead Park and the historic Newstead House.
Of course you can do these walks in reverse or combine them with a ferry ride.
Even though there are divided paths for walkers and cyclists, it still pays to be particularly careful where the path is shared. Some of those bikes sure go fast!!
On the other side of the river, there are many walkways. Southbank Parklands looks across to the city.
A good walk is from the Botanical Gardens, across the Goodwill Bridge, along the river (Clem Jones Boardwalk), then across the Kurilpa Bridge and back to the city.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs– high up with great views. There are parklands at the top and if you go down the steps to the bottom of the cliffs (The Cliffs Boardwalk), you may see rock climbers and abseilers in action.
More walkways here too. Love the red sculptures (another exhibit from Expo 88). This boardwalk actually stretches from Kangaroo Point all the way around to the Goodwill Bridge or onto Southbank Parklands.
Take a walk across the Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point Reserve.
Here you can actually get down to the sand at the edge of the river (tides permitting).
Great views across the river to the city and Howard Smith Wharves.
Sunrise on the river is worth getting up for. Luckily we were staying closeby.
Late afternoon is a pleasant time of the day to take a walk. It is also very busy. However, there are many opportunities to stop and take in the sunsets.
Of course, if you are lucky to be staying near the river, get out and get those night photos. So much beauty.
In my next post, I will highlight that iconic landmark – the Story Bridge and its surrounds.
FOR MORE GREAT POSTS ON BRISBANE….