10 Best Ways to Entertain Visitors

By Mike O’Connor

The easiest way to deal with visiting friends and relatives is to arrange to be overseas when they arrive.

As this may not always be possible, an alternate plan is necessary, one that encompasses those sights that give visitors a taste of the sub-tropical idyll in which we live.

Here are some hints.

1. Brisbane River

Ride the CityCat ferry service from the city to St Lucia, alighting at New Farm on the return journey. The trip provides a pleasant view of the city and suburbs and gives visitors some perspective.

2. New Farm

Departing from the CityCat at the New Farm terminal, walk through New Farm Park and along the riverfront, stopping at the riverside Brisbane Powerhouse for brunch.

3. Paddington

Begin at The Barracks at Petrie Tce and walk down Caxton St, continuing along at a leisurely pace all the way to the Paddington Antique Centre on Latrobe Tce. Along the way there’s a diversity of shops, restaurants and some fine examples of Queenslander architecture.

Lone Pine Koala

4. Lone Pine

Once upon a time, most visitors to Brisbane were bundled on to a boat and sent to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, in part due to a distinct lack of alternative attractions. The city has a lot more to offer now, but the sanctuary, open since 1927, is still a worth the trip, particularly for overseas visitors. 

5. Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Head up to The Cliffs Cafe for breakfast, an open-air restaurant looking across the CBD with the best view in Brisbane. Afterwards, descend the steps to the bottom of the cliffs to the Brisbane Riverlife building, hire kayaks and go paddling on the river. I have never done this and probably never will, but it looks like fun.

Couple stand by the Story Bridge

6. Story Bridge Climb

I get dizzy on thick carpet but managed to climb the bridge without becoming frozen to the spot or bursting into tears. It’s not as scary as it looks and the view from the top is exhilarating. Note that zero alcohol levels apply, so visit the very convivial Story Bridge Hotel after rather than before the climb.

7. North Stradbroke Island

Still one of Brisbane’s overlooked jewels and a mere 50-minute vehicular ferry ride from Cleveland. Magnificent beaches, great walks along the gorge at Point Lookout and all but deserted during the week. If you are well organised, it’s easy to do in a day.

Two women walk through GoMA


We went to the Louvre, saw the queue at the entrance, found a bar and never did see the Mona Lisa. Culture then, is not our big thing, but I love the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), with its brilliant use of space and light and, yes, I’ve seen a number of exhibitions there. It’s a world-class attraction and worthy of showing off. 

9. Museum of Brisbane and City Hall

Not crazy about museums? This one’s different, giving visitors an idea of how the city grew and prospered. It’s located within the newly renovated City Hall. See the museum and do a tour of City Hall, followed by tea and scones at the iconic Shingle Inn, now located within the hall.

10. Lunch

You’re spoilt for choice in the city, but for a Brisbane experience, it has to be either somewhere along South Bank, maybe using the CityCat ferry service, or similarly taking the ferry or driving to my favourite hotel, one that oozes Queensland ambience, The Regatta on the river at Coronation Drive, Toowong.