South Bank is Brisbane’s premier lifestyle and cultural destination. Located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River, it is open 365 days a year and attracts an estimated 11 million visitors annually.
South Bank stretches from Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in the north to the Queensland Maritime Museum in the south and is famous for its diverse mix of entertainment, recreation and leisure activities that are all within walking distance of each other. Just some of the precinct’s highlights include 17 hectares of inner-city parklands; more than 90 restaurants, cafes and bars; world-class museums and galleries; a performing arts centre; a cinema; five-star hotels and the Wheel of Brisbane.
Home to hundreds of events each year, South Bank is continually evolving to create new and exciting experiences for locals and visitors alike. In 2020/2021, South Bank also became one of nine parks in Australia to receive the Green Flag Award, for its excellence as a green space.
South Bank has a rich and varied history. In the 1840s, European settlement saw it transform into Brisbane’s CBD. Then, in 1883, severe flooding prompted the settlers to relocate the CBD to where it is today, on the Brisbane River’s north banks.
By 1930, South Bank had been re-established as a bustling river port and industrial zone that was buzzing with markets, wharves, dance halls and theatres. However, over time development slowed and the area gradually spiralled into disrepair. This all changed in 1984, when South Bank was selected as the site for World Expo 88.
World Expo 88 was immensely successful and breathed new life into South Bank – it attracted 18 million people to the precinct during its six month run and it also showcased the area’s potential as public space. Once World Expo 88 was over, the people of Brisbane were so enamoured with South Bank that they lobbied to keep it as public parkland. This was approved by the Queensland Government in 1989 and from there, South Bank continued to grow; the Parklands opened in 1992; Little Stanley Street opened in 1998; and River Quay opened in 2011.
Today, South Bank is one of Brisbane’s most vibrant, busy and cherished spaces. It is continually growing and is fast becoming one of Australia’s most internationally recognisable spaces.