The pulsing heart of this region is, without a doubt, Brisbane city itself. Many call it a large country town and it has managed to grow in stature without losing the community feel.
Right in the centre of the city, the relatively new South Bank precinct draws visitors like moths to the flame. It is here you can wallow in child-friendly museums and galleries and then strip down and have a swim at the man-made beach – all without needing to drive or catch a train. If you do decide to explore Brisbane it’s easy from here, with regular buses, trains, rental bikes and the City Cat which zigzags from one side of the river to the other. A ride on the City Cat is a must-do.
Brisbane city is not the only thing to see in this region. At its northern limits, Bribie Island is a quiet, quaint seaside destination. One of the few Australian islands accessible by road, it is easy to get to, yet has an atmosphere of its own. Explore the protected Pumicestone Passage, watch for dolphins or boogie board in the surf.
Further south another seaside town, Redcliffe, was the site of the first settlement in Queensland of which the town is very proud. It boasts a huge pier, wonderful free swimming lagoon, lovely cafes and tours to outer islands. Moreton Island certainly shouldn’t be missed. Join a day tour or stay for a while at Tangalooma Resort then slide down sand dunes, feed dolphins and snorkel on shipwrecks.
Also easily accessible, North Stradbroke Island is a camping family heaven. Campsites right on the water’s edge, cliff walks to watch the wildlife, and 4WD tracks for the adventurous await after only a short ferry ride from the mainland.
Turn inland and Ipswich and Toowoomba beckon. Home of the Workshops Rail Museum and a very hands-on art gallery, Ipswich is, at the very least, worth a day trip from the city. Toowoomba, at the junction of the Warrego Highway, is the gateway to the outback and steeped in history.
It may be geographically small, but Brisbane and Granite Belt is a region of contrasts. From tales of the past to science of the future, it offers families a wealth of variety without the need to travel huge distances.
Photo courtesy Tourism Queensland