The South Bank Parklands are a wonderful part of Brisbane city. Located just across the Brisbane River from the CBD (an easy walk across Victoria Bridge) they offer a place to rewind and relax, to dine or enjoy some of the attractions. Set in 17 hectares, the lush parklands reflect rainforest, lagoon and beach environments and The Arbour, a stunning a flower-covered walkway, winds through the precinct.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the south bank of the river was once home to the CBD. Severe flooding in 1883 prompted the European settlers to relocate the CBD to where it is today, over on the 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 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 over its six month run and it showcased the area’s potential as a public space. Once the expo was over, the people of Brisbane lobbied to keep it as public parkland. Today, South Bank is one of Brisbane’s most vibrant, busy and cherished spaces attracting ten million visitors annually.
As well as the tranquillity and beauty of the parklands you can grab a bite to eat on Little Stanley Street, soak up some culture on Grey Street or relax on the river’s edge at River Quay. There are restaurants, cafés, bars, boutiques, museums, galleries, a vibrant performing arts centre, the Wheel of Brisbane, a cinema and, of course, Rydges South Bank is right next to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for your accommodation needs.
The precinct is home to more than 150 events each year and can be split into four distinct areas. The sprawling Parklands are known for its expansive green lawns, towering Ficus trees and colourful gardens. They are also home to family-friendly experiences and activities including free swimming facilities, walking tracks, playgrounds and picnic and barbecue areas.
Little Stanley Street is a bustling retail and dining strip that overlooks the Parklands. The cafes, bars and restaurants offer an array of international cuisines styles and atmospheres for a casual snack, something more formal or anything in-between. The street also has several chic boutiques that offer the latest in fashion, jewellery and homewares.
Grey Street is Brisbane’s cultural boulevard, home to the city’s major cultural institutions including the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, State Library and Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.
River Quay is South Bank’s award-winning dining precinct and green space. On the edge of the Brisbane River it was specially designed to celebrate Queensland’s warm climate and outdoor lifestyle. With uninterrupted views of the river and city skyline, River Quay is a popular destination for kicking back with a book or a picnic. There’s also dining options in the suite of outdoor restaurants.