South Bank Parklands

Top choice in Brisbane

Should you sunbake on a sandy beach, saunter through a rainforest, or eye-up a Nepalese peace pagoda? You can do all three in this 17.5-hectare park overlooking the city centre. Its canopied walkways lead to performance spaces, lush lawns, eateries and bars, and regular free events ranging from fitness classes to film screenings. The star attractions are Streets Beach, an artificial, lagoon-style swimming beach (packed on weekends); and the near-60m-high Wheel of Brisbane, delivering 360-degree views of town.

Also in the parklands is Stanley St Plaza, a renovated section of historic Stanley St lined with mainstream cafes, restaurants, a handful of shops and a bustling pub. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, the plaza hosts the tourist-heavy Collective Markets South Bank, peddling everything from artisan leather wallets and breezy summer frocks to prints, skincare and contemporary handmade jewellery.

Close by, South Bank Piazza is an outdoor performance space offering year-round events.