Australia: Brisbane Day Tour from Gold Coast

The group was caught up in strong winds coupled with heavy showers as we waited for our river cruise ferry. We’re in the middle of our Brisbane Day Tour and it seemed like it will be raining for the next few hours. After two minutes though, the sky cleared up and the sun was beaming all its high noon glory— a typical day in Australia’s third largest city.

It was three months ago when me and my buddy embarked on a celebratory trip after our laid back wedding in February. We initially thought of a winter honeymoon trip but after getting a sponsored Scoot flight from Manila to Sydney, we decided to check out the Land Down Under—my first trip outside Asia.

Cheap Flight Manila to Sydney
Check out Scoot's year-round fares to key cities in Australia from Manila via Singapore
Our application for Australia Tourist Visa was fast and easy with the help of One Vine Migration (check my Guide on How to Get Australian Visa in the Philippines). We spent the first five days in Sydney then moved to Byron Bay for a couple of days. It was during our stay in Gold Coast when we decided to check out the nearby city of Brisbane. 

I heard from a friend once that there's nothing much to see in Brisbane so we thought of skipping it during our two-week trip in Australia. But then again, our curiosity led us to having a daytrip to the capital city of Queensland which made us realize that it wasn’t boring at all.

Klook is definitely one of our favorite travel apps. There are so many deals and discounts on tours, activities and transportation on major cities around the globe. With its easy-to-use interface, planning a great getaway is easy breezy with the use of your smartphone. It’s worth mentioning that our all-time favorite purchases are airport transfers and pocket Wi-Fi rental. It’s always cheaper and hassle-free by using Klook App.

As I scanned the activities in Australia, I found out that they have a Grand Brisbane Tour from Gold Coast available on our dates. The package includes a roundtrip pick-up from our hotel in Surfers Paradise plus all the entrance fees, so we immediately booked it.

Brisbane Day Tour
Brisbane City Hall
Two days before our scheduled tour, I received an email regarding a change of pick-up point. Instead of them collecting us from our hotel, we were asked to go to a nearby resort around 300 meters from where we were staying. It was a hassle at first, but we enjoyed the quiet stroll along the main road which allowed us to observe the morning goings-on.

Brisbane Day Tour
Brisbane River
After the smooth one-hour drive from Gold Coast to Brisbane, we were dropped at the company's main hub where everyone was grouped according to the tour they booked. We then transferred to a mini bus together with our newly-formed group for the Brisbane day tour.

Brisbane Day Tour
Central Business District's Colonial Architecture
Historical commentaries were given by our driver cum tour guide as the journey commenced. We traversed along the busy streets of the city and passed by some old structures. My shutterbug buddy was having a hard time though as we're used to DIY walking trips. But nonetheless, it was the perfect sightseeing tour for those who don’t have enough time to explore a place, like us.

Brisbane Day Tour
Old and New
There's this old school feel to Brisbane as we navigate down the major thoroughfares. I noticed that people were rushing, but not the Sydney kind-of-rush. 

We stopped by at City Botanic Gardens and the guide allowed us to roam freely for a good fifteen minutes. The sun was starting to hide from the thick clouds. It was just minutes ago when the sky was clear, and then suddenly, it started to drizzle as we hopped on back to the bus.

Brisbane Day Tour
Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Next stop was the oldest hotel in Australia. The Breakfast Creek Hotel was both romantic and daunting. The old school vibe of the hotel was echoed through the furnishings and fixtures. It was like I was peeping through an actual movie location in the 60’s which made me feel so underdressed. Haha.

Brisbane Day Tour
Breakfast Creek Hotel
The hotel also houses a famous watering hole in Queensland, an old pub that is now turned into an exclusive bar with its 500+ rum collection. 

Brisbane Day Tour
Extensive rum collection at Breakfast Creek Hotel's exclusive pub
The wind was getting stronger as raindrops started to fall. Nobody seemed to be alarmed though as we started to hop on our ferry, it was time for our Brisbane River Cruise (which was included on the tour package) and the weather was in its very bipolar state.

Brisbane Day Tour
Lavish mansions along Brisbane River
We originally settled on the lower berth as we enjoyed the journey along Brisbane River. An audio commentary complemented the cruise which made it more interesting.

Brisbane Day Tour
Another mansion
We were having the complimentary coffee, tea and pastries as we watched old buildings and lavish mansions that lined the riverbank. We then transferred at the topmost part of the ferry to get a real feel of what’s going on outside.

Brisbane Day Tour
Brisbane Story Bridge
The one-hour journey ended at South Bank Parklands.

A huge ferris wheel, The Wheel of Brisbane, greeted us as we got off from the boat and we were given one full hour of free time for lunch. Still full from our morning tea, we utilized the time for a quick stroll.

Brisbane Day Tour
The Wheel of Brisbane
There's a public park with outdoor swimming pool, playground and other leisure spaces. It was nice to see families who were enjoying their afternoon picnic. One hour felt fleeting as we went back to our bus. Next on our itinerary was a wildlife sanctuary.

Brisbane Day Tour
Public pool at South Bank Parklands
Almost everyone inside our ride seemed to be excited on our next stop. Me and my buddy weren’t as thrilled though as we just had our first Aussie wildlife encounter at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Katoomba few days prior. But nonetheless, we took pleasure on the journey to our next stop.

Brisbane Day Tour
Our second kangaroo encounter
Founded in 1927, Lone Pine Sanctuary is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the whole of Australia. Our guide had given the group a brief instruction on where to go and what to do as we all went inside the sanctuary. We were given two hours to explore the sanctuary on our own.

Brisbane Day Tour
Lone Pine Sanctuary is the largest and oldest koala sanctuary in Australia
My buddy was eager to see more koala bears while I was eyeing for the Tasmanian Devil. On the course of our exploration, we chanced upon an Australian native platypus and other species that are truly new to us. I am not that fond of animals, in general, but Lone Pine Sanctuary is one of the best animal welfare centers I’ve visited.

Brisbane Day Tour
Tasmanian Devil
It was a fun afternoon as we got to explore Lone Pine Sanctuary while understanding their efforts in conserving and protecting the wildlife.

Our final stop was a viewpoint at Mount Coot-tha Lookout. We had ten minutes at the top and the view of Brisbane from the lookout was breathtaking. It was as if we wanted to have coffee or beer and spend the rest of the day there. But no, we needed to go back to Gold Coast.

Brisbane Day Tour
View of Brisbane from Mount Coot-tha Lookout
Our Brisbane Full Day Tour was a preview of what the capital city of Queensland is. The charming city is filled with little surprises that we never expected. Well, that’s the beauty of exploring unknown places, you get to be amused with every little thing that you experience. Especially for me who’s not that person who researches prior to a trip. Hopefully we could come back here in the future.

Check here for discounted accommodation in Brisbane

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