Where Brisbane - - Precincts - By Kerry Heaney

AT 287 ME­TRES above sea level, Mt Coot-tha might be lit­tle more than a large hill, but it’s the best place to see Bris­bane, from the sub­urbs to the ocean.

Reach Bris­bane Look­out by driv­ing from the in­ner city on Mil­ton Road and the wind­ing Sir Sa­muel Grif­fith Drive. From the view­ing plat­form, you’ll see why peo­ple have been head­ing up the moun­tain to en­joy the panorama both day and night for more than 180 years.

At the look­out, take in the view with a cof­fee or snack from Kuta Café or in­dulge with fine din­ing at the Sum­mit Restau­rant.

The Sum­mit Restau­rant build­ing was re­de­vel­oped in the 1980s in­cor­po­rat­ing the sec­ond Fed­er­a­tion-style kiosk built in 1918. To­day, the Sum­mit Restau­rant is an award-win­ning venue with a menu that fo­cuses on qual­ity Queens­land pro­duce, and stun­ning vis­tas.

Mt Coot-tha has many dif­fer­ent pic­nic spots lo­cated along the road, but J.C. Slaugh­ter Falls at the base of the moun­tain is one of the most pop­u­lar. Along with plenty of bar­be­cues and pic­nic ta­bles, it has a bur­bling creek me­an­der­ing through the mid­dle.

Mined for gold be­tween 1890 and 1950, dur­ing the war years Mt Coot-tha was a mil­i­tary base and ex­plo­sives de­pot. You’ll find re­minders of this his­tory on the walk­ing trails that criss-cross the slopes. The west­ern side is pop­u­lar with moun­tain bike rid­ers while those walk­ing tracks are a train­ing ground for ad­ven­tur­ers.

At the base of the moun­tain is the Bris­bane Botanic Gar­dens, 56 hectares of land­scaped sub­trop­i­cal green­ery, open ev­ery day from 8am to 5pm. En­try is free and there are also free guided walks Mon­day through Satur­day at 11am and 1pm which leave from the In­for­ma­tion Desk.

A good place to re­lax with re­fresh­ments is the Botan­i­cal Café. Open daily from 9am to 4pm on week­days and 8am to 5pm on week­ends, it’s lo­cated near an en­trance to the gar­dens and has a cov­ered deck over­look­ing a pic­turesque lake.

As you stroll along the wind­ing gar­den paths, you’ll dis­cover a Ja­panese Gar­den, Bon­sai House, Fern House, ar­eas of ex­otic rain­for­est, a la­goon and bam­boo grove and ded­i­cated ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren.

The Sir Thomas Bris­bane Plan­e­tar­ium was named after the Gover­nor of the New South Wales colony who ar­rived in 1821 and charted an un­known south­ern sky. The cen­tre’s op­ti­cal star pro­jec­tor cre­ates a replica night sky, and reg­u­lar shows are a fea­ture.

Mt Coot-tha is a 20-minute drive by car from Bris­bane’s CBD and can also be ac­cessed by bus.

■ THE VINO BUS. Tam­borine Moun­tain is lo­cated just 50 min­utes south of Bris­bane. You can ex­plore this beau­ti­ful area with The Vino Bus—jump on board for a wine tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence you will never for­get! Ab­sorb the spec­tac­u­lar scenery whilst mak­ing your way through Tam­borine Moun­tain’s unique wine trail. Taste Queens­land’s award­win­ning wines, and in­dulge in a de­li­cious two-course lunch at one of the moun­tain’s top winer­ies. Snacks and water are also pro­vided and they pick up di­rectly from your ho­tel in Bris­bane or the Gold Coast, seven days a week.

0456 998 466. thevi­


■ GALLERY OF MOD­ERN ART. Bris­bane’s Gallery of Mod­ern Art (GOMA) boasts sig­nif­i­cant new dis­plays, which al­low vis­i­tors to en­counter much-loved col­lec­tion works in a new light, while also dis­cov­er­ing some of the gallery’s magnificent re­cent ac­qui­si­tions.

Daily 10am–5pm. Stan­ley Place, South Bank. 3840 7303. ■ MU­SEUM OF BRIS­BANE. Lo­cated in the City Hall, the Mu­seum of Bris­bane (MOB) cel­e­brates Bris­bane’s past, present and fu­ture with an ever-chang­ing pro­gram of so­cial his­tory, vis­ual arts, craft and de­sign ex­hi­bi­tions.

Daily 10am–5pm. Level 3, Bris­bane City Hall, Ade­laide and Ann Street, Bris­bane. 3339 0800. mu­se­u­mof­bris­ ■ QUEENS­LAND ART GALLERY. The Queens­land Art Gallery is the state’s premier vis­ual arts in­sti­tu­tion and houses a sig­nif­i­cant col­lec­tion of more than 13,000 Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional paint­ings, sculp­tures, dec­o­ra­tive art ob­jects, and works on pa­per.

Daily 10am–5pm. Stan­ley Place, South Bank. 3840 7303.

Photo: Kerry Heaney.

Ex­pe­ri­ence Bris­bane with Pres­tige Day Tours.

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