Brisbane is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, an hour
north of the Gold Coast and an hour south of the Sunshine Coast. The
city straddles the Brisbane River, and its eastern suburbs line the
shores of Moreton Bay. The greater Brisbane region lies on the coastal
plain east of the Great Dividing Range though the city is very hilly in
some areas, and the urban area is punctuated by large hills reaching up
to 300 metres such as Mount Coot-tha, Mount Gravatt, Whites Hill and
Brisbane's central business district, centred around the Queen
Street pedestrian mall, offers a range of restaurants, award winning
shopping centres, night clubs, fashion, music and souvenir shops. Other
popular restaurant districts across the suburban area include Fortitude
Valley, New Farm, Teneriffe, West End, Bulimba, Milton, Rosalie,
Paddington and Sunnybank.
South Bank Parklands, built on the former World Expo site at South
Brisbane, is a popular inner suburban recreational area. Tourists and
locals alike frequent the beautiful bougainvillea lined Riverside
Walkway at all times of the year and flock to the area during music and
arts festivals. Adjacent to the Parklands is Brisbane's arts precinct,
which includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Gallery of Modern
Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre and the
State Library of Queensland.
Fortitude Valley, known popularly as 'the Valley' was zoned as an
entertainment precinct in 2004. The Valley is home to pubs, bars,
nightclubs, restaurants and cafes and to Brisbane's Chinatown precinct.
The Brunswick Street mall hosts bustling pedestrian markets on Saturday
and Sunday mornings.
Moreton Bay, to the east of the city of Brisbane and its suburbs, is
very much the city’s playground, a wide expanse of relatively
calm water dotted with many surprisingly unspoilt islands of different
sizes and varying character that can be visited. The bay extends some
160 km from Caloundra in the north almost to Surfers Paradise in the
The bay is a haven for wildlife – spotting dolphins, whales,
turtles and manta rays, and its vast array of birdlife is a popular
pass time. .
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A feature of Brisbane's urban geography is its lower population
density compared to other Australian cities such as Sydney and
Melbourne. There are very few terrace houses in Brisbane and apartments
dating before 1970 are relatively rare. Most of Brisbane's housing
stock consists of detached houses on large blocks of land featuring
sub-tropical gardens. Pre-1950 housing stock is often built in a
distinctive architectural style known as a Queenslander , featuring
large verandahs and built upon stilts, in order to maximise the
circulation of cool air during summer months.
Traditionally, Brisbane was somewhat of a "branch office" city, with
most major financial institutions having their headquarters in Sydney
or Melbourne. To encourage diversification, during the late 1990s and
early 2000s the Queensland state government has been developing
technology and science industries in Queensland as a whole, and
Brisbane in particular, as part of its "Smart State" campaign. The
government has invested in several biotechnology and research
facilities at several universities in Brisbane.
Today, Brisbane has a diverse and vibrant economy with many sectors and
industries represented in the city's total production of goods and
services. Both white-collar and blue-collar industries are present,
with white-collar industries such as information technology, financial
services, higher education and public sector administration generally
concentrated in and around the central business district and recently
established office parks in the inner suburbs.
Blue-collar industries such as petroleum refining, stevedoring, paper
milling, metalworking and railway workshops tend to be located on the
lower reaches of the Brisbane River and in new industrial zones on the
urban fringe. Tourism is an important part of the Brisbane economy,
both in its own right and as a gateway to other areas of Queensland.