Beautiful weather, tantalising dishes and a plethora of activities to choose from – what more can you ask for when you’re on holiday? Whether it’s an action-packed vacation or one where you can just kick back and relax, the city of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia has plenty to offer.

Visitors will note that its strategic location opens up the options of indulging in days spent by the coast, biking up the nearby Mount Coot-tha or simply enjoying the city offerings.

After a short visit there, here are some of our favourite places and activities to do in and around the city.

Cuddle a koala

Great for adults and kids alike, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a must visit when you’re in Brisbane. First established in 1927 with only two koalas, the sanctuary is now the oldest koala sanctuary in the world and is home to 130 koalas.

While Lone Pine is largely popular for their koalas, it also features other Australian fauna such as kangaroos, wombats, tasmanian devils, platypuses and raptors.

At the sanctuary, you can do more than just observe the animals – you’re encouraged to connect and learn about them too. There are educational shows, keeper talks and other chances to interact with the animals there.

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is where you can cuddle and take a photo with a cute koala.

There’s also a large kangaroo reserve where visitors can get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies and the occasional emu. While you’re feeding the kangaroos, don’t forget to pet them – you’ll find that they are surprisingly soft.

After you’ve had your fun at the zoo, instead of just hopping on to a bus or car, get on a boat for a ride back to the city from Mirimar Cruises.

Foodie heaven

We Malaysians take our food very seriously and the same can be said for Australians. You’ll find many a good restaurant in Brisbane but one place you should visit is Eat Street Northshore.

Eat Street used to be a container wharf but it now houses restaurants and cafes of international fare. Take your time to wander around and let yourself be tempted by the pleasant aromas wafting from the restaurants set in colourful shipping containers.

Look out for the fresh seafood: A must try is a basket of the Moreton Bay Bugs (don’t worry, they’re not insects!). The bugs, aka slipper lobsters, are so delicious – one basket might not be enough.

While you’re at it, grab a plate of fresh oysters too. The lively atmosphere at Eat Street (there are live band shows too) makes the place a great spot to hang out with with friends and family.

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Fresh seafood at Eat Street in Brisbane, Australia.

Challenging heights

Want to tick something off your bucket list? The Story Bridge Climb might just be what you’re looking for.

The Story Bridge is one of a handful of bridges worldwide that allows visitors to test their mettle with a hike to the top. The climb is approximately 80m high and is an exhilarating experience that will get your heart racing.

Before you start the climb, the climb leader assigned to your group will provide the compulsory climb suits. If you’re wearing any loose accessories like bracelets, or sunglasses, don’t worry worry about losing them. There are lockers for you to store your things, or if needed, the staff can help secure them onto your suit or body before starting the journey. However, the general advice is to bring as few personal items as possible.

It is also very important to take note of and follow the medical advisory, too, as folks with particular medical conditions are not advised to join in the activity.

During the climb, the leaders will be there to guide you up the bridge. For those who have a fear of heights (like this writer!), fret not as they’ll help assuage your fears with interesting stories and facts about the bridge and Brisbane as you ascend.

There are several types of climbs throughout the day, but the twilight climb comes highly recommended. Be awed as you watch the sunset from the top and as you descend, you just might catch the bridge lighting up.

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Explore the sights at the Tangalooma Island Resort while riding an ATV quad bike. Photo: Tangalooma Island Resort

Island getaway

Escape from the stress and noise of city life and spend your holiday unwinding by the beautiful shores of the Tangalooma Island Resort. Located on Moreton Island, the resort is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. Guests of the resort can hop on the Moreton Island ferry for a 75-minute boat ride to get there.

The resort offers several types of packages tailored to guests’ specific interests, be it a relaxing day by the beach, an action-packed itinerary or watching the wildlife.

Guests looking for an adrenaline rush can check out sand tobogganing. You’ll be taken to the Tangalooma Desert, an interesting area that’s void of most vegetation on the island. The desert is the go-to spot for tobogganing as its steep sandy hills are perfect for sliding down smoothly (but remember to keep your mouth closed while doing it!).

One of the biggest attractions at the resort is the wild dolphin-feeding sessions at dusk that happens every day.

In the evening, you’ll find some guests watching the feeding sessions from the dock while others will be getting up close with the dolphins by the shore. The resort’s Dolphin Care Team will be there to guide and assist visitors through the process, at the same time “introducing” them to the dolphin.

Artsy affair

First opened in 2006, the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is a must visit for art enthusiasts. It’s not just local art that’s on display at the gallery, there are also pieces from artists from across the globe. There are more than just paintings on display – there are sculptures, photographs and handicrafts too.

Many of the pieces at the gallery are thought provoking, with some serving as statements of the changing landscape of the world or of their creator’s home country. While most of the gallery is free and open to the public, there are a few special exhibitions that come with entrance fees.

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Brisbane is no stranger to interesting street art throughout the city.

Scenic city views

If you’re not really up for the Story Bridge Climb, there are other ways to get a great view of the city. Travellers who plan to go to Lone Pine by bus or car, be sure to make a pit stop at the Mt Coot-tha lookout point.

The view is especially gorgeous if you’re at the lookout point in the early morning to catch the sunrise. Take a moment to relax and have breakfast at the nearby Kuta Cafe while you watch the morning fog lift from the city as noon rolls around.

For travellers who wish to explore within the city, there’s the option of riding The Wheel of Brisbane. As the ferris wheel makes its rounds, riders will be treated to a guided tour highlighting several features of the city.

And of course, as you’re leaving Brisbane, watch the city lights slowly fade away in the distance as you make your way back home.

Malaysia Airlines now flies direct – 4 times weekly – to Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur.