Where are all the queens in Queensland?! (Last time we make that joke, promise). Brisbane is the capital of the Australian state of Queensland and like many cities in Oz, the area was originally intended to be a penal colony. In fact, the city’s oldest surviving structure is a windmill built to grind grain. It was man-powered by convicts and intended to be a form of hard labor punishment. With a population of around 2 million though, Brissie (as it’s known colloquially) has long since become a major metropolitan area and is now the third most-populous in Australia. The Central Business District (CBD) is famously compact, being on a narrow bend/peninsula of the Brisbane River. All the streets in this section of town are named after royalty. No, not RuPaul and Dame Edna, but historical British kings and queens rather. As a general rule, the streets aligned northwest-southeast are named after male members of the House of Hanover, while the northeast-southwest aligned streets are named after female members—you’ll get the hang of it without needing to open a history book, we hope. Queen Street was the central roadway, but it is now the premier shopping destination of Queen Street Mall; and the perfect place to spend some dough while you’re in town! For a great view of the CBD, take a drive over Story Bridge—Australia’s longest cantilever bridge. It was designed by John Bradfield, who also famously designed Sydney’s Harbour Bridge.
If you need to get around to one of the other neighborhoods, you can hop on the CityTrain (Brisbane’s rail system) or take a more adventurous trip by CityCat. These sleek boats (the “Cat” part stands for catamaran) will ferry you around the city via the river just like a water taxi. If you’re looking to hit the town, Fortitude Valley is the area you’d want to visit. Home to several gay bars and infamously known as Brisbane’s red-light district, it has a reputation as a more crime-ridden locale, so be sure to keep your wits about you. It’s also the neighborhood home of the Big Gay Day street party, a fundraiser that supports local gay organizations. Along with Fortitude Valley; Teneriffe and New Farm are other popular gay-inhabited neighborhoods you may want to check out.
Consistently winning Australia’s most-liveable city, the weather of Brisbane certainly gives the city appeal. It has a humid, subtropical climate with warm, wet summers and dry, cool winters, making it a great place to visit any time of year. It's location in Queensland also gives it the advantage of being a great base for jumping off to explore other areas. The Gold Coast and Hinterland is about an hour’s drive south and is well-known for its sandy beaches, theme parks, shopping, wildlife parks, and nature areas. Similarly, head north for an hour and you’ll end up in The Sunshine Coast and Hinterland. The area here offers a wide range of beaches, national parks, theme parks and golf courses. The late Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo is also on the way north, located in Beerwah. Closer to Brisbane though is the gorgeous Moreton Bay, replete with water activities such as snorkeling and diving among the largest herd of dugongs left in the world.
The Gay Scene in Brisbane
Where are all the queens in Queensland?