Pop quiz: What is Australia's third most populous city? If you said Brisbane, you're correct. If you blanked, don't worry; you're not alone. Sydney and Melbourne tend to get all the attention—understandably, as they are also wonderful places to visit—but the capital of Queensland is a magical city in its own right.
And despite being a sleek, cosmopolitan city, Brisbane still manages to maintain the air of an easily accessible small-town community that is very welcoming to visitors.
Over 2 million people call Brisbane home, with more arriving every day as Australians and expats flock to the cool hotspot. Although it’s not a very cheap place to live, ranking ahead of Melbourne but behind Sydney, it’s definitely worth it to splurge on a visit (although you might end up wanting to stay longer).
Brisbane features cheap coffee shops where you can sip an afternoon espresso, an amazing collection of world-class bookstores, meandering walks along the lazy Brisbane River that winds its way through the city, and restaurants and hotels to match.
Getting around on the public transport system is as easy as spotting a well-dressed hipster, and playful nightlife venues will keep you awake well into the night.
As much as night owls are catered to, this is also a city for the outdoorsy. Endless sunny days and the close proximity to the Sunshine and Gold Coasts make Brisbane perfect for beach lovers, while large green spaces, such as the City Botanic Gardens, provide a break from the buzzing city.