This week we let the Brissie expert, Natalie, show us around her favourite tourist spots in the sun.
Brisbane is a secret no longer. It is said 1500 southerners move there each week to enjoy the lifestyle it offers.
The city has become quite sophisticated over the last decade or so. It now offers the best in food, wine, the arts, entertainment and sporting events, all in a sub-tropical climate!
In a region with world-class beaches, rivers, rainforests, mountains and islands, Brisbane also has all the makings for a cosmopolitan way of life. The 1982 Commonwealth Games and 1988 Brisbane Expo changed the face of the city and it hasn't looked back.
The Brisbane River runs through the heart of the city. An estimated nine million people visit its south bank each year. Home to the state art gallery, performing arts centre, state museum, Opera Queensland, Queensland Theatre Company, state library, College of Art, Conservatorium of Music, the University of Canberra's Brisbane Campus and several secondary schools, South Bank is a busy place. Its restaurants, shops and activities have given added personality to the area and a walkway to New Farm sees people strolling, jogging, rollerblading and cycling.
South Bank has a lush, sub-tropical, 17ha parkland with a beach, a beautiful bougainvillea-covered arbour, rainforest walks, picnic and barbecue areas, water features and promenade.
Streets Beach is a man-made swimming beach overlooking the Brisbane River and CBD. It has a crystal clear lagoon, white sand beach, palm trees, rocky creeks and shady sub-tropical trees and other exotic plants. It is patrolled every day and its water recirculated every six hours.
Various inner suburbs such as Fortitude Valley, West End, Paddington and Milton are great spots for eating, drinking and shopping.
City Cats are the river's main transport. They offer a perfect system for locals, as well as an inexpensive way for visitors to sightsee. Inner-city ferries run on similar routes to the catamarans.
Relax on a cat and take in some grand old Queenslanders, the botanic gardens, New Farm and back downriver, modern CBD skyscrapers, the ornate Italian Renaissance-style Treasury building which is now a casino and Parliament House.
At Kangaroo Point you can abseil, day or night. The cliffs on the southern banks of the river are just right for introductory abseiling or rock climbing and can be tackled by almost anyone. WorthWild teaches all safety aspects. Stress is one of the very best ways of becoming and remaining fit.
Manly is a well-kept secret in Brisbane. It has a huge marina lined with yachts and a brand new water park. Just 20 minutes from the CBD, it's a terrific place to go for fish and chips or something more upmarket.
Mt Coot-tha, just seven kilometres west of the city centre, gives wonderful views of the city and beyond, to Moreton Bay and its islands to the east, the Glasshouse Mountains and D'Agilar Range to the west.
If that isn't enough, it is all in 220ha of natural bushland and native wildlife. Mt Coot-tha is part of the Taylor Range, which forms a backdrop of hills for the city.
The reserve is home to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the city's botanic gardens, a wishing waterfall, observation deck and interpretive facilities. It has been a favourite destination since the 19th century, when visitors could only walk or ride on horseback to the reserve.
It's a special place to visit and particularly appealing as the city is waking or the evening lights beginning to twinkle.