Toowong Cemetery has more than 100,000 graves, some dating back to 1875. Headstones tell the story of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Queensland’s early settlers. This is also the final resting place of one prime minister, two Queensland governors, 13 Queensland premiers, 11 Queensland Labor leaders, at least 15 Brisbane mayors and many other prominent political, religious, sports, arts and business figures. Also built at the end of the 19th century, but very much the territory of the living, the Regatta Hotel enjoys self-proclaimed ‘oarsome’ river views. A stunning post-flood revamp in 2012 has made it a dining and drinking spot that well deserves its popularity. The CityCat stops here or walk across the Go Between Bridge from southern suburbs.
Mount Coot-tha Forest
To get a bearing on Brisbane’s geography, drive up Sir Samuel Griffith Drive to the Mt Coot-tha Lookout. You will see the Brisbane River snaking through leafy suburbs, impressive views of the CBD and, unless it’s very hazy, the islands in Moreton Bay. To the west are rugged bush-covered ranges. Look down at your feet and you will see that the lookout’s paving reflects the layout of the city, the river and the ocean. There are beautiful walks and picnic areas in the park, including the local favourite, J. C. Slaughter Falls. Visit the nearby Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium to see Brisbane's night sky recreated in the Cosmic Skydome.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens – Mount Coot-tha
At the foot of Mt Coot-tha, these botanic gardens are well worth a visit for the Bonsai House, Fern House, Japanese Garden, the Tropical Dome and the Australian Plant Communities section, which showcases native species. Free guided walks are available. Located in the gardens is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which holds a range of regular and special events, some involving planetarium astronomers. Mt Coot-tha Rd, Toowong; (07) 3403 2535; open daily; admission free.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The world’s largest and oldest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine has more than 130 koalas. Visitors can hold koalas, handfeed kangaroos and get up close to many other species in a natural environment. The sanctuary is set on 20 hectares next to the Brisbane River. You can get to Lone Pine by road (11 kilometres from the city) or catch Mirimar’s Wildlife Cruise . There are informative talks daily. Jesmond Rd, Fig Tree Pocket; (07) 3378 1366; open daily.