Tourism plays a major role in Brisbane’s economy, being the third-most popular destination for international tourists after Sydney and Melbourne.
Popular tourist and recreation areas in Brisbane include the South Bank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland, the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary opened in 1927 and was the world’s first koala sanctuary
The suburb of Mount Coot-tha is home to a popular state forest, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens which houses the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and the “Tsuki-yama-chisen” Japanese Garden (formerly of the Japanese Government Pavilion of Brisbane’s World Expo ’88).
Brisbane has over 27 km (17 mi) of bicycle pathways, mostly surrounding the Brisbane River and city centre, extending to the west of the city. The river itself was popular with bathers, and it permitted boating excursions to Moreton Bay when the main port was in the city reaches.
Today fishing and boating are more common. Other popular recreation activities include the Story Bridge adventure climb and rock climbing at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. The nearby Australia Zoo, made famous by Steve Irwin, also encourages many tourists to visit Brisbane.
In 2015, a competition by travel guidebook Rough Guides saw Brisbane elected as one of the top ten most beautiful cities in the world, citing reasons such as “its winning combination of high-rise modern architecture, lush green spaces and the enormous Brisbane River that snakes its way through the centre before emptying itself into the azure Moreton Bay.
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