Like much of Australia, Brisbane was settled by the British as a penal colony. With England’s population growing and its prisons overcrowded, the British had for some time sent convicts to its American colonies as an alternative to execution (often for petty crimes), but the American Revolution put an end to that practice. In need of another place to send its prisoners, England turned to Australia (then known as New Holland) in 1788. Brisbane, on the northeastern coast of the continent, was established by the British in 1834; non-convict immigration began in earnest in 1838.
Australia’s third-largest city, the capital of the state of Queensland, Brisbane today offers the sophisticated private-jet traveler plenty of sights and activities. The city’s live music scene is accounted one of the best in the world, so there’s always something playing to fit your taste. The area hosts a wealth of outdoor activities like swimming, rock climbing, hot-air ballooning, boating, hiking and more–climbers can even ascend to the top of Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. And the scenic Australian countryside, with wineries, farms and more, is just a quick drive away.
Must see: Drive or hike to the top of nearby Mt. Coot-tha for a spectacular view overlooking the city, especially at night. The mountaintop has a restaurant and cafe, and several hiking trails wind around its slopes.
Lodging: Spicers Balfour Hotel–This 9-room luxury boutique hotel is conveniently located near many of Brisbane’s most popular attractions. Chic, modern and comfortable, it’s the perfect base of operations once your private jet sets down.
Cuisine: Traditional Australian cuisine is a distinctive mix of aboriginal (known as “bush tucker”) and British and Irish preparations and ingredients. Anzac biscuits, considered a national dish, are a sweet biscuit made of oats and dried coconut that was popularized by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
Ground Transportation: For an open-air journey around the inner city, try a Green Cab bicycle taxi. In addition to standard transportation such as hotel pickups, the cabs offer tours of parts of the city.
Packing Tips: Sunscreen and other types of sun protection are a must to protect against the hole in the ozone layer over Australia.
Recommended Books: Novelist Thea Astley’s stories often take place in Brisbane or other areas of Queensland. The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, her penultimate novel, examines colonialism through the lens of a 1930 act of violence on Queensland’s Palm Island.
Currency: The Australian dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code Australia: 61
Best Travel Dates: Brisbane’s summers (November–March) are hot, humid, and prone to sudden torrential downpours. April, September and October bring the best weather.