Secret Brisbane: A Tale of Two River Pathways

The View of the Brisbane River and the Storey Bridge
The View of the Brisbane River and the Storey Bridge

The sun almost blinded me as it rose above the crystal clear Brisbane skyline.  The sky promised yet another autumnal blue sky day to me and the many others who were enjoying the pathway either on foot or by bicycle.

At 6am the place to be in Brisbane is on the inner city bicycle and pedestrian pathways beside the Brisbane River.  And rightly so!  The views are glorious and the pathways are totally separate from the traffic so you can enjoy your walk or ride in safety.  In most parts the pathways also have separated pedestrian and cycle lanes.

The View of the Brisbane River and the Storey Bridge
The View of the Brisbane River and the Storey Bridge

The Brisbane River

A key characteristic of Brisbane is the sometimes temperamental and distinctive twisty turny river which runs through it.  Following three major floods in the past century every Brisbane resident is keenly aware of the risks imposed by living close to the Brisbane River.

How to Walk or Cycle in Inner City Brisbane

Brisbane CityCycle Bicycle Stand
Brisbane CityCycle Bicycle Stand

From Brisbane city there are two easily accessible options to both the east and west of the city centre.

You can either walk or hire a handy Brisbane CityCycle bicycle.  Both pathways are well serviced by public transport including trains, buses and ferries so you can do either of these pathways in either a circular or one way approach.  As you can see on the map both pathways are readily accessible from any point in the city centre so structure your outing to suit your location.

Storey Bridge, Riverside and Kangaroo Point Route

My favourite loop is on the eastern side of the city.  You can travel this route in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction.  The route is mostly flat with only a couple of smaller hills and ascents.  There are many Brisbane CityCycle stations along the route so you can either do all or part of the route on a bicycle.  You can walk the full route in as short as 1 hour if you are walking quickly.  Using a bicycle you can complete this route within 30-45 minutes.

The route details are below.

  • Start in the Riverside area on the eastern side of the city
  • Head north to the northern end of the Storey Bridge
The Brisbane Riverside Walk
The Brisbane Riverside Walk
  • Cross over the spectacular Storey Bridge in a southwards direction on the pedestrian pathway
Crossing the Storey Bridge in Brisbane
Crossing the Storey Bridge in Brisbane
  • Head southwards beside the Kangaroo Point Cliffs all the way to Southbank
View from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs Riverside Walkway in Brisbane
View from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs Riverside Walkway in Brisbane
  • Cross northwards across the Goodwill Bridge
  • Either cut back to the city or take the pathway around the edge of the Brisbane City Botanical gardens to rejoin the Riverside area.

If you travel the route anticlockwise the only tricky part is finding the on ramp onto the Storey Bridge pathway.  At the Thornton Street Ferry terminal which is beside the Kangaroo Point Cliffs you need to leave the bicycle path and go up the hill to the footpath beside Main Street which provides access to the pathway on the western side of the Storey Bridge.  There is also a pathway on the eastern side of the Storey Bridge which can be safely accessed via an underpass under Main Street.  Both pathways are readily accessible at both the Northern and Southern ends of the Storey Bridge.

Brisbane Bicentennial Bicycle Path from the Botanic Gardens to Toowong Route

My other favourite loop is on the western side of the city.  Again you can travel this route in either direction and there are multiple options to reduce the length of this route

You can walk the full route in as short as 2 hours if you are walking quickly.  Using a bicycle you can complete this route within one hour at a fast pedal.  The route is mostly gently undulating.

The route details are below.

  • Start at the Bicentennial Bikeway which parallels the river on the northern side.  There are multiple entry and exit points between the Botanic Gardens and the Go Between Bridge.
Bicentennial Pathway in Brisbane, Australia
Bicentennial Pathway in Brisbane, Australia – If you look to the right hand side of the photo you can see the pathway which goes underneath the bridges.
  • Continue along the pathway on the northern side of the river until you reach the end of the pathway just before the high black glass of Toowong Tower.  There is both the Toowong Train Station and the Regatta Ferry Terminal in Toowong if you wish to do this route as a one way walk or cycle.  There is a CityCycle stand beside the ferry terminal to enable you to return your bike.
Rowing on the Brisbane River
Rowing on the Brisbane River
  • If you plan to continue the loop then turn around and return along the Bicentenniel Bikeway.  The view returning is just as spectacular!
Pleasant Cycling along the Traffic Free Bicentennial Cycleway in Brisbane
Pleasant Cycling along the Traffic Free Bicentennial Cycleway in Brisbane
  • Turn onto the Go Between Bridge and cross over.  If you have a CityCycle bike you will probably need to walk the bike up the hill to the mid point of the bridge but the views are worth it (see the photo below)!
View along the Brisbane River from the City Towards Toowong from the peak of the Go Between Bridge
View along the Brisbane River from the City Towards Toowong from the peak of the Go Between Bridge
  • Once you are on the Southbank side turn left and follow the road until you arrive at the Kurilpa Bridge.  The Kurilpa Bridge provides great views over the Brisbane River in both directions.  You can either use the bridge to head back to the city or continue along the Southbank pathway.
Views from the Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane, Australia
Views from the Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane, Australia – you can see the Southbank pathway to the right hand side of the photo
  • The pathway will take you along the Southbank Parklands where there are many options to stop and explore further.  Ultimately you will arrive at the Goodwill Bridge where you can cross over back to the Botanic Gardens and back along the Bicentennial bikeway to where you started.

 

The Ferris Wheel at Southbank in Brisbane, Australia
The Ferris Wheel at Southbank in Brisbane, Australia

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Have you also explore the river pathways of Brisbane?  Or have I now inspired you to check them out?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Comments

    • Bronwyn, thanks for your comment. I agree that I prefer to be in bed at 6am, but recently I have been doing periodic residential weeks in Brisbane for university where I am inside for the whole day and for the whole week! As a result getting out to explore in the early morning has been my only real option to enjoy the city and get some exercise. And Brisbane is such a lovely city that it would be a shame to miss it while I am there…

  • I have walked along a couple of these pathways along the Brisbane River and would have to agree are very spectacular. You can also catch a ferry across the river at various points which adds a big of interest to the walk/cycle.

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