The Kangaroo Point cliffs just south of the Story Bridge are a breeze for first-time abseilers (rappellers) -- or so they say. The Riverlife Adventure Centre (tel. 07/3891 5766; www.riverlife.com.au), in the old naval stores building at the base of the cliffs, runs daily abseiling and rock-climbing classes. Abseiling costs A$39 per person and a 2-hour rock-climbing lesson is A$45 per person.
Bike tracks, often shared with pedestrians and in-line skaters, stretch for 400km (248 miles) around Brisbane. One great scenic route, about 9km (5 1/2 miles) long, starts just west of the Story Bridge, sweeps through the Brisbane City Gardens, and follows the river all the way to the University of Queensland campus at St. Lucia. Gardens Cycle Hire (tel. 0408/003 198 mobile; www.brisbanebicyclehire.com) operates from the bicycle station in the City Botanic Gardens, near the Alice Street gate, from 9:30am to 5pm weekdays (closed Tues) and 8:30am to 5:30pm weekends and public holidays. The cost is A$15 for 1 hour up to A$35 for 5 hours or a day or A$40 for 24 hours. Kids' bikes and tandems are also available. All rentals include maps and helmets. Helmets are compulsory in Australia, and there's a A$70 on-the-spot fine for those who don't wear them. The Brisbane City Council (tel. 07/3403 8888) and Brisbane Visitor Information Centre also give out bike maps.
D'Aguilar National Park (formerly known as Brisbane Forest Park), a 28,500-hectare (70,395-acre) expanse of bushland, waterfalls, and rainforest a 20-minute drive north of the city, has hiking trails ranging from just a few hundred meters up to 8km (5 miles). Some tracks have themes -- one highlights the native mammals that live in the park, for example, and another, the 1.8km (just over 1-mile) Mount Coot-tha Aboriginal Art Trail, showcases Aboriginal art, with tree carvings, rock paintings, etchings, and a dance pit. Because the park is so big, most walks depart from one of the seven regional centers, which are up to a 20-minute drive from headquarters. (You will need a car.) Make a day of it and pack a picnic. At Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre, 60 Mount Nebo Rd., The Gap (tel. 1300/723 684; www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/daguilar), you will also find the South East Queensland Wildlife Centre, a showcase of the region's wildlife that is home to a platypus, lungfish, nocturnal wildlife (in a night- house), birds in a walk-through aviary, wallabies, reptiles, and frogs. It is open daily 9am to 4:30pm. Admission is A$6 adults, A$2.90 school children, or A$15 for a family of four. There's a cafe on-site.
In-line skaters can use the network of bike and pedestrian paths. Head down to the Brisbane City Gardens at Alice Street and find your way along the river. SkateBiz, 101 Albert St. (tel. 07/3220 0157), rents blades for A$13 for 2 hours, or A$25 for up to 24 hours. Protective gear is included. Take a photo ID. The store is open from 9am to 5:30pm Monday through Thursday, 9am to 9pm Friday, 9am to 4pm Saturday, and 10am to 4pm Sunday. They also run social skating sessions around Brisbane.
To get out on the Brisbane River, you can rent a kayak from Riverlife Adventure Centre (tel. 07/3891 5766; www.riverlife.com.au), at the base of the Kangaroo Point cliffs, for A$25 per person for 90 minutes. Classes, in which you will learn how to launch the kayak, paddle, turn, stay out of the path of the CityCats, and much more, are run daily and cost A$35 per person. Night kayaking lessons are also run after 6pm and cost A$55 per person. The center is open 9am to 6pm daily.
Brisbane's Bridge Climb
Brisbane seems to have a fascination with building bridges across its wide river. There are 14 (at last count), but the most interesting is the Story Bridge, built in 1940. If you are over 12 years old and at least 130 centimeters (just over 4 ft., 3 in.) tall, you can "climb" this overgrown Meccano set. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb (tel. 1300/254 627 in Australia, or 07/3514 6900; www.storybridgeadventureclimb.com.au) peaks at a viewing platform on top of the bridge, 44m (143 ft.) above the roadway and 80m (262 ft.) above the Brisbane River. This is only the third "bridge climb" in the world (after Sydney's and Auckland's), so make the most of the chance. You'll be rewarded with magnificent 360-degree views of the city, river, and Moreton Bay and its islands. Climbs operate daily and start from the base headquarters at 170 Main St. (at Wharf St.), Kangaroo Point. Day climbs cost A$89 adults and A$76 children ages 10 to 16. Twilight climbs on Monday through Thursday cost A$99 adults and A$84 children, and A$130 adults or A$111 children Friday to Sunday. Night climbs are A$89 adults and A$76 children weekdays and A$99 or A$84 on weekends. Dawn climbs, only on Saturday, cost A$99 adults and A$84 children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.