This modern complex stretching along the south bank of the Brisbane River houses many of the city’s performing-arts venues as well as the state art galleries, museum, and library. With plenty of open plazas and fountains, it is a pleasing place to wander or just sit and watch the river and the city skyline. It’s a 7-minute walk from town, across the Victoria Bridge from the Queen Street Mall.
The Queensland Performing Arts Centre ([tel] 13 62 46 for bookings Mon–Sat 9am–8:30pm; www.qpac.com.au) houses the 2,000-seat Lyric Theatre for musicals, ballet, and opera; the 1,800-seat Concert Hall for orchestral performances; the 850-seat Playhouse theater for plays; and the 315-seat Cremorne Theatre for theater-in-the-round, cabaret, and experimental works. The complex has a restaurant and a cafe.
This is where you will come for performances by the Queensland Theatre Company (www.qldtheatreco.com.au), which offers eight or nine productions a year, from the classics to new Australian works; Opera Queensland (www.operaqueensland.com.au), which performs a lively repertoire of traditional as well as modern works, musicals, and choral concerts; and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (www.thequeenslandorchestra.com.au), which provides classical music lovers with a diverse mix of orchestral and chamber music, with the odd foray into fun material, such as movie themes, pop, and gospel music. It schedules about 30 concerts a year.
The Queensland Art Gallery ★★★ ([tel] 07/3840 7303; www.qagoma.qld.gov.au) is one of Australia’s most attractive galleries, with vast light-filled spaces and interesting water features inside and out. It is a major player in the Australian art world, attracting blockbuster exhibitions of works by the likes of Renoir, Picasso, and van Gogh and showcasing diverse modern Australian painters, sculptors, and other artists. It also has an impressive collection of Aboriginal art. The adjacent Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) ★★★ houses collections of modern and contemporary Australian, indigenous Australian, Asian, and Pacific art and also gives a stunning sense of light and space. Admission is free to both galleries, and both run regular free tours that take around 30 to 40 minutes. Tours of each gallery’s collection highlights are held daily at 2pm, and at GOMA you can tour the highlights of the Indigenous Australian Art Collection at 11am and 1pm daily. The galleries are open Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm and weekends and public holidays 9am to 5pm; closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, and until noon on Anzac Day (Apr 25).