This highly varied inner city walking circuit of around 5km takes in old quarries, mangrove boardwalks, river parks, botanic gardens, bridges and the Riverside strip of bars and eateries and except for the stairs up to and down from the Story Bridge is largely flat. Discounted parking is available in the Little Stanley St precinct with a receipt from a local eatery or take a chance on surrounding streets.
1. Starting from the bougainvillea arbor in the vicinity of the Maritime Museum, head towards Kangaroo Point, where the path soon morphs into a water dragon patronised boardwalk at the base of the old Kangaroo Point cliffs. Until 1976 these rocky gashes were part of an operational quarry that supplied many of Brisbane’s historical buildings with their distinctive greenish pink porphyry (or tuff) stone.
The Riverlife Adventure Centre which inhabits the heritage listed naval store at the base of the cliffs has turned them into a hot spot for city climbers and also rents out bikes, kayaks and rollerblades to bored walkers at reasonable rates.
2. The rest of the path to the Story Bridge is a delightful jumble of tiny pocket parks with picnic shelters and playgrounds, a mini mangrove forest, steel Expo ’88 sculptures and benches.
3. At the far tip under the Story Bridge is Captain Burke Park with its silty sand beach at low tide and Yungaba, the grand Victorian Italianate ex migrants hostel that is soon to be swallowed up within a luxury apartment complex. Veer backwards from here into Main St and head up to the historic Story Bridge Hotel (originally the Kangaroo Pt hotel) with its wild frontier style bar in the original section and Shelter Bar in the old bomb shelter at the rear. Turn left into Thornton St and take the pedestrian entrance up to the Story Bridge walkway.
4. Once on the other side, the keen can take a detour via the path to the right which leads to Wilson Outlook with its particularly fine view of the city, the bridge and Kangaroo Point. From here turn back and take the cliff top path until it veers to the left downhill and under the bridge. Pass by the Howard Smith Wharves built in the 1930’s and the last remaining vestiges of the port of Brisbane. From here the promenade leads all the way around past the old copper domed Customs House and into the throng of cafes, bars and restaurants that make up Riverside and Pier Nine. Recommended for a quick bite is Jude, a breezy Hamptons style café bar with views onto the Kookaburra Queen paddle steamer.
5. The boardwalk continues all the way past the Stamford Plaza hotel and into the City Botanic Gardens and amble through the centre to George St and QUT on the far side.
Old Government House built in 1860 to house the first governor of Queensland (Governor Bowen) stands within the grounds at the tip of George St and has a quaint Merlo coffee nook in its courtyard which is worth a stop.
6. Well behind the Old Government House and near to the Riverstage exit of the Gardens is the entrance to the Goodwill Bridge and the final stage of the walk across the river to the Maritime Museum. For a last minute coffee stop in the middle of the bridge at the coffee cart and take a bench to enjoy the view up the river to the distant Taylor Ranges.
7. Or finish with a post walk drink or meal at the historical Ship Inn, the decent gastro pub overlooking the bougainvillea arbor or one of the excellent bar restaurants of River Quay at the water's edge
Suitable for younger children as far as Captain Burke Park then return.