Brisbane transport is good, with most services running on time and rarely packed outside of rush hour times.
Of course, if you have to use central city services during rush hour, be prepared to be smushed up next to the people around you.
The best part of Brisbane transport is that the CityCat see image on right, the CityFerry seen in the photo below, the buses and the trains are all run by the Brisbane City Council.
You only need one ticket to ride every service. If you get a daily ticket, you can ride every service in your zones as many times as you want all day. The ticket prices depend on how many zones you are traveling in.
The city center is zone 1 and the zones radiate out... and continue all the way to the Gold Coast and to the Sunshine Coast, which are both in the zone 17+ range. To figure out how much each ticket costs is a simple matter of knowing how many zones you will be crossing.
You can get a map from transportation information centers, to check the corresponding price. For example, if you're going from Zone 7 to Zone 4 you will be traveling through 4 zones... zones 4, 5, 6 & 7. There are also child rates and full-time Queensland student rates. Of course prices can change, so check with the centre before traveling.
If you don't know which zones you'll be traveling in, you can relax as the drivers/ticket sellers can figure it out for you. This is probably an easier option than trying to figure it out yourself.
If you will only be traveling between 9am and 3:30pm or after 7pm then you can get an off-peak daily, which will be cheaper than a regular daily ticket.
Tickets can be bought on CityCats, City Ferries, buses, and at the entrance to train stations. If you're unsure as to the best way of getting to your destination, the website www.translink.com.au has a journey planner which will tell you the best ways to get there and the fare you'll pay.
Taking a train, for example, is a really nice way to get to the airport. It only takes about 20 minutes from downtown and cuts out all the hassle with parking.
The city buses run an efficient service around the city and out to the suburbs. In the city there are two major underground bus stations, one under the Queen St Mall.
The photo shows buses leaving the underground station. There is another at King George Square in front of the City Hall. Most city bus stops have electronic display boards which tell you the exact time of each bus.
Time tables for the buses are available from the Council Customer Service Centre, the Queen Street Station and most newsagents and libraries.
© Len Matthews | Flickr.com - Brisbane Buses
Downtown Brisbane has a free bus service that runs from Central Station, Queen St Mall, Botanical Gardens, Riverside Centre and the King George station This can be useful if you are tired from walking around the city all day.
There's also a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus which runs throughout the city and up to other attractions, such as Mount Coot-tha. The buses, when linked with the CityCat routes are also great for shopping in Brisbane, going to the Brisbane Markets, or even better going to Chinatown.
The Brisbane river is a beautiful part of the city, but it is also troublesome if you're trying to get to the other side of it.
There are five vehicle bridges that cross the river in the city center. Although there are some more further out, it still leads to come congestion.
This makes going to the other side of the river a hassle as you have to drive through the city just to get to the other side. The best way to shorten your trip is to take either the CityCat or City Ferry across the river.
© eGuideTravel | Flickr.com - Brisbane City Cat
City Ferries are smaller boats serving the inner city between North Quay and Sydney St and are similar to the CityCats. Another great service from the city transit is free rides to major cricket games at the Gabba or just beating the usual parking problems at major sports events at the Cauldron.
The train system around Brisbane is the easiest way, apart from driving, to get to more outer locations.
It can take you from the Gold Coast up to the Sunshine Coast and out west to Ipswich and east to Cleveland as well as most of the surrounding suburbs of Brisbane.
However, the Airtrain shuttles to and from the Brisbane airport are more expensive than the regular City Council transport.
© Geoff | Flickr.com - AirTrain at the Brisbane Airport
If you're flying into the Gold Coast airport you can take transportation up to Brisbane. It takes about 2 hours and about 3 or 4 transfers, which is longer time and more hassle than renting a car and driving. It may still be worth considering if you aren't familiar with driving on the left.
© Brisbane City Council | Flickr.com - Brisbane City Cycle
If you want a great way to explore the city consider renting a bike for the day and using the over 500km of bikeways around. If you're an avid cycler or just really adventurous you can cycle all the way out to Moreton Bay from Brisbane.