Brisbane, known as "Brissie" to the locals, is Australia's third largest city. It attracts crowds, not just because it's a convenient place to stay while enjoying nearby subtropical forests, wildlife and beaches, but in its own right.

Downtown, centered along bends in the Brisbane River, is a vibrant mix of modern skyscrapers and older buildingsā€”some of which date back to the city's days as a penal colony (1824-1845). Its glitzy downtown is intensified by radiant sunshine, and has led to locals coining another nickname: "Brisvegas."

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