Ilya Genkin Fine Art Landscape Photography, Travel Photography

Photography, Australian Landscape Photography, Panoramic Photos,
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Brisbane's and Gold Coast's Best Photography Locations


North Burleigh at Sunrise from Miami Lookout, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


After putting together a list of my favourite Sydney's photography locations, I think it's time time to start developing a list of great photography locations in Brisbane, Gold Coast and National parks nearby. Due to proximity of these two cities and the National Parks I decided to combine them into one photography guide. It is constantly being updated as I get out and explore more. As usually all these places and lookouts are easily accessible by foot, public transport or by taxi/car. I also provided links to Google Maps and The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE).

Location 1: Brisbane from Wilson Outlook Reserve

The Story Bridge and Brisbane at Sunrise, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

The Story Bridge and Brisbane at Sunrise, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


Wilsons Outlook Reserve at New Farm is one of two great vantage points in Brisbane. You get spectacular view of the Story Bridge, with the panoramic of the city skyline as your backdrop. It's perfect for sunrises, sunsets and night shots. Also it's worth to mention that Jacaranda flowering season is mid October to early November and they add an new dimension to an already stunning location. It's a perfect sport for panoramic photography. You will need ultra-wide and wide angle lenses for this location or moderately long telephoto lens if you want to shoot panorama.
Location: Wilsons Lookout Reserve, Bowen Terrace (near the corner of Bowen Street), New Farm. Parking could be a problem in the evening somtimes, but it's possible to find a parking spot on the streets nearby.

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Location 2: Brisbane from Kangaroo Point

Brisbane City after Sunset, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Brisbane City after Sunset, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


The top of Kangaroo Point Cliffs is another great vantage point in Brisbane. Unbelievable views along the Brisbane River and the Brisbane CBD, with the Story Bridge to the North and Southbank to the south. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the whole length of the cliffs and you can walk along the top, or take the stairs (one set near the rotunda at the southern end, another near the cafe at the northern end) down to the riverside below. It's perfect for sunsets and night shots as the sun usually goes down right behind the city so you can pick up the beautiful colours in the sky, however sunrises could be nice as well. It's also a perfect sport for panoramic photography. You will need wide angle lenses or moderately long telephoto lens if you want to shoot panorama.
Location: River Terrace, Kangaroo Point. Parking is not a problem - there are always plenty of parking spots there.

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Location 3: Brisbane from William Jolly Bridge

Brisbane City and Kurilpa Bridge after Sunset, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Brisbane City and Kurilpa Bridge after Sunset, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


William Jolly Bridge is a very nice location for shooting Brisbane skyline overlooking Brisbane River, Brisbane City, the Southbank, Kurilpa Bridge and Victoria Bridge. It's perfect for sunsets and night shots. Sunrises could be good if there are nice high clouds in the sky. You will need wide angle lenses or moderately long telephoto lens if you want to shoot panorama. Because it's a bridge it's shaking on long exposures so try to shoot when the traffic on the bridge is minimal.
Location: William Jolly Bridge, Brisbane City. Parking is not permitted on the bridge. You need to park on the streets nearby and then walk to the bridge.

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Location 4: Surfers Paradise from Evandale Park

Surfers Paradise at Sunset, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

Surfers Paradise at Sunset, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia


The Evandale Park offer amazing views over the Nerang River. The Surfers Paradise skyline is your backdrop, making a beautiful photographic opportunity. It's perfect for sunsets, but could be good for sunrises if you have nice high clouds in the sky. You will need wide angle lenses or moderately long telephoto lens if you want to shoot panorama.
Location: 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise. You can get there by public transport or by car. There are always plenty of parking there.

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Location 5: Gold Coast from Q1 SkyPoint Observation Deck

Surfer's Paradise after Sunset, Q1, Surfer's Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland (QLD), Australia

Surfer's Paradise after Sunset, Q1, Surfer's Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland (QLD), Australia


This is a great location for a 'birds eye' view of the Gold Coast. It's perfect for sunsets but it can get crowded so if you're heading there to catch the sunset then arrive early. Sunrise shots are not possible as the observation deck opens from 7:30am till 9:00pm on weekdays and till late on Friday and Saturday. Ticket costs $24 for adults. They allow to use tripods. It is worth noting that you can only shoot through the glass and being double glazed it presents all sorts of problems so make sure you take a little bit of glass cleaner and a dark cloth to get rid of the reflections on the outer pane of glass. You will need wide angle lenses for this location.
Location: 3003 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise. You can get there by public transport or by car. Parking is always the problem there.

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Location 6: Gold Coast from Mick Schamburg Park / Miami Lookout

Dramatic Sunrise at Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Dramatic Sunrise at Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


There've been some mixed feelings over the years as to whether this hill claims the title of North Burleigh Hill or Miami Hill, though Google will insist the official landmark is in fact Mick Schamburg Park Lookout. Regardless of its designation, the lookout at the top of Mick Schamburg Park is a perfect sunrise location with amazing views of the Gold Coast on the North and Burleigh Heads on the South. You will need all range of lenses from wide angle to telephoto depending on you preference.
Location: Mick Schamburg Park / Miami Lookout is located at the end of Kelly Ave corner of The Esplanade. Usually there are plenty of parking spots there.

North Burleigh/Miami Lookout, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

North Burleigh/Miami Lookout, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


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Location 7: Gold Coast from The Southport Spit

Surfers Paradise at Sunrise, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

Surfers Paradise at Sunrise, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia


The Southport Spit (also referred to as The Spit) lies opposite of Southport to the north of Main Beach, Gold Coast. It is a permanent sand spit that separates the Southport Broadwater from the Pacific Ocean. On the end of The Spit is the Gold Coast Sand Pumping Jetty, a popular destination for fishermen and part of the Gold Coast Seaway's Sand Bypassing System. It's a great place to photograph Surfers Paradise at sunrise. Sunsets could be good as well if you have nice clouds in the sky. You will need telephoto lenses for this location.
Location: At the end of Seaworld Drive, Main Beach. There are always plenty of parking there.

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Location 8: Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, QLD, Australia

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, QLD, Australia


Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park is a stunning combination of sculptured landforms and lush green rainforest. It is the jewel in the Gold Coast hinterland crown and a very popular photographic spot worth to visit. A Tripod is a must and, as most of the water is exposed to direct sunlight, ND filters on a normal day would also be a must. Early morning or late afternoon will give you the kindest light unless you strike a foggy day. Wide angle lens is required for this location. Comfortable shoes and water for the round trip are also advisable. As this is a national park, take in what you need in terms of food and water and leave only footprints.
Location: The Springbrook National Park and Natural bridge is a about 1.5 hours drive from central Brisbane or 50 minutes from the popular Gold Coast beach of Surfers Paradise. Exit the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road for 38km. Turn left into the park entrance. An alternative scenic route is 42km via the Springbrook plateau from Mudgeeraba. From the Pacific Motorway take exit 80 from the south or exit 79 from the north and follow the Gold Coast–Springbrook Road to the plateau then turn right onto Pine Creek Road. Follow Pine Creek Road to the end and then turn left onto the Nerang–Murwillumbah Road. Natural Bridge can also be reached from Murwillumbah by following the Numinbah Road for 28km. The scenic access roads are winding and should be travelled with care. From the car park you can get to the Natural Bridge via a sealed 1km return circuit track. Allow about 1hr walking time. Due to long sets of stairs, it is easier to walk this track in a clockwise direction.

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Location 9: Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park

Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park, QLD, Australia

Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park, QLD, Australia


Elabana Falls is one of many stunning waterfalls in Lamington National Park and is popular with photographers. Beautiful picturesque and lush tropical areas, a haven for wildlife and exquisite ferns. The waterfalls cascades from high above into a large crisp clean pond and then overflows into a number of other smaller waterfalls. A Tripod is a must and, as most of the water is exposed to direct sunlight, ND filters on a normal day would also be a must. Early morning or late afternoon will give you the kindest light unless you strike a foggy day. Wide angle or normal lens is required for this location. Comfortable shoes and water for the round trip are also advisable. As this is a national park, take in what you need in terms of food and water and leave only footprints.
Location: From Broadbeach, drive 40km to Canungra via Nerang. From the north, take Pacific Motorway exit 34 to Beenleigh, route 92 to Tamborine, and route 90 to Canungra. The 36 km winding and often narrow bitumen road from Canungra requires care and takes at least 50min. This road is unsuitable for recreational vehicles (RVs) longer than 4m and vehicles towing caravans and camper trailers. From the car part follow Main Border track. The walk to Elabana Falls is approximately 7.6 kilometres (return) and will take most walkers approximately 3 hours to complete the round trip. The Elabana Falls Track branches of the Main Border track about 1.7 kilometres from the entrance of the park. You will then need to turn right at the Box Forest turn off where you will arrive at Picnic Rock, walk another 400 metres to find Elabana Falls. Picnic Rock is a good spot to stop for lunch as you are surrounded by the beautiful rainforest. If you intend to walk the entire Box Forest Circuit, Parks Queensland recommend that you walk in a clockwise direction and exit via Elabana Falls and Picnic Rock.

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Ratings
RatingScenic Value
Of no particular interest
Mildly interesting, visit if nearby and/or time permitting
Scenic location, worthy of a visit
Very interesting, scenic or original location
Remarkably scenic or rewarding location, a highlight
Word-class location, absolutely tops
  
RatingPhotographic Interest
Of no particular photographic interest
Worth of quick photo
Good photo opportunity
Good photographic potential and scenic subjects
Outstanding photographic potential, highly original or scenic subject
Worls-class photographic location, "photographer's dream"
  
RatingRoad Difficulty
Paved road, accessible to all normal-size vehicles
Dirt road accessible without difficulty by a passenger car (under normal conditions)
Minor obstacles, accessible by passenger car with caution (under good conditions)
High-clearance required, but no major difficulty
High-clearance 4WD required, some obstacles, no real danger
High-clearance 4WD required, some risk to vehicle & passenges, experienced drivers only
  
RatingTrail Difficulty
No or very little walking (close to parking area)
Easy short walk (<= 1h r/t), for everybody
Moderate hike (1 to 3hr r/t) with no major difficulty or short hike with some minor difficulties
Moderate to strenuous (3 to 6hr r/t) and/or difficulties (evevation gain, difficult terrain, some risks)
Strenuous (>6h r/t) and/or globally difficult (evevation gain, difficult off-terrain, obstacles, risks)
Backpacking required or for extremely fit dayhikers
  

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