Hear some of Brisbane’s best stories and embark on an incredible journey with Brisbane’s Time Traveller.

Brisbane Time Traveller Tours

Natalie provides small group tours specialising in areas of natural and cultural history in Brisbane and its surrounds. Her tours are designed to reveal some of Brisbane’s most intriguing and inspiring stories. The aim is to engage, enrich, and entertain visitors to Brisbane. Look forward to a memorable experience!

There are two main tour experience options for your time travelling journey with Natalie. Choose one of Natalie’s ‘City Heritage Walking Tours’ or you may choose one of her ‘Famous Locals Performance Tours’.

City Heritage Walking Tours
On offer is a surprising and revealing experience that will really connect you to Brisbane. These itineraries cover a wide range of city sights, themes, and personalities. Shared stories will highlight Brisbane’s journey throughout time … where we have been and who we are now, creating a sense of where we might be heading into the future.

Famous Locals Performance Tours
Would you like to actually encounter a famous local from Brisbane’s past who has time-travelled back to Brisbane to give you a direct perspective of what things were really like? These immersive tour experiences are more like a ‘moving stage’ performance and can involve creative storytelling elements such as dance, song and poetry. Ultimately, such an interactive journey will have you feeling that you really have uniquely travelled to another time and place!

Tours

Brisbane Firsts Tour

Brisbane Firsts Tour

City Heritage Walking Tour Option 1

Learn about Brisbane’s many ‘City Firsts’. This tour involves visiting some of the most famous sights of Brisbane while listening to unusual tales, stories and curiosities.

Discover the city’s heritage journey as a birthplace of new ideas, innovations, and intriguing events. This fun tour features over 100 facts and unique tales of Brisbane’s buildings, history, transport, technology, religion, science, music, food, education, sports, industry, culture, literature and politics.

  • This is a great introductory tour to Brisbane and to Brisbane’s Time Traveller!
  • 2 hours duration
  • Meet in King George Square outside Brisbane City Hall
  • All tour bookings will have a maximum of 8
  • Brisbane Firsts Tour online booking price is $80 per person, based on a minimum of 2 people per booking. Available Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tour Times: 10am – 12pm; 2pm – 4pm
  • Brisbane Firsts Private Tour online booking price is $500, based on a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 8 people per exclusive booking. Available 7 days a week. Times are negotiable.
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Brisbane “Tuff Talking” Tour

Brisbane “Tuff Talking” Tour

City Heritage Walking Tour Option 2

Buildings and monuments are endlessly intriguing: things of beauty, symbols of their age and emblems of human endeavour. Brisbane’s earliest architectural beginnings were sprung from some of the most pinky-red, limey-green, bluey-grey and purpley-plum rock you’ll ever see – it’s called Brisbane tuff stone, it’s a type of volcanic rock unique to Brisbane, and it heralds from the ancient Triassic age.

You often hear the expression … ‘If only these walls could talk!’. On Brisbane “Tuff Talking” Tour, you’ll find the heritage building walls and other structures doing exactly that as you begin to hear of their surprising natural and cultural secrets that have long been hidden since the most ancient time in our city’s journey!

  • 2 hours duration
  • Meet at ANZAC Square Adelaide St side
  • All private tour bookings will have a maximum of 8
  • Please contact me for more details and pricing
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Women of Brisbane Tour

Women of Brisbane Tour

City Heritage Walking Tour Option 3

Balancing the gender of Brisbane’s history books can reveal some of the most incredible tales about the role women have played in shaping our city. Be inspired by how much women have impacted both Brisbane and our lives.

The fascinating stories shared at prominent sites around the city will also deepen your appreciation of many aspects of the journey that local Brisbane women have made to achieve a more fulfilling role in their own lives.

  • 2 hours duration
  • Meet in Reddacliff Place at the Steam sphere sculptures
  • All private tour bookings will have a maximum of 8
  • Please contact me for more details and pricing
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Choose Your Own Brisbane Tailored Tour

Choose Your Own Brisbane Tailored Tour

Heritage Walking Tour Option 4

Do you have other special interests or requirements? Let me know what kind of experience makes you really tick! It would be my pleasure to customise a completely unique Brisbane journey just for you, with focus areas and activities of your own choosing!

  • Please be mindful that even a Time Traveller may require some advance booking notice so that this experience is ‘timeless’.
  • Half or Full Day Itineraries offered
  • All private tour bookings will have a maximum of 8
  • Please contact me for more details and pricing
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Lady Diamantina Bowen Tour

Lady Diamantina Bowen Tour

Famous Locals Performance Tour Option 1

Your Time Travelling Tour Host: Meet the famous Lady Diamantina Bowen (played by Natalie Cowling), First Lady of Old Government House Brisbane.

About the Tour:
Become acquainted with one of Queensland’s most influential women, Lady Diamantina Roma Bowen. A woman renowned for introducing a sense of elegance into the new colony and for establishing the social and cultural blueprint for the growing Brisbane community. Queensland’s impressive First Lady (1859 – 1868) makes a return to see how Brisbane’s journey has progressed since she laid some of its most vital social cornerstones. She will give a rich insight on life in early Brisbane. You’ll connect with Lady Diamantina on a more personal level as she gives you an exclusive and insightful tour of Old Government House.

Operational Details:
Meeting Place: At the Lady Diamantina Bowen Statue, located in the Old Government House Garden (near reception)
Tour Experience Duration: 2 hours
Private group tour bookings are required. All tours will have a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 20.
Please contact me for more details and pricing.

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Brisbane’s HerStory Tour

Brisbane’s HerStory Tour

Famous Locals Performance Tour Option 2

Your Time Travelling Tour Host:
Meet the famous Rosa Praed (played by Natalie Cowling), Australia’s first internationally published author.

About the Tour:
Get to know your famous guide, novelist Rosa Caroline Praed (1851 – 1935), a woman well ahead of her time. She returns with her quick wit and social commentary, revealing deeper insight into the experience of local women through ‘Brisbane’s HerStory’. From her perspective, strolling Brisbane’s streets and parklands together, you will discover many of the extraordinary female characters who have contributed to our city’s soul. Learn how challenges were faced and how innovation has been achieved across the spectrum … marriage, science, politics, education, employment and careers, transport, religion, cultural awareness perspectives, the arts … all will be revealed!

Operational Details:
Meeting Place: Outside the School of Arts Building, 166 Ann Street, Brisbane
Tour Experience Duration: 3 hours (All tours will have a minimum of 4 people & a maximum of 15)
Private group tour bookings are required. Please contact me for more details and pricing.

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Natalie Cowling

Brisbane’s Time Traveller

Your Storyteller and Tour Host

Widely acclaimed as Brisbane’s “time traveller” due to her deep enthusiasm for Brisbane’s heritage and some of its most extraordinary leading ladies, Natalie has formed ‘Brisbane Time Traveller Tours’ as a significant arm of her company, Talk of the Town Storytelling Services. Natalie is an avid researcher, actor, dancer, musician and energetic tour host who is passionate about living in Brisbane and sharing its stories. Her tours around Brisbane and in some of its premier venues have been excitedly received by both locals and visitors alike.

In Natalie’s words…

“I love getting to the real essence of a story and sparking curiosity … bringing to life some of Brisbane’s most fascinating moments and people across time involves taking a specialised approach to the way I deliver my experiences. My audiences can always expect the unexpected with me … it’s all about taking people on a journey.”

What Natalie’s visitors say …

What Natalie’s visitors say …
‘What a GREAT way to explore Brisbane! Historically accurate, informative, FUN, wonderful places to see. Can't recommend this enough.’ - Annie
What Natalie’s visitors say …
‘Natalie's passion for history and storytelling made the past come alive. I saw things I'd never seen before but pass by every day, and was constantly astonished!’ - Leonie
What Natalie’s visitors say …
‘What a phenomenal experience. It was an entertaining, exciting and wonderful journey and I will certainly be recommending it far and wide as a must do in Brisbane.’ – Tegan
  • ‘What a GREAT way to explore Brisbane! Historically accurate, informative, FUN, wonderful places to see. Can't recommend this enough.’

    Annie
  • ‘Natalie's passion for history and storytelling made the past come alive. I saw things I'd never seen before but pass by every day, and was constantly astonished!’

    Leonie
  • ‘What a phenomenal experience. It was an entertaining, exciting and wonderful journey and I will certainly be recommending it far and wide as a must do in Brisbane.’

    Tegan
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Timely Tales

Natalie shares her time travelling insights about Brisbane, Now and Then …

Why Time-Travel?

A sparkle in her eye, she announces to me, “I feel like I have spent the morning with a woman from another time. You are like a Time-Traveller!”

I have heard this many times recently. This is generally how it will go: I have just finished hosting a theatrical tour. It is maybe Brisbane’s HerStory and I have ‘become’ the famous Australian author of over 40 novels, Rosa Praed. Rosa was born just outside of Brisbane in 1851. Or maybe I have just finished ‘becoming’ Brisbane’s First Lady, Diamantina Roma Bowen at Old Government House. Diamantina made her incredible mark on Brisbane during the years of 1859 till 1868.

My questioner will continue, “Tell me how you got into this, and what’s your real name?” Between you and me, I sometimes have to think about that one. I smile, “Hmm, let me see, who am I today?”

Time-Travelling, to me, is all about immersive story-telling. Really jumping into the narrative. Finding the connections between the people and the action. I wonder how these players in our history (and herstory) related to each other. Who did they know and work with and share their lives with? Then I try to understand or imagine what drove them, inspired them or broke them. This type of story-telling is also about ‘connecting’ into the essence of that story. Then I try to tell it, show it, express it, to an audience of today, in first-person, with a little bit of theatricality thrown in.

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Purple Rain in Brisbane

Springtime in Brisbane, with its sudden bursts of purple haze along the tree lined streets, surely is the most naturally vibrant time of the year in this beautiful city. This hue makes me feel more colourfully creative and just that little bit more alive. The fairytale quality of a Jacaranda Tree in full bloom makes the Brisbane streets feel romantic and picturesque. I even feel more curious about what the day might bring. On the flip side, many locals are also transported back in time to their university days when the purple season heralded the beginning of the university examination period. Students thought that if a purple petal fell upon their head it meant bad luck, however for everyone else, not doing exams, it meant good luck. I am imagining lots of head bobbing in Brisbane either way.

A September spark of curiosity has enticed me to uncover more stories (is this even possible?) and even more angles and ways to look at our fair city. Hmm … I think I may need to wear a new hat for the occasion and gather some pretty flowers for its broad brim. I think I shall become ‘Miranda Jacaranda’ just for 6 weeks.

You see, when I was Time Travelling (that’s what I tend to do) as Lady Diamantina Bowen (1833-1893), I loved gardening and I personally knew the first curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mr Walter Hill. Now there’s a curious man! He planted the very first Jacaranda Tree in Australia in 1864 very near to my home, Old Government House.

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Purple Rain in Brisbane

The Winds of Change

I was on foot, as usual. This surely is the best way to get to know a city. A practical way that links and connects me with Brisbane’s many fascinating stories from now and then.

As I walked I perceived a slightly uneven surface underfoot, only to notice I had stepped onto ancient Brisbane Tuff Stone. This volcanic rock, rich orange and green in colour, began it’s life some 250 million years ago. How old it is. And how new am I.

My journey continues, traffic lights flashing as I cross from Albert Street and over Turbot Street. I imagined the hustle and bustle of the Turbot Street Fruit and Vegetable Markets that would have been busily trading right in front of me - if it were 1885. I imagine back 134 years to hardworking young boys lifting hardwood packing boxes, stacking and sorting, sizing and selling.

My Time Travelling journey, on foot, now alerts my ears to hear the rushing of water from one of Brisbane’s many fountains. Just sometimes, like today, an extra treat is felt as a gentle spray falls upon my face, as the wind catches the water at just the right moment.

Next stop will be the beautiful Roma Street Gardens. Ah, the story links continue. Lady Diamantina Roma Bowen never did get to see this magnificent parkland that takes her name. I feel that I just know she would have adored the themed gardens and web of pathways. At a size of 16 hectares, it is the world’s largest subtropical garden in a city centre. And it is fast becoming one of my favourite ‘inspiration’ places.

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The Winds of Change

Contact

Natalie Cowling

please contact for pricing