(credit main pic John Brookes)
Often snubbed for its warmer and wealthier coastal cousins, Brisbane is unfairly underrated as a local holiday destination. Due to its balmy, tropical climate, Brisbane is the perfect destination for a winter weekend adventure, whether it be a girls’ trip or a couples retreat. Here is a guide to the best of Brisbane, with information on how to make the most of the city and it’s surrounds in 72 hours. With flights to Brisbane operating a few times a day from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, there has never been a better time to experience Brisbane.
Where to Stay
Some of the best accommodation sits in the Brisbane Central Business District, close to public transport, various dining options and complemented by stunning river views. Board an express train straight from the domestic airport right into the heart of the city, which is populated by a mixture of chic boutique and big-brand name hotels. If you’re in search of a younger and funkier vibe, you are probably best to pursue accommodation options within the neighbouring party district of Fortitude Valley.
How to Get Around
The Brisbane ferries or “CityCats” are by far the coolest way to cruise the city area. Brisbane operates a fleet of nine CityFerries and 19 CityCats that depart every 13 minutes (for most of the day) across a network of 24 different terminals. The Brisbane train system is also extremely tourist friendly, making it a clean, safe and generally very reliable form of transport. Brisbane by foot is another great option, as the city itself is very compact, and there are connecting walkways and bridges to the various tourist precincts including South Bank, Fortitude Valley and New Farm.
Where to Eat
If you fancy yourself to be a bit of a foodie, or a budding wine connoisseur, you’ve come to the right place. Brisbane offers a great coffee culture, and a brilliant small bar scene. South Bank is a great option for lunch or evening restaurant dining, as is West End and the central city. If you are keen for a night out on the town, you can’t go past Fortitude Valley, which offers an extensive choice of cuisines and a happening nightclub scene.
Where to Shop
Queen Street Mall is one of the most successful pedestrian malls in Australia, catering for over 26 million visitors each year. The mall plays host to over 700 hundred retailers with a mixture of local and international brands. If you’re after something more high-end, you can trot down the neighbouring Edward Street, which is home to range of big-name designer boutiques. If you’re in the mood for more cutting-edge or alternative fashion, try Fortitude Valley, New Farm or the South Bank markets, which are popular haunts for both local and up-and-coming designers.
What to Do
Visit Brisbane’s cultural quarter, South Bank, for a myriad of exhibitions, shows and live performances, all year round. South Bank is home to the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, alongside many dining and wining options. Enjoy spectacular city views from The Wheel of Brisbane, also located at South Bank, or cruise straight across the river to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, where you can catch a stunning sunset.
If you want to escape city-living on a Sunday, take a short ferry ride out to one of the surrounding islands, including Peel and Coochiemudlo Islands or North and South Stradbroke Islands. For a real treat, take a day trip to the stunning Moreton Bay/Moreton Islands, which exist only 25 kilometres from Brisbane city. Here, you can indulge in some of the best diving in the world, and partake in various outdoor activities including quad biking, surfing and sand tobogganing. Moreton and Stradbroke Islands are the second and third largest sand islands in the world, and their bright blue waters, golden beaches and abundant marine life will make you feel like you have just stepped onto the set of a Hollywood movie.
About the Author: Debbie Tomkins is a blogger based in Brisbane. Having spent time in London, Paris, Melbourne and Sydney, she believes there is no better city than good ol’ Brizzy.