There’s a reason Brisbane International Airport is amongst the busiest in the country – global travellers are discovering this subtropical capital, not just as a gateway to the coasts of North Queensland but as a vibrant yet relaxed shopping and dining destination. And despite its newfound sophistication, Brisbane still has jaw-dropping natural beauty right on the doorstep. Here are a few hot tips from those of us lucky enough to call Brisbane home.
Ask a local
Their job has them collecting passport stamps around the world, but when Dallys models Fleur Templeton and Adele Frost are back in town, these photogenic locals love a little R&R at their favourite haunts.
Fleur’s favourites Bars
The Bavarian Bier Cafe: the world’s finest beers and the most delicious cocktails!
The Laneway – always a great atmosphere and the friendliest staff.
Malt: the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine.
Granada Cafe: David Steeden prepares the best tapas, Spanish and Mexican food Brisbane has to offer.
The Euro: unpretentious yet chic, perfect for a relaxed date.
Restaurant Two: Brisbane’s best venue to celebrate a special occasion.
Things to do
Roma Street Parklands: a walk through the beautiful gardens then settling on the open lawn with a picnic makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Jan Powers Farmers Markets at the Powerhouse: the most beautiful flowers, local produce and sweet treats!
Story Bridge Adventure Climb: definitely something different (and a little scary) but well worth it!
Adele’s favourite Bars
The Bowler Bar Restaurant
The Survey Co
Thing to Do
Bushwalking at Mount Coot-tha
Thing to See
Comedy shows at the Powerhouse
Ask a local
Brisbane boutique hotel Emporium is a firm favourite with local and international visitors alike. So it’s no surprise that Chief Concierge Graham Hodgson is our go-to for cool Brisbane ideas. He
The Emporium Hotel Cocktail Bar is a fusion of eclectic and antique pieces creating a gorgeous setting to enjoy a delicious cocktail or fine wine from the seasonal menu. Or The Lark in Paddington for amazing cocktails!
Brisbane is spoiled for choice and the restaurant scene is growing, so it is difficult to name only one. Therefore I recommendTank in the city, Ortiga in Fortitude Valley, ARIA at Eagle St Pier and Tartufo for exquisite Italian in Fortitude Valley. For a more casual scene tempt your tastebuds at Bishamon Japanese Restaurant (Spring Hill) which serves up authentic Japanese cuisine, or Lure in Paddington offering a delicious breakfast – they even make their own baked beans.
Best Local Attractions
The Brisbane River! Walk the six-kilometre loop that encompasses the Story Bridge, City Botanic Gardens and Kangaroo Point cliffs or take a ride on an iconic RiverCat while admiring the many riverfront properties. Eagle Farm Markets are also a great way to spend a Sunday morning (every Sunday 7am – 12pm) and of course not far away are the picturesque Moreton Bay islands.
The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) regularly plays host to exclusive world-class exhibitions and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) presents many local, national and international shows. The independent art galleries are also a must see … including Fireworks Art Gallery, Philip Bacon Galleries and Andrew Baker all featuring emerging and established Australian and international artists. With a large lineup of exhibitions, shows and events, it’s no wonder Brisbane is Australia’s new world city.
Other great tips from locals
For boutique precincts head to Ann or James Street, Fortitude Valley (think Easton Pearson, Sass & Bide and Camilla Franks plus plenty of local labels) or Oxford Street Bulimba. Brisbane’s CBD has undergone a resurgence of sorts in the last year.
Dining, Bars & Brekkie
Cool new restaurant The Survey Co. and bar Super WhatNot are making waves in the CBD’s freshly-revitalised Burnett Lane, and not far out of town you can enjoy live music (Sundays) at buzzy riverside destination Watt restaurant at the Brisbane Powerhouse. On James St Fortitude Valley Jamie’s Espresso Bar and Cru Bar + Cellar (for people watching, bar bites and fine wines) have become local institutions, and you can tap into Brisbane’s rising boutique beer culture at the new Tippler’s Tap in Newstead. And Crosstown Eating House and Pearl Cafe are just two stand-outs among a stellar cast at the Woolloongabba/Logan Road precinct (near the ‘GABBA’ Cricket Ground),
Now you can give your credit card a true work out with international labels including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Gucci and Hermes (to name a few) all calling Brisbane home with fresh flagship boutiques.
The Wintergarden (off the Queen Street Mall) is now also a treasure trove of fashion and homewares boutiques with a glittering Swarovski shop amongst the line up.
Racecourse Road in Ascot is a great foodie/brekkie street. Look out for the McNab Providore,next to Le Bon Choix, where Masterchef finalist Filippo Silverstro is baking artisanal bread. They also make up hampers for a perfect Brisbane picnic. (Melissa Reynolds, writer Queensland Homes magazine)
At the historic Old Museum site in Spring Hill you can catch vintage movies – BYO wine and picnic, and they supply chairs, tables and even a supper at interval. General admission on showcase evenings.
My foodie tip?
Discover the best of Italy in one Valley restaurant, Bucci. Here you are made to feel so welcome by adorable waiters and waitresses (with the accent and all), the food is superb, and the atmosphere moody. All in all, Bucci is bellissimo! (Cheryl Menagh, freelance editor)
Get Outta Town
Brisbane is the jumping-off point to some of the state’s most stunning beaches and islands. Hand feed the dolphins at Moreton Bay’s Tangalooma Island, hire a beach house and discover spectacular Stradbroke Island, or go coastal on the sunny sands of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
The world’s largest sand island, the untamed and unparalleled Fraser Island, is heaven for 4WD and camping enthusiasts.
The man-made beach at Southbank is a popular cooling off place with views across the river to the CBD or you can dine at the swanky new Stokehouse, Southbank. Just across the bridge the Treasury Casino (home to the annual Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival) is fun for a flutter. If you prefer getting back to nature, the scenic areas of Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious and are great for bushwalking and picnicking. For panoramic views, Mt Coot-tha is a classic choice (popular with canoodling couples by night) and for thrill seekers, the Kangaroo Point cliffs are often crawling with abseiling seekers – you can also grab a coffee at their well-positioned cafe.
Interested in more great local tips from those that live in Brisvegas? Check out our results from our latest Facebook survey!