A beautifully laid-back city with culinary wonders, culture hotspots, romantic experiences and blissfully warm weather, Brisbane doesn't disappoint. Thinking of escaping here for a weekend away? We've got plenty to inspire a short break in Queensland's marvellous capital...
After checking in somewhere sumptuous, you're probably going to want to see the city's sights. Ditch the tourist-y, well, tours and hop aboard Seadeck before it heads to Sydney in October. Departing from South Bank, the hand-crafted European vessel looks straight out of an old Hollywood film (we're getting An Affair to Remember vibes) and takes couples on romantic City Light cruises on Friday evenings. Kick off your weekend away by ordering yourselves something delicious off its cocktail and a la carte menus, and watch Brisbane's skyline glitter as you cruise past.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, book a table at Brisbane icon Gambaro's Seafood Restaurant for fine dining or indulge yourselves at nostalgic speakeasy Seymour's Cocktails & Oysters on the same street. Not ready to retire for the evening? Walk just a few steps to let your hair down at one of Brisbane's best live music venues and cocktail bars (Gourmet Traveller named this spot its best bar of the year in 2014), Lefty's Old Time Music Hall.
Note: You can even stay at Gambaro's boutique, luxury hotel in trendy Paddington - read our review.
If you consider yourselves a fitness-focused couple, get your day off to a revitalising start and hike Mt Coot-tha. At the top you'll find breathtaking views of Brisbane and its surrounds, plus a lovely cafe for breakfast. If you prefer to take things a little easier on holiday, don't worry – it's accessible by car and bus, too. However you get to this brilliant spot, top it off by visiting Slaughter Falls at the mountain's base. Here, follow a gentle walking track surrounded by beautiful bushland to reach a spectacular waterfall and swimming hole… just under 20 minutes from the CBD!
Planning a lazy sleep-in? Brisbane is great for enjoying a leisurely brunch – top spots include Paddington's Kettle & Tin, West End's The Gunshop Cafe, South Brisbane's Scout (with an all-day brunch menu) and Pineapple Express in shopping-and-dining hotspot James Street Precinct.
With breakfast sorted, get out and soak up Brisbane's famous sunshine by wandering through the Powerhouse Farmer's Markets before literally smelling the roses at New Farm Park just next door. Top tip – pick up some goodies from the markets for a romantic picnic under the park's giant fig trees.
Weather not so wonderful? Head to the Fortitude Valley's beloved Holey Moley for quirky-themed, adult-friendly putt-putt in a converted church. Or, get your culture-fix at the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Museum in South Brisbane.
Toast the second night of your romantic getaway at one of the Fortitude Valley's best wine-and-dine spots. Amongst the pulsing nightclubs you'll stumble across acclaimed culinary gems like the APO, LONgTIME and Madam Rouge.
If you're on the south side of the river, make your way to Fish Lane for more foodie havens and eye-catching street-art. Julius Pizzeria, Chu the Phat, hole-in-the-wall bar Maker, Wandering Cooks and Gauge all call this street home. Top it all off by grabbing an ice-cream cone of something delightful at local fave Gelato Messina before hopping on the nearby Wheel of Brisbane and taking in sigh-inducing views.
If you've got all day to spare, venture out and see Brisbane's wonderful neighbourhoods. For a coastal day-trip, drive 45 minutes north of the CBD to the charming seaside town of Redcliffe. Home to tiny golden-sand beaches and harbour-side hangouts serving no-fuss seafood straight from the trawlers, this sun-kissed spot is also where you can hop aboard a whale-watching cruise.
Only have time for lunch before you leave? Enjoy both Brisbane's urban and riverside lifestyle at the cherished Eat Street Northshore. A hub for sensational street-food, this foodie playground is where vendors sell amazing international cuisine out of converted shipping containers. With a riverside location and unique touches like a giant disco ball, fairylight-lit dining halls and vibrant neon signs, it's perfect for live music, food and river breezes.
Events and festivals to look out for
Whether you plan your getaway around an event or it just happens to be on when you're in town, there are plenty of incredible things to check out year-round in Brisbane.
A winner with food-lovers, the Night Noodle Markets (July 26 - August 5) transforms South Bank into a massive Asian street-food wonderland and is definitely worth visiting. Also in the area, Regional Flavours welcomes an excellent lineup of celebrity chefs to showcase their talents in July (21 and 22), while Brisbane Festival (September 8-29) celebrates international and local theatre, music, dance, circus and opera, and concludes with the renowned spectacle that is Sunsuper Riverfire.
Thinking of catching a show while in Brisbane? The city's main theatre QPAC hosts everything from ballets to musicals and world-class comedy. If you can, get yourselves tickets for Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Priscilla Queen of the Desert or any of the La Scala Ballet's performances. For more information on what's on or the spots mentioned, check out the Visit Brisbane website.
Planning a Queensland getaway? Find the perfect accommodation here...
Image credits: www.facebook.com/pineappleexpresscafe; www.seadeck.com.au; www.racqliving.com.au/; www.chuthephat.com.au; Tourism and Events Queensland and www.facebook.com/BrisbaneFestival/