May 24, 2023
7 mins Read
Journey with our writers as they take you into Australia’s best 6 emerging city experiences from our 100 Emerging Destinations and Experiences series.
Travelling with: Emily Murphy
With the 2023 summer Olympics on the horizon, Brisbane is soaring to new heights as striking precincts enliven the city. In the CBD, Queen’s Wharf Brisbane precinct will merge state-of-the-art contemporary architecture with heritage buildings, securing itself as a world-recognised destination.
Four new luxury hotels, more than 50 wine-and-dine experiences, a new pedestrian-only bridge connecting to South Bank and a 100-metre-high Sky Deck are just the beginning. Rivermakers Heritage Quarter in the city’s east, a once-hidden gem, has transformed into Brisbane’s newest lifestyle precinct.
It’s a hub of dining, entertainment and creativity with Low n Slow Meat Co, Revel Brewing Co, Bavay Distillery and Mas & Miek Ceramics calling it home.
Travelling with: Christine Aldred
On Ngunnawal Land in a place once reserved for car yards and industrial warehouses, Fyshwick’s Dairy Road precinct on the edge of Canberra has surfaced as a funky and fun place, rethinking how creative businesses and community can combine. A small village has been fashioned within transformed warehouses from the 1970s, alleyways with soaring ceilings and exposed timber trusses now leading the way through a string of eclectic enterprises, some with windows to peer through to witness the action.
Dairy Road is a place to gather with friends over coffees or craft beers, to pick up a freshly distilled gin, browse an art gallery or to pick up everything from mid-century treasures to chocolate treats. But it is also where business is done. You can test your muscles bouldering, reset with a yoga or wellness session or indulge in a night of drama at the tiny but thoroughly professional Mill Theatre. Perhaps top it off with pre-theatre dinner and drinks, belly-warming ramen and sake from Japanese-inspired Canteen or casual pizza by the fire in front of indoor ski slopes. It’s an intriguing mix.
Outside, the kids will relish exploring the running stream and garden spaces or run among a towering concrete art installation. If your timing is right, the professional entertainers employed on site may be around to inspire small people with open-ended and creative play while you relax. Watch out for regular community events and markets showcasing local produce. With planned residential accommodation, it’s a forward-thinking place worth visiting and watching.
Travelling with: Elspeth Callender
A fresh new walking tour in nipaluna/Hobart takes place along the bush tracks and unsealed roads of piyura kitina/Risdon Cove. This land, with its hilltop views to kunanyi/Mt Wellington, was fought long and hard for by the palawa community and finally returned in 1995. The name palawa refers to Aboriginal people of lutruwita.
kipli takara piyura kitina-ta, which means ‘bush foods walk at Risdon Cove’, is a one-hour tour led by palawa guides. Walkers sample lots of seasonal plants such as kangaroo apple, native clover, native cherry, kunzea and bracken fern while also learning the area’s true history.
The tour is connected to palawa kipli – the island’s only palawa-owned-and-operated catering company. Proud palawa woman Kitana Mansell, who manages palawa kipli, created and often leads kipli takara.
“I have so much passion for my culture and history,” says Kitana, “and for making history by bringing it all back from what was stolen and taken from us and putting it back into the community’s knowledge and in our hands.”
All the edible leaves, fruits, berries, flowers, roots and seeds within this abundant natural pantry aren’t framed as purely traditional foods and medicines. As Kitana explains: “kipli takara helps people understand how all the bush tucker we have on the property can be introduced into our modern diet as more sustainable food options.”
After a 45-minute stroll that also takes in the palawa kipli garden, walkers sit down to a personal tasting box. This includes pepperberry pickle, pepperberry guacamole, kunzea relish, kunzea butter, wattleseed brie, pepperberry cheese, smoked wallaby, bread and native crackers, and comes with a revitalising wattleseed iced coffee.
Travelling with: Laura Waters
There’s a reason why I upped sticks and moved an hour west from Melbourne to Geelong recently. It’s got everything you could want in a city but with palm trees and no parking issues. It’s a sunny, north-facing slice of the good life and it’s fast getting even better.
Consider the six AGFG hatted restaurants, with new contenders regularly springing up. Little Malop Street and Pakington Street have long been thriving dining and shopping precincts, but locals know that Belmont is the latest hip hood, where French pastries can be bought from That Place or Friday drinks from Archive Wine Bar. And when the architecturally stunning Geelong Arts Centre opens in full later this year with multiple theatres, it’ll be the largest regional arts centre in Australia. Yes, Geelong’s star is rising.
Travelling with: Sue Wallace
Albury now boasts a whimsical food theatre experience on its roster of reasons to visit; the NSW-Victorian border city that sits on the banks of the Murray River is the winner of Wotif’s recent Aussie Town of the Year Award.
Shiny new Glenbosch on Dean is a restaurant and wine and gin bar. Here, executive chef Chris de Jongh creates a nine-course degustation feast that reflects his love of molecular cuisine, inspired presentations and tastes that pop such as sago crisp, tuna tartare and a ‘smoking’ oyster on dry ice.
Owners Dirk and Nika Bester, who arrived from the Western Cape of South Africa in 2019, also own Glenbosch Wine Estate, home to a restaurant, distillery and luxe eco cottages at Everton, near Beechworth. Dirk, a passionate distiller, makes Rooibos Gin with botanicals and tea from South Africa and Golden Granite Gin with floating gold flakes as a nod to the region’s gold rush days.
Travelling with: Elizabeth Whitehead
Darwin sits on Larrakia Country, the land of the Saltwater People. Heeding the instruction of Larrakia Elder, Bilawara Lee, I head down to the city harbour to wash my sweat into the water. “Let the Earth taste you and get to know you; she’ll look after you while you’re here,” she tells me.
Here, Indigenous culture is woven into the fabric of the city and ancient tradition thrives in modern iterations. Aboriginal Bush Traders is a bustling urban cafe that features native ingredients like Kakadu plum served on granola and bush-spiced pies. The connecting gallery has a selection of art from across the Northern Territory as well as homewares and skincare made with bush medicine. One street over, trendy Austin Lane is filled with murals, cafes, bars, weekly markets and the Indigenous social enterprise/apparel label, House of Darwin.
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