Your ultimate guide to

Brisbane

Blessed with an idyllic subtropical climate all year round, and everything from relaxation through to adventure, Brisbane seems to have it all. Queensland’s buzzing capital is right in the middle of the ocean and national parks, set on the banks of the Brisbane River. While it’s a hive of activity, the city still remains true to the classic Queensland laid-back style and serves as the gateway to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Top Things to do in Brisbane

Want to catch an art exhibition? How about head into the rainforest? Or if you simply want to enjoy a delicious meal and refreshing drink. Brisbane has everything you need. In fact, the city has, at times, been called the cultural capital of Australia, and is home to Australia’s largest art gallery. There is also no shortage of major attractions to experience in Brisbane.

Parklands and Botanic Gardens

Brisbane is the most biodiverse capital in Australia with the highest diversity of native plants and wildlife. in fact, within Brisbane City alone, the Council manages more than 9500 hectares of natural areas.

 

Roma Street Parkland is situated just a 10-minute walk from Brisbane’s CBD and is home to almost 16 hectares of parklands, including designer gardens and sprawling lawns. The Parkland is quite new to Brisbane’s scene, being added in 2001, and won an urban design award from the Royal Architecture Institute of Australia.

 

Situated on the transformed site of Brisbane’s World Expo 88 is South Bank Parklands. The Parklands was officially opened to the public in 1992 and house a mixture of rainforest, water features, grassed areas and plazas. Of course, the area also features the riverfront promenade and the Wheel of Brisbane. The area is considered one of Brisbane’s most important cultural precincts and is visited by approximately 11 million people each year.

 

Known as Queensland’s premier subtropical botanic gardens, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in Mount Coot-tha. The gardens are displayed by theme and geography, and include the largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees. It’s also the perfect place to take the kids with a huge range of attractions including the Tropical Display Zone, Japanese Gardens, the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail and even a Planetarium.

Museums and Galleries

For all things cultural related, head to Brisbane’s South Bank, home to the two premier galleries of Brisbane, The Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA.

 

Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA, a single institution housed in two adjacent buildings, houses more than 17,000 Australian and international artworks, including paintings, sculptures and works on paper. The works are historical, modern and contemporary art, and the galleries also hold revolving exhibitions.

 

The home of Queensland’s state collection, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre has a number of exhibits on science, culture and natural history. Especially popular with kids are the dinosaur displays. The Museum tells the story of the state through exhibitions and fascinating programs and the Sciencentre offers hands-on activities to explore the science behind everyday life, including the human body.

 

Step back in time as you explore the Queensland Maritime Museum, located on the banks of the Brisbane River. The Museum is home to S.S. Forceful and H.M.A.S Diamantina as well as a huge collection of maritime artefacts. Truly fascinating!

Markets and Culture

Whether you’re looking for clothes, fresh seafood or homewares, there is a market for everything. And some markets even sell everything in one place.

 

For some delightful street food, cocktails, crafts and quirky trinkets, head to Eat Street Markets. Set up in 80 colourful shipping containers, the markets come alive on Friday and Saturday nights with stalls selling Japanese pizza, local seafood and Korean-fusion burgers. On Sundays, Eat Street Markets is all about the collectables.

 

Known as one of the hippest scenes in Brisbane, Boundary Street Markets is nestled within the warehouse, factories and garages that used to form Peter’s Ice Cream Factory. There’s vintage and contemporary fashion, pop-up cafes and global foods during the day, and on Friday nights, the markets feature art installations and a live music bill.

 

If you’re searching for farmer’s markets, look no further than Jan Powers Farmers Markets. The community markets can be found in a number of different locations including the city, Michelton and New Farm Park. Many of the stall holders are up at 2:30 in the morning to set up and their produce is most definitely some of the freshest out there. Head to the markets on an empty stomach because we can guarantee you’ll eat your way through them.

Best Places to Stay in Brisbane

Whether is luxurious, middle of the line or camping, there are so many ways to stay in Brisbane.

Luxury Accommodation

An award-winning boutique hotel located in New Farm, just minutes from Brisbane’s CBD, is Spicers Balfour Hotel. The uniqueness and charm of the hotel is that it’s made up of a Queenslander cottage and an Art Deco inspired apartment block, rather than your traditional high-rise hotel. There’s antique furniture paired with contemporary features such as BOSE speakers, plus gourmet breakfast and sunset canapes on the rooftop.

 

When it comes to the Ovolo Inchcolm in Spring Hill, a couple of words come to mind: luxe and quirky. Each room features exceptional artwork and little eccentric touches but the hotel most definitely does luxury right. It’s all about style and class, from the moment you step through the doors.

 

For visitors who need an apartment but don’t want to compromise on luxury, book at Alex Perry Hotel and Apartments. Yep, the fashion designer has also tried his hand at accommodation and we can guarantee, he’s succeeding. Perry’s claim that he’s “fashioning apartment accommodation like I would a couture garment” is an excellent way to describe the hotel which is truly a sensory experience. The complex is all about glamour, design and elegance.

Hotels and Motels

There’s no shortage of hotels and motels in Brisbane, so it largely depends on your needs and your budget. The big chains are all represented including the Hilton, Sheraton, W and Sofitel. There are also plenty of middle-range accommodation options from Quest through to Mantra and Oaks, as well as family-friendly options.

 

For something a bit more urban and edgy, book a room at Capri by Fraser, in the heart of the city. The hotel is effortlessly stylish and was designed by award-winning Ministry of Design. There are vertical gardens, art installations and an in-house restaurant plus a 24-hour gym, indoor heated swimming pool and complimentary Wi-Fi.

 

Described as “colonial cool that leaves ordinary at the door”, the Treasury combines the opulence of a five-star hotel with the excitement of a 24-hour casino. There are also incredible restaurants on site and bars to enjoy a night-cap.

 

There are also plenty of budget-friendly options including self-contained apartments such as Quay West Suites and Central Apartment Hotels, as well as backpacker accommodation such as Chill Backpackers or Brisbane City YHA.

Glamping and Camping

Like the idea of camping but hate the idea of sleeping on the floor? The Brisbane region is filled with glamping options so you can get up close and personal with nature without foregoing life’s little luxuries. Head to Redlands and Sanctuary by Sirromet to surround yourself with trees as the eco tents seem to float above the ground. Enjoy private treehouse views and there’s even an award-winning restaurant on site. There’s also Ketchup Bank Glamping in Scenic Rim with luxury tents complete with ensuite and a private deck.

 

For those really wanting to get in touch with nature, there are a multitude of camping spots near Brisbane. Bigriggen Park in Scenic Rim is often given the highest of praise with acres of hilltop and river flats, tons of trees and lovely grassy sites to pitch a tent. If you want to make like the locals, head to North Stradbroke Island for some of the most spectacular scenery found in Australia.

 

The area is famous for its scenic headlands, surf and white sandy beaches. There are plenty of places to pitch your tent including Flinders Beach, Main Beach and Amity Point camping area.

Where to Eat in Brisbane

Whether it’s fish and chips, a quick casual bite to eat or a leisurely luxurious lunch, Brisbane has it all.

 

One of Fortitude Valley’s best restaurants, LONgTIME has a diverse menu focusing om Thai cuisine. While it is relatively tucked away, the popular restaurant has no trouble drawing the crowds, due to its memorable dishes and vibrant atmosphere.

 

Another restaurant that constantly tops the list is Urbane in Brisbane City. It’s the only restaurant in Queensland with three hats thanks to its acclaimed degustation style. The restaurant is only open three nights a week yet it remains an icon in the Brisbane dining scene.

 

For those after a Mediterranean feel, head to Stokehouse Q. The views are magnificent, and coupled with the elegant, yet relaxed dining, it will surely be a meal to remember. The restaurant’s menu changes according to season and produce availability so you’ll have different experiences each time you go.

 

The Smoke BBQ serves up possibly the most tender meats ever smoked so to all the carnivores out there, run, don’t walk. The restaurant brings American BBQ to Brisbane and is truly comfort food at its best.

 

If you want to go where the locals eat, make a visit to Harveys Bar and Bistro. The Bistro is all about classic, produce-driven meals in a trendy and chilled dining space. The bar menu focuses on tapas and it’s also open for breakfast.

 

When it comes to the most important meal of the day, breakfast, there are an abundance of options in the river city, including Gauge, Kittle and Tin, Artie & Mai or Pearl Café just to name a few.

Tours and Packages

Whether it’s a river cruise, a day trip to Stradbroke Island or a sightseeing tour around the city, there are so many options for tours. There are even tours that take you to the Gold Coast to enjoy the theme parks. There are also plenty of options for flights and accommodation packages, depending on budget and needs.

 

In terms of cruising tours, there are a plethora of options to choose from and many will include at least one meal throughout the day, meaning you can enjoy the scenery while tucking into some delicious food and wine.

 

There are also adventure tours that include abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking and snorkeling. Of course, there are also walking tours that you can enjoy and because the climate is so delightful, it’s lovely to be outdoors. Don’t feel like walking but would rather stay on the ground? A Segway tour may be the answer, or alternatively, hop on a trike or bike and enjoy the city.