Discover city sights and island delights on this three-day itinerary showcasing the many sides of a Brisbane getaway.
Brisbane’s riverside enclaves and lively neighbourhoods are sun-drenched, welcoming and angled to an outdoor lifestyle, but the city is also home to idyllic tropical islands just an hour from the city centre. Accessed swiftly by ferry, the islands of Moreton Bay – including Minjerribah/North Stradbroke and Mulgumpin/Moreton Island – make easy daytrips for adventures on white-sand beaches, crystalline waters and natural beauty.
Paired with a showreel of luxe city eateries, stays and entertainment, this itinerary proves Brisbane is the ultimate destination for summer escapes.
Explore Brisbane’s riverside enclaves and lively neighbourhoods.
Begin your morning with a meandering riverside stroll to Joey’s, perched on top of Kangaroo Point Cliffs, for an al fresco breakfast or brunch. It can’t help to add a little rejuvenation to your minibreak, so next book yourself a session at the popular Soak Bathhouse, where you can soothe body and mind in the mineral baths, cold plunge pool and steam room.
Make your way to Howard Smith Wharves for lunch.
Afterwards, make your way to Howard Smith Wharves for lunch. This vivacious precinct has been designed to showcase Brisbane’s convivial spirit with fabulous dining, bars and all-round entertainment. Book ahead to dine at the beloved contemporary Greek taverna Greca, or, for a more casual vibe, settle into Felons Brewing Co.
Spend the afternoon wandering QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art), where you can contemplate the incredible permanent collections or slip into a temporary exhibition, such as the Brisbane-exclusive ‘Fairy Tales’, showing from 4 December this year, to 28 April 2024
See the Brisbane-exclusive ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition at QAGOMA.
After an intake of cultural musings, find a collection of rooftops poised to drink in the warm-hued sunsets in Fortitude Valley. Raise a glass to toast your minibreak at Mexican bar MAYA, Spanish oasis Iris or Cielo Rooftop before heading to dinner.
After a few libations you needn’t go far to find some of Brisbane’s best dining options. Settle in for fire-cooked flavour at moodily lit and highly-awarded Agnes, or visit the much-loved institution Gerard’s Bistro, which is just about to emerge from a renovation.
Post-dinner, head back to your accommodation to spend the night in absolute luxury at the ultra-cool W Brisbane.
Stay at the ultra-cool W Brisbane.
Your second day of Brisbane discovery unlocks the city’s island playgrounds. While there are a handful to explore that certainly warrant return trips, for this minibreak, choose from two of the most popular: Mulgumpin/Moreton Island or Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island.
Arise early to make the most of your island escape and cruise to Tangalooma Island Resort on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island. Departing from Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba, you’ll arrive at Tangalooma Jetty in just 75 minutes (for those who prefer a gentler start to the day, catch the 10am transfer). With activities including snorkelling wrecks, kayaking, paddleboarding, quad-biking, sand tobogganing and Segway tours, you’re bound to find something to do that will match your energy and excitement levels. It’s a good idea to select one or two tours to ensure you get the most out of your daytrip; you can also opt into one of Tangalooma’s cruises, such as the Marine Discovery Day Cruise or the Snorkel the Wrecks Day Cruise before returning to Brisbane at 7pm.
Snorkel around the iconic Tangalooma wrecks.
Alternatively, catch the Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island vehicle ferry as it starts its run from Cleveland in Brisbane’s Redlands Coast region, departing at 7am with a trip duration of 50 minutes. You can also take the passenger ferry, which starts at 4.55am and runs hourly, taking only 25 minutes to make the crossing. At this year-round marine playground you can dive with manta rays at Manta Bommie, wave to dolphins from Amity Point Jetty, follow the 1.2-kilometre North Gorge Walk to meander along the headlands, or simply splash about in the translucent turquoise waters.
Escape the midday heat and stop by Straddie Brewing Co for a locally crafted cold one and some seafood-inspired bites, or keep an eye on the twinkling sea as you tuck into a casual meal at Sealevel 21.
Wave to dolphins from Amity Point Jetty.
After lunch, explore the incredible talent of First Nations artists at Salt Water Murris’ Quandamooka Art Gallery or Delvene Cockatoo-Collins to pick up a special memento of your island escape and connect with the island’s rich First NAtions culture.
Spend the afternoon slipping beneath glassy waves at Main Beach or the protected South Gorge, head to Cylinder Beach for a surf, or enjoy a beach picnic with Straddie Tipis before catching a ferry back to the city. For a different view, travel to Brisbane in style on a private chartered flight with Elite Helicopters.
Upon your return to Brisbane, check into the much-lauded The Calile Hotel. Recently awarded 12th place in the World’s 50 Best Hotels list, this is a must-stay for lovers of design and refined luxury.
Relax by the pool at iconic The Calile Hotel.
Ease into the day with a stroll through West End and breakfast at the bright and breezy Morning After, where you can sample their famed breakfast carbonara. A range of Brisbane markets are also extremely popular with locals and visitors alike for breakfast treats and local crafts.
Next up, peruse the James Street shopping precinct. Here you’ll revel in beautifully curated boutiques, from local fashion designers to of-the-minute homewares and furniture stores, as well as luxury international brands.
Peruse the James Street shopping precinct.
Of course, no Brisbane sojourn is complete without a riverside lunch. Make your way to Eagle Street for watery vistas and cocktails sipped with a view out Storey Bridge at Opa. Return to The Calile Hotel and go directly to the hotel bar, Hellenika, for a cocktail overlooking the pool.
After a refreshing drink, head to Bianca to recount your trip highlights. This contemporary, Italian-centric eatery in James Street has a soft, terracotta-pink hue, chic styling and the relaxed ambience of Brisbane herself. Toast to a wonderful three days, and start planning your return visit.
End your Brisbane itinerary with Italian delights from Bianca.
Extend your stay
If you’re not quite ready to end the holiday zen, Brisbane’s surrounding regions are brimming with adventures. The Moreton Bay Region just north of Brisbane will fuel your nature and foodie wanderlust; think hinterland hikes, picturesque wineries and award-winning restaurants.
Located 45 minutes from Brisbane, discover the Scenic Rim, aptly named with its sweeping valleys and ancient heritage-listed rainforests. For history buffs, head south of Brisbane to Logan and Ipswich. Both are renowned for their rich Queensland heritage and cultural diversity, along with popular craft distilleries and breweries.