Only have one weekend in Brisbane to rendezvous with the river city? Tick off the big-ticket items and sneak in a few surprises with this itinerary.


6pm – Sundowners and laneway eats

You can’t get much more central – or comfortable – than the tech-savvy NEXT hotel, overlooking Queen Street Mall.

After check-in – skipping the queue thanks to a virtual check-in on your smartphone, if you please – and a sundowner at the pool bar, slip downstairs to The Survey Co. in Burnett Lane for dinner.

Start with more-ish char siu pork buns stuffed with crispy shallots, and move on to beetroot and ricotta tortellini or, if you’re really looking to splash out, order the whole duck of the day.

8:30pm – Culture vulture

If your visit coincides with a major exhibition at QAGOMA, wander across the Victoria Bridge to sneak in some culture at the gallery’s Up Late nights, fusing live music, a pop-up bar and after-hours access with the works on display (US songstress Kimya Dawson will perform on September 9).


8am – River hop or day trip

This morning you’ve got two (very good) options to choose from: either river-hop your way to Bulimba on a CityCat for one of the cheapest river cruises going, then have a waterfront breakfast at Jetty Oxford, or keep things simple with an acai bowl from Coco Bliss and browse through Riverbend Books.

Try on precious jewels, contemplate how to get those industrial lights back home, and grab a shake in the ’50s-style diner.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite again, head straight for Logan Road and Sorellina Pizzeria ( for excellent wood-fired pizzas.

Otherwise, burn off the city on a picturesque 40-minute drive to Samford – specifically to the cafe, The Flying Nun.

It might take you a while to ogle their encyclopaedic menu, but take our advice and order the potato and feta hash cakes with chorizo crumb. And don’t be alarmed if locals tie their horses up out front while waiting for their takeaway lattes.

Loop back to the city via Redcliffe for fish and chips on the beach and a stroll along the pier. There’s a great playground for the kids if you’re travelling with your tribe.

5pm – Sunset stroll

Wander along Kangaroo Point Cliffs and watch the day wash away through a sunset palette over South Bank and the city.

8pm – Dinner with a show

Slide onto a concrete bench seat at The Apo in Fortitude Valley.

You may need a dictionary and some creative flair to translate the menu descriptions, but once you do, revel in the theatrics and the fact dessert looks like a Heston Blumenthal experiment gone wrong, though it tastes like heaven.

For a digestif, head to Gerard’s Bar for sophisticated late-night cocktails.


8am – Namaste

Start the day by toning your body and mind with an Align & Flow yoga class at Shri Yoga in Burnett Lane.

10am – Brunch like a local

After check-out, make your way to the border of the Valley and New Farm for brunch at King Arthur. Nab a table upstairs and take your time over rye bircher with figs and spiced labneh, or a smoked local fish omelette.

2pm – Sip and paint

Throw on an apron and twist the cap off that BYO wine; it’s painting time. Cork and Chroma in South Brisbane run regular art classes that promise to un-block even the most creatively challenged during a booze-enhanced painting session.

You might surprise yourself with a proud peacock or Parisian streetscape worthy of a hook on your wall at home or, at the very least, a few hours of fun.

6pm – Final supper

Finish the weekend on a high with dinner at one-time-brothel, now French bistro, Les Bubbles.

There’s no ordering anxiety here with the only decisions to make being how you would like your steak cooked, and whether you’d like more fries (if you can ever work your way through the mountain already on your plate).