Perched at latitude 27 from the equator, it’s no surprise that Brisbane warms up significantly over summer. Luckily there are some great ways to beat the heat. Christine Retschlag explores seven secret spots in the Queensland capital that are cool in every sense of the word.


1. Stomp on it: O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat

An easy 90 minutes south of Brisbane in the Gold Coast Hinterland you’ll find O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat, which has been operating for more than 80 years and is a cool reprieve from the city heat. Here, wander through the refreshing rainforest on one of the many walking tracks, replete with gushing waterfalls, before you indulge in a vinotherapy treatment in the Lost World Spa. That’s right, you get to bathe in wine. Stay the night in a Valley View Villa, complete with Jacuzzi overlooking the stars.


2. Swim like a dolphin: Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island

Just 45 minutes by catamaran from the city, Moreton Island is a magical destination. By day, snorkel the stunning clear water surrounding the Tangalooma Wrecks. By night, feed the wild dolphins. This fab experience involves wading into the cool waters, holding a fish or two, and waiting for these friendly marine mammals to feed straight from your hand. There’s a wide range of accommodation options here including beachfront villas.


3. Lick it: La Macelleria Gelateria

Fittingly plonked in Florence Street, Teneriffe, La Macelleria Gelateria offers one of the coolest experiences in town. Not only can you indulge in beautiful creme classics and sorbets, but you can even learn how to make your own ice-cream delights in a Gelato Workshop held every Monday evening. Also check out their new store in the Light and Co. building in Brisbane’s cool enclave of West End.


4. Paddle away on the river: Paddle & Prawns

Anywhere along the Brisbane River is a pretty cool place to hang out in summer, particularly due to its breezes. But it really comes into its own at the end of the working week with Riverlife hosting Friday night Paddle & Prawns. For $95 you can join a kayak tour of the Brisbane River and watch the city lights sparkle, before you head back to shore for succulent seafood, chilled beer, wine and soft drinks.


5. Go deep: Vintaged wine room

There are a number of hidden cellars in Brisbane and the Hilton boasts one of the best. Smack bang in the CBD, the hotel’s Vintaged Bar & Grill features an impressive glass-walled wine room. Book a seat in either the Private Dining Room (up to 14 guests) or The Wine Table (up to 16 seated or 60 standing) and you be surrounded by wine, glorious wine, while you dine. Due to the nature of wine, this room will be kept on the cooler side, to avoid it turning into expensive vinegar.


6. Count to eleven: Eleven Rooftop Bar

Sky-high bars have been erupting all over Brisbane in recent times, and Eleven Rooftop Bar in Fortitude Valley is one of the loftiest. Boasting sweeping views over the city, Eleven is inspired by Istanbul’s rooftops. Sip on a crafty cocktail, dine from a casual menu, and enjoy the wind in your hair. What makes this venue even cooler is that it hosts rooftop wellness classes during the day.


7. Freeze it: cryotherapy

All the cool kids in Europe are doing it, and now Brisbane has leapt in on the act. We’re talking cryotherapy, where your body is exposed to freezing air (below -110°C) for between two and three minutes. At the end of this treatment, your nervous, immune and endocrine systems are said to be dramatically enhanced. But be prepared. This is really, really cold. If nothing else, it’s a nippy reprieve from a hot summer day outside.


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