Australia’s subtropical new ‘it city’ lets you dive headlong into the pace of the big time – while still enjoying a little laid-back me time.
You’ve probably heard the rumblings about Brisbane. The river city has been energised by a raft of glittering new hotels, restaurants and events. But it is Brisbane’s way of life that makes it so special. An urbane metropolis set to the pace of the tropics. This is a city where there’s time to drink your latte from a glass, and the climate to dine under the stars.
Brand new Brisbane
Of all the new development, Howard Smith Wharves is the most talked about – and rightly so. Tucked beneath The Story Bridge, a series of disused storage sheds have been given a new lease on life, transformed into a boardwalk of restaurants, a brewery and a hotel that hugs the contours of the cliffs. Take the elevator from the clifftop and descend into a space where locals rub shoulders by the river bank. Best of all, it seamlessly integrates with leafy New Farm Park, Eagle Street’s parade of fine dining and the Valley’s post-midnight hangouts.
Brisbane’s ever-evolving array of restaurants have seen local produce embrace new places and flavours. Newcomer Heritij takes Indian fare from takeaway to fine-dining. City Winery brings the vineyard to the Valley with the opportunity to sip wine straight off the wood. Hellenika’s mouth-watering Greek fare goes poolside in James Street’s The Calile, a resort-style hotel inspired by Palm Springs. While Honto, an ultra-modern Japanese restaurant and bar, hides behind an unmarked door at the end of an inconspicuous alley.
One of the best ways to experience the city is aboard a ferry. Wind down the magnificent river, hopping off to explore neighbourhoods that span from bohemia to European village. Continue the adventure with a stop at the city’s beloved modern art gallery, GOMA. A must-see, the gallery features mind-bending works from artists veteran and rising and has even become art incarnate with James Turrell’s Night Life installation turning the structure into a glowing rainbow beacon at twilight.
If that doesn’t fill your cultural cache, catch a gig at The Triffid, a former WWII aircraft hangar turned entertainment venue in Newstead. Finish underground or in the air with a drop at glamorous basement bar The Boom Boom Room or Emporium Hotel South Bank’s sky-high rooftop bar The Terrace. You’ll find it all in Brisbane – the river city on the rise.
16 Instagram-worthy hot spots in Brisbane
No trip is complete without the perfect pic and Brisbane is brimming with places to grab a fun-loving selfie, breathtaking landscape and drool-worthy food snap. Take a look at some of our favourites.
1. El’ Rosa
A homewares store cum café cum dreamy pink paradise, this Instagrammer haven features a breezy pink courtyard, pink-tinged beverages and lush greenery.
Famous for its beautifully-decorated gluten-free donuts, this café serves up some seriously photogenic food. Go for breakfast, stay to get the perfect snap.
3. Emporium Bar
Opulent white marble, backlit onyx floor tiles and sweeping river views, Emporium’s glamorous rooftop bar The Terrace is a must-visit.
4. The Gabba
Nothing matches the roar of the crowd at Brisbane’s famous circular stadium, The Gabba. Hot tip: during Big Bash League’s summer season, nab tickets to the in-stadium pool.
5. Eleven Rooftop Barr
Perched above Fortitude Valley, stylish and modern Eleven mixes a mean cocktail against a backdrop of one of Brisbane’s most iconic and unique views.
6. Pillars Project & Fish Lane
Filled with street art, inject a colourful splash to your feed with a trip to South Brisbane’s Fish Lane. Follow the train tracks for street art favourite, The Pillar Project.
7. Next Episode
A secret hip-hop inspired speakeasy on Fish Lane, this bar’s entrance is concealed behind a bona fide barbershop. To enter, pick up the old-school phone and punch in the daily code.
8. Fairy lights
Dotted around Brisbane’s inner-city neighbourhoods you’ll find pockets of enchanting fairy-lit fig trees to add a touch of magic to any snap.
9. Valley laneways
Whether you’re looking for craft beer, American burgers, locally-designed threads or just that classic laneway snap, California, Bakery and Winn Lane are a must visit.
Feel the breeze in your hair with a ferry ride across Brisbane’s majestic river. Whether by City Cat or on a guided tour, boat is arguably the best vantage point to see the city.
One of Brisbane favourite spots to unwind, head to South Bank for a photo on the white sandy beach, or under the blooming pink bougainvillea.
Make a splash at W Hotel’s tropical pool bar which features a striking graphic black and white mural that stretches from the ceiling to the pool.
13. New Farm Park
Wander through the rose garden, picnic under the trees or cycle by the river, New Farm Park is a green oasis in Brisbane’s café obsessed neighbourhood.
14. Moreton Bay bug
Brisbane’s very own version of a lobster, this delicious orange crustacean is a must-taste and must-see. In pasta, a buttery-roll or on top of a steak, hunt it out on Brisbane menus.
15. Mt Coot-tha
If you’re looking for the classic Brisbane city shot, hike or drive up Brisbane’s leafy Mt Coot-tha and capture the full view of the skyline. Extra points for sunrise shots.
16. Eat Street
Brisbane’s most colourful hot spot, think food truck paradise complete with extravagant photogenic food like ice cream waffle tacos and fairy floss the size of your head.