It might not have the beaches of Sydney but you won’t be lost for things to do in Brisbane during summer.
1. Sample Brisbane’s hottest eats at Howard Smith Wharves
This riverside enclave of cool is the essence of what Brisbane has become in recent years. Howard Smith Wharves is design-led, laid-back and approachable, but all the while feeling that little bit luxe. Amassing on the wharves are some of the city’s best eateries and bars, from the achingly hip Mr Percival’s, to the lively two-storey Japanese izakaya Yoko Dining, ever-impeccable Arc Dining, and the endless summer vibes of Felons Brewing Co. There’s usually something happening here, be it Sunday sessions at Mr Percival’s or beer and yoga at Felons, so check the website before you head down. Come with your entourage and stay long beyond sundown.
2. Escape to island life at North Stradbroke
Do Brisbanites truly understand how lucky they are to have the world’s second largest sand island right on their doorstep? This is a sub-tropical island of incredibly clear waters and bewitching scenery that you can actually drive to (via a ferry)! And while it’s no secret to locals, Straddie remains one of the hottest things to do in summer, whether you’re staying for the weekend or just popping over for a seafood lunch. When the city heats up, it’s good to know there’s an offshore paradise waiting across the water, where you can surf uncrowded breaks, spot whales, slip beneath the surface and acquaint yourself with sea life, or simply wander the Point Lookout Markets on a Sunday.
3. Retreat to cultural cool Goma Cinémathèque
QAGOMA is one of Australia’s most surprising and thrilling museums. With a rotation of fascinating and absorbing collections, incredible programs for kids and a huge amount of free exhibitions, it’s a fantastically accessible treasure. Perhaps lesser-known is the purpose-built Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA, which screens endlessly interesting films and videos on Wednesday and Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday matinees. It’s an excellent way to escape the heat, and the best part is, the screenings are usually free.
4. Take a stroll down Fish Lane
Brisbane may not be known particularly for its laneways, but there’s one that’s gaining a lot of attention. Fish Lane is fast bringing a huge dose of hip to South Brissie. Popping up near the arts precinct of QAGOMA and QPAC, the lane ambles back towards West End, weaving in jaw-dropping public artworks, cool wine bars and excellent dining along the way. Start a summer bar hop at one end and make your way to the other, stopping to upload your pics of the towering murals and interesting sculptures to Instagram as you go.
5. If you can’t beat the heat, join a brewery tour
There’s no denying that Brisbane and beer go hand-in-hand. And, in case you missed it, Brisbane has a lot of noteworthy craft breweries. We mean a lot. Green Beacon, Newstead, Felons, Stone & Wood, ringing any bells? You could attempt a DIY tour, but we’d suggest taking the logistics out of the equation and sampling these brews on a dedicated brewery tour with Hop On. It’s a pretty decent way to offset that summer sweat. Just be sure to drink plenty of water, too.
6. Make for the cool of the mountains
As Brisbane sizzles, take comfort in the knowledge you can always seek refuge in the foothills of Tamborine Mountain. Under the cool canopy of the rainforest you’ll find a nature-filled sanctuary ready to explore. You can head skywards on a relaxing treetop walk, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, opt for Australia’s largest zipline at TreeTop Challenge. If that heart-pounding action has rendered you unfit to take the one-hour drive back to Brisbane, bed down at one of the many accommodation options on offer.
7. Take a wild swim at Enoggera Dam
This heritage-listed water reservoir at The Gap dates back to 1866, but these days it’s more thoroughly put to use as a swimming hole and picnic area. Just a 20-minute drive from the city centre, it provides Brisbanites with one of the most accessible ways to cool off in the summer heat. The tranquil bush setting and calm waters means that on any given weekend, you’ll find plenty of families frolicking about, but that’s no reason to be deterred. Bring your giant inflatable swan and glide right on in.
Stay like a local in Brisbane at Spicers Balfour Hotel New Farm Brisbane. It’s just a 2 minute walk from Howard Smith Wharves.