Australia Vacations: Brisbane Extended Weekend Itinerary – Where To Eat, Drink, Stay
Kangaroo Point returns to the Brisbane skyline. Photo / BEDA
To pursue Cristian BonettoAdvice on where to eat, drink and play in Brisbane
Brisbane is hot. White hot. No longer reserved for 9 to 5 years for its fun-loving neighbors, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the capital of Queensland is now the main event. The city’s burgeoning restaurants, bars and music scenes are akin to Melbourne and Sydney, all served with a laid-back ease that its biggest rivals lack. Find your passport, book your flights and follow these tips for a perfect long weekend in the unexpected Australian ‘It kid’.
First day | Modern art, sneaky hotspots and valley pleasures
Start big at South Bank’s GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art). Australia’s largest gallery of modern and contemporary art, its ambitious exhibitions and the Asia-Pacific Triennale have spurred Brisbane’s transformation from a charming province to a cultured citizen of the world. Head to level three for epic skyline views, and stop for a beer garden under its giant canopy by the river, bush turkeys and ibises grazing around you.
Very close on Gray St, unpretentious stairs take you up to the Maeve Wine Bar. Don’t be fooled by the euro’s bistro vibe: the hero here is top-notch Australian produce, singing perfectly in small plates of grilled zucchini with labneh and a blood plum chicken liver parfait. If Maeve is closed, slip into her noisy Latin neighbor Julius for a perfectly charred Neapolitan-style pizza.
Drive through town to Fortitude Valley. Once a mess of bars and dive clubs, “The Valley” is now gaining national attention for its cutting-edge restaurants, bars and hotels. Spend an hour or two exploring leafy James Street, with its crisp white facades and airy bars that epitomize Brisbane’s new-school flair. Retail offerings abound with high-end Australian designers, one of which is avant-garde Brisbanite Gail Sorronda. After the shop, stop by Gerard’s Bar for a lemon myrtle Americano, homemade cold cuts, and people-watch on the deck. While you might stay happy – tasting the flavors of the Levant by Chef Adam Wolfers – you’ve cleverly booked a reservation at the Japanese-inspired Honto or the next-level Thai Same Same. Both exemplify 21st century Brisbane: confident, progressive and a lot of fun.
The valley is also the heart of Brisbane’s formidable music scene, with venues like the Zoo and Fortitude Music Hall to tap into its wealth of indie, folk, rock and electro talent. In nearby Newstead, The Triffid – an brainchild of former Powderfinger bassist John Collins – features local and touring shows in a former WWII hangar.
Day two | Bohemian strolls, cuddly critters and meals in sea containers
Start the morning in the shade of Moreton Bay Figs at West End Markets (formerly Davies Park Market), where musicians strum, locals linger, and chatty vendors sell everything from crates of cheap mangoes to artisanal pastries, organic vegetables and locally made jewelry. Brunch at the nearby Plenty West End, a graphic factory turned into a cafe-provedore serving nutritious locavore food. Otherwise, take a seat at the neighboring Morning After, a fresh and bright space where your mushroom and leek croquettes are served with a truffle yogurt.
If you’re planning on cooing on a marsupial or three, it’s a 20-minute Uber (or hour-long bus) ride to the suburban Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, home to over 100 koalas, as well as kangaroos, wombats. and other native pines. -UPS. If you’d rather stay in town, continue to explore the eclectic West End vibe, stopping by Jet Black Cat Music on Vulture St for incredible indie vinyl releases and Avid Reader on Boundary St for a thoughtful selection of books.
It’s about a 15 minute walk north along Boundary St (which becomes Melbourne St) to South Bank Parklands, a bit more if you stop for a salty coconut mango ice cream at Gelato Messina along the way. Regular buses also leave in the same direction. Either way, relax in the subtropical greenery of the Parklands or (if you’ve brought clothes and a towel) enjoy Brisbane’s near perfect weather on the park’s man-made beach. Lockers and showers make this quite a viable option.
On the dry land, it’s an unforgettable CityCat catamaran ride from South Bank Parklands to Northshore Hamilton, passing Brisbane’s towering skyscrapers, the heritage-listed Story Bridge and real estate along the ongoing Blue Ribbon River. of road. Your destination is the city’s most innovative dining experience: Eat Street Northshore, where shipping containers have found new life as a global street food village, complete with bars, shops, bands and DJs. .
Day three | River cycles and resurrected relics
Brisbane’s magnificent mangrove-tickled river is definitely asking for more time. Rent a bike from Riverlife at Kangaroo Point and follow the Seaside Path north around the Kangaroo Point Peninsula. Turn right on Dockside Walk and left on Ferry St to reach the south entrance of Story Bridge. While this view of Manhattan on your left is mesmerizing, focus on crossing the bridge and turn right into New Farm’s Bowen Tce, where an equally spectacular backdrop rewards. Stay away, if only for the flawless raisin bread from the nearby Chouquette bakery.
The sleepy streets of New Farm are dotted with distinctive old Queenslander-style villas. High mansions of wood and corrugated iron, their deep verandas, their delicate songs, their screens and their wooden shutters imbue an intoxicating tropical magic that is a little Malay Kampong, a little midnight in the garden of good and evil. Vernacular style dots Mark Street, which leads to New Farm Park – awash in fiery orange figs, jacaranda trees, and poincianas – and the adjacent Brisbane Powerhouse. Once a derelict power station, today it is a thriving arts center. Admire its artistic industrial innards, sip specialty coffee at its riverside cafe bar, then cycle south along the river, making a detour through Oxlade Dr and Griffith St to reach Brisbane Riverwalk.
Linking New Farm to the city, this 870m cycle and pedestrian path winds its way directly over the water, unfolding prime-time vistas of Kangaroo Point, New Farm and central Brisbane. The trail flows seamlessly through the Howard Smith Wharves restaurant district, now a wharf, where a refreshing beer awaits you at Felons Brewing Co. The best seat in the house is on the rustic wooden deck , just below Story Bridge. Linger for a moment, drink in the languid waterfront scene and contemplate the good fortune of these 2.5 million Brisbanites.
Air New Zealand flies daily to Brisbane non-stop from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Qantas flies nonstop daily from Auckland and several times a week from Christchurch.
TransLink operates city trains, buses, catamarans and ferries. Rechargeable electronic “one way cards” are valid on all TransLink services, including Airtrain services to / from the airport. The three- and five-day “go SeeQ” cards (adult 79/129) offer unlimited travel on all TransLink services. Buy cards at Brisbane Airport. translink.com.au