The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of Brisbane is beaches and they’re not wrong – but they might just be missing out. A short trip away from the salt and sand is a budding metropolis that’s definitely worth a visit. Filled to the brim with native beauty, cultural activities and mouth-watering food, each suburb boasts its own distinct personality. But with so much on offer it’s not easy to nail down the perfect itinerary – that’s where we come in.
If you’re coming from Brisbane Airport, the easiest option is the Brisbane Airtrain. Taking you directly from the airport to the heart of the city, the train takes just under 25 minutes and costs $17.50 per person. Depending on traffic a taxi will cost anywhere between $35 and $55, but if there’s more than two of you this could work out to be more convenient – nothing like being dropped at your door! When you get a chance, make sure you purchase a Go Card from a listed retailer, which allows you to travel on all of Brisbane’s buses, trains and ferries.
In 24 hours
Bright and early | 6am
If there’s a view that can get you out of bed before 6am, it’s the one of Brisbane from the Mt Coo-tha lookout. No more than a 15-minute drive from the city, the panoramic sights extend across the horizon from the Boonah hills over the city to Moreton and Bribie Islands, and have been attracting locals and tourists alike for more than a century. If you’re feeling energetic, why not don some walking boots and take a stroll up the scenic Honeyeater track, beginning at the cascading JC Slaughter Falls?
Shop ’til you drop | 9am
There’s something truly beautiful about the surrounds of Paddington. Home to rolling hills, soft morning sunlight and vintage cottages turned enticing shopfronts, the suburb struggles to disappoint and is the perfect spot to grab some brekkie. Head down to Kettle and Tin for your fix in fresh food and exceptional coffee before finishing off in Paddington Antique Centre, which houses more than 50 unique dealers and happens to be one of two atmospheric theatres left in Australia.
It’s conceptual | 12pm
Housed in Southbank and known as one of Brisbane’s most significant cultural treasures, the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is home to more than 16,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art. If that doesn’t impress you, QAGOMA is also the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to the moving image and regularly hosts an incredible array of thematic exhibitions – in other words, be there or be square.
Feed me | 2pm
Melbourne may be the first city to come to mind when you mention laneway treasures, but Brisbane’s shaping up to give it a run for its money. Tucked away from the typical and cliche lies Gresham Lane. Easily accessible via 88 Creek Street, step into a world of edible diversity. From miso pork belly buns at Ichiban Yakitori to cheeky cocktails at Red Hook, the laneway has everything you could possibly want to tease your tastebuds.
Walk it off | 3:30pm
Seeing as the weather in Brisbane is renowned for its good behaviour, you may as well make the most of it and stay in the sunshine for as long as possible. Take a quick ferry across to the Holman Street Ferry Terminal and you’ll find yourself at Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. From here you can make your way down to the New Farm Riverwalk, a long determined must-do for Brisbane visitors that will have you finishing up in New Farm Park where you can relax underneath ageing fig trees.
Danger zone | 6pm
A former power station, Brisbane Powerhouse is now a cultural hub for Brisbane’s arts community – often holding festivals, performances and exhibitions. Also the home of Australia’s summer sweetheart, Moonlight Cinema, the venue screens everything from cult classics to blockbusters. To make the night extra special, splurge on Glam Grass tickets that entitle you to a comfy bean bed and a Benefit Cosmetics deluxe sample.
Winner Winner | 9pm
A quick 15-minute stroll from New Farm Park is The Balfour Kitchen. Situated inside the beautiful art-deco inspired Spicers Balfour Hotel, the restaurant features modern Australian cuisine with European flair and a large wrap-around deck. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect place to get your feast on, Mizu Restaurant brings the best of Japanese fusion to your lips and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch them on a sake appreciation night.
Nightcap | 11pm
Okay, you’ve been there, done that – now it’s time for one last drink before calling it quits. Luckily you’re in Brisbane, so the night’s still balmy and anything is possible. At this point you have several options, but don’t stress, narrowing them down is fairly easy. The epicentre of Brisbane’s nightlife is in Fortitude Valley, so if you’re looking for a bit of a boogie, start your night off with cocktails at The Bowery and some dim-lit jazz. For those of you who’d prefer a quieter route, the West End has recently provided some exceptional watering holes, most notably Cobbler, a whiskey bar decked out in vintage sports memorabilia.