Brisbane, the river city, capital city of Queensland’s sunshine state is a cosmopolitan metropolis a little less frantic than its southern coastal counterparts. It’s a very laid back city that has grown over the years and developed its own café and shopping culture, and its own brand of sophistication.
All manner of Brisbane’s major dining, shopping and sometimes very avant-garde and quirky stores are centred in and closely around the CBD. A very family friendly city, South Bank which is the old Expo location is full of entertainment, and while tourists do have it on their list of places to visit, it has a very local feel to it, and residents regularly spend their free time dining al fresco, picnicking in the more than 17 landscaped hectares, or swimming in the manmade beach lagoon on warm sunny days. The Queensland Museum of cultural history is fascinating, very well laid out and holds your attention at every turn.
Within the South Bank precinct, the Queensland Art Gallery displays a collection of more than 10,000 pieces and replaces the stuffy old perception of what a gallery experience used to be. Linked to the Art Gallery, and next to the State Library, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is not only unique architecturally it’s the second largest public art museum in Australia.
Wander up to nearby Little Stanley which boasts some of the best restaurants in town and Grey Street, a creative and cultural hub. Fortitude Valley or ‘The Valley’ as locals call it, has some of the most unique fashion in Australia, a bohemian mix of vintage and contemporary designs. Cosmopolitan Spring Hill, as the city’s oldest suburb has become trendy Spring Hill and is now filled with gourmet eateries and funky cafés. Colourful Brunswick Mall has great weekend markets, Chinatown some of the most authentic and good value Asian food in the country, and the extravagance of Queen Street Mall, are all within easy walks or bus rides.
Spend an afternoon on Brisbane’s beautiful river, jump on board the City Cat cruising, it’s a great way to check out the sights and soak up the Queensland sunshine. Jump off at Riverside and enjoys some great Aussie beer and check out the Sunday markets.
Speaking of markets, Brisbane seems to have made the activity an art form. From unique nifty collectibles to the South Bank Young Designers Market on Little Stanley Street, one off designer pieces and unusual jewellery are aplenty and you don’t need to search for a small suburban market to find the best buys.
Each September the banks of the river come alive when Riverfestival explodes with impressive fireworks, music, an environmental symposium and loads of atmospheric entertainment.
Brisbane is full of surprises, spend some time exploring or rediscovering the wonders of this great city while enjoying the pleasures of its unique laid back atmosphere.