Picking where to go for a long weekend can be hard. Do you go for sand? For culture? For food? For chill? They’re all good, it’s just that most destinations don’t have all of them at once. What if I told you that actually, Brisbane kinda does? We already know it well as the super chill QLD capital with plenty of stunning beaches and islands just a day trip away, but what you may not have realised is that it’s also really bringing its cultural side to life so you can have both.
Days spent lounging on nearby island beaches and nights filled with live music, foodie delights, and art displays? Ah, yup, sign me up please and thank you.
1. North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah)
If you haven’t worked out how easy it is to go island hopping from Brisbane, then you are missing out. North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) somehow remains a local secret. I honestly don’t get why. It’s a super easy 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland, and yes you can take your car.
Once you get there, half the island is covered by the pristine Naree Budjong Djara National Park where you can find sand dunes, wetlands, endangered heathlands, and freshwater lakes. Not just any freshwater lakes. Bathe and heal in the natural tea tree lake, Bunmeera. The rest of the island is all beaut beaches, stunning seaside dining, and watersports. Best way to experience this paradise? Stay the night at Allure Resort.
2. Howard Smith Wharves
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It's exciting to see Howard Smith Wharves full of life. . I remember over ten years ago there was talk of restoring them but felt like one of those projects that might never happen…but here it is and it looks amazing. I'm excited to check out the the new brewery @felonsbrewingco ???? and the over water bar @mrpercivals looks v.classy! ???? . Have you been? What did you think? . . . #howardsmithwharves #fellonsbrewingco #brisbane #brisbanecity #viewsofbrisbane #visitbrisbane #mybrisbane #discoverbrisbane #travelqld #wow_australia2018 #aussiephotos #cityviews #brisbaneanyday #thisisbrisbane #ilovequeensland #iloveaustralia #downunder #moodygrams #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #visitaustralia #djiglobal #djimavicpro #fromwhereidrone #storybridge #thegoodguide
Fancy yourself a bit of a foodie? Or, like me, are you fully aware you know nothing about food and yet a tasty bite brings you the greatest of joys? Either way, you have to head under the Story Bridge to the super cool area that is Howard Smith Wharves.
These wharves were built in this prime position back in the 1930s but abandoned in the 60s. Luckily, they’ve now been heritage listed and revamped to be a must-visit hub of restaurants, bars, and even a brewery.
A little shout-out to the super chic Mr. Percivals which is literally over the water and 100% the best place for a sophisticated bevvie on a sunny day. Also to Felons Brewing Co. because I can never go past a local craft brewery, especially when it also serves wood-fired pizza. And finally to ARC Dining & Wine Bar. This restaurant is technically two venues joined together by a funky atrium filled with olive trees and succulents. It’s serving up not only tasty dishes, but very real European vibes.
3. Fish Lane
You know my favourite thing about hipsters? Besides the fact I’m vegetarian and they SERIOUSLY improved my dining options. I love how much they really stepped up and combined the whole food, art, entertainment mash-up.
Case and point made by the incredibly cool laneway experience that is Fish Lane. Here you’ll find chic bars, tasty restaurant and an ever-changing display of street art.
It’s hard to decide where to go, but there’s a very strong case for the Vietnamese street food at the outdoor dining area of Hello Please, especially as you can chow down under fairy lights and a giant Mohammad Ali mural. Or, of course, you could try the best Aperol Spritz of your life as you enjoy amazing Italian cuisine at Julius. Then again, maybe the top-class vegan burgers at Grass Fed will call your name.
4. Moreton Island Wrecks
How often do you get to swim around a shipwreck? An easy hour-ish on a ferry from Brisbane will get you to Moreton Island where you can do just that. This group of sunken ships was intentionally created by the Queensland Government between 1963 and 1984 in order to provide a safe place for boats to anchor.
Today, they and the coral growing over them are home to 100 species of fish. If you get lucky you might even spot dolphins, wobbegongs, and dugongs.
5. The Brisbane Powerhouse
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A change from sunsets. Glorious blue skies and sunshine over the Brisbane Powerhouse at New Farm Park in the river city. . Hope you are having a good Thursday. A book fell on my head last night. I've only got my shelf to blame! ????♂️ . . #brisbane #brisbanesunset #brisbanecity #viewsofbrisbane #discoverbrisbane #newfarm #newfarmpark #brisbanepowerhouse #mybrisbane #brisbaneanyday #brisbaneriver #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #iloveaustralia #downunder #visitaustralia #visitbrisbane #dronephotography #brisbanephotography #brisbanephotographic #igersbrisbane #aussiephotos #wotif #wow_australia2019 #bne
This 1920s riverside power station has been restored to become an art lover’s delight. Think bare brick walls and actual, literal art around the place. This makes it worth a wander through Brisbane Powerhouse at any time, but the program of comedians, live music, dancers and writers, visual and digital films and more make it a place worth planning your time around. Some are even free!
Because food is obviously always important, there are two stellar dining options here. Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen will whip you up some soul food and Bloody Mary’s with river views. If you’re in the mood for some hearty Italian, the locals swear by Bar Alto. Trust me, they’ve told me many times. Oh and there’s totes a farmer’s market every Saturday, in case you needed a cherry on top.
6. The Art Galleries
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Good morning everyone ???? If you haven’t captured the must-have snap of #APT9QAGOMA yet, today is the perfect day to do so! ???? APT9 artist @iman.raad is here this morning at 11.30am for a free artist talk with Ellie Buttrose, Associate Curator, International Art, @qagoma. If you can't make it, don't fret, we’ll be live-streaming the chat here on Instagram, so be sure to tune in! ???? @emma_eclife #regram / ???? @iman_raad 'Days of Bliss and Woe' 2018. APT9 closes in two weeks, Sun 28 Apr #thisisqueensland #visitbrisbane #brisbaneanyday #wheretobrisbane
South Bank in general is known as the cultural centre of Brisbane. So it’s fitting that it’s where The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) reside, right across from each other. Entry to both is free and that includes most exhibitions. However, both have some seriously cool special exhibitions to boast about over the years.
On a personal note, the Up Late nights held at the GoMA are literally my favorite thing in Brisbane. On Friday nights, GoMA keeps its doors open after hours for an 18+ night of art explorations, live bands, nibbles and plenty of drinks. There is nothing like feeling super cultured on an epic Friday night out.
Every city has one of those suburbs that is just a bit chicer than the rest. In Brisbane, that suburb is Paddington. Settled way back in the 1960s, it maintains some adorable architecture and classic Queenslander houses even while it modernised into the very cool place it is today. Think incredible cafe culture at very trendy places to eat and unique artsy stores and boutiques.
There are plenty of options if you’re looking to shop ’til you drop, but defs check out the Australian designers at Petrol Boutique or wander through the antiques of Empire Revival. Then do yourself a favour and refuel at Remys, whose cheeseburger is second to none, and yes there’s an equally tasty vege option. Or pop next door for vegan ramen at Hai Hai.
8. Street Art Trail
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DRAPL X TREAZY X RICS BAR #fortitudevalley . For @drapl #thefinishedproduct . … . #brisbanephotographer #femalephotographer #urbanandstreet #architecture #thevisualcollective #bneart #paradisexmagazine #burnmagazine #lensculture #lucecurated #subjectivelyobjective #thisaintartschool #oftheafternoon #ifyouleave #broadmagazine #rentalmag #photozine #myfeatureshoot #paperjournalmag #spicollective #urbanandstreet #bsafest
Take yourself on a little self-guided tour of the city to find all the works by the buzzing community of talented artists both based in and passing through Brisbane. Not sure where to start? This is a really great guide to plan your exploring around.
In fact, the city is so passionate about its burgeoning street art scene that they even hold the Brisbane Street Art Festival every May to not only encourage artists from all different specialties but to showcase what these artists can do to the average punter (like moi).
Want to know exactly how to plan your long weekend in and around Brisbane? We thought you might, so we made the itinerary of your dreams. You’re welcome. Download it here.Image: Provided / [Kim Wheeler]