Top 10 reasons' you can't stay away from Brisbane
From street food markets and neighbourhood shopping, to lavish new hotels, rooftop bars and some of Australia's top restaurants. Forget the Brisbane you think you know. With its gorgeous tropical climate and huge range of attractions, it's easy to see why so many Kiwis just can't stay away from this handy part of the world.
1. Stroll along the riverside
Brisbane holidays are all about sunshine, the winding river and the outdoors. Put on your walking shoes and conquer the Brisbane Riverwalk; a suspended pathway sitting above the water along the Brisbane River, linking the trendy precinct of New Farm to Brisbane's newest entertainment and lifestyle destination - Howard Smith Wharves. Or keep exploring along the river stopping off at local favourite Riverbar & Kitchen, before finishing at the vibrant dining hot-spot of South Bank. You can also pack a picnic and relax in one of the many riverside parks.
2. Explore land and sea at Moreton Island
Moreton Island is the third largest sand island in the world and perfect for an overnight or day adventure from Brisbane via a quick ferry ride. In a day you can toboggan down huge dunes at up to 70km/h, then climb back up (repeat until exhausted). When it's time to cool off, snorkel or kayak the Tangalooma Wrecks, a fascinating reef of 15 sunken ships. Here you'll discover coral formations, tropical fish and all kinds of marine life that have made the wrecks their home. Round off your day with a quad-bike tour along bush trails that lead to massive ocean views.
3. Discover Brisbane at night
The riverside precinct at Eagle Street Pier is the perfect spot to meet friends for a long lunch, evening drinks or dinner. When you're ready to party on, nestled between Queen St and Eagle St is Eagle Lane, where you'll find an uber-cool live music venue and basement bar called Brooklyn Standard. Blues, funk and soul are the main music flavours; the bar snacks are just as enticing.
4. Get yourself to GOMA
The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) shows off some of the most exciting modern art you'll ever see. The building itself is an art form, sheltering 16,000 works that will amaze, challenge and amuse you. You'll find GOMA in South Bank's cultural precinct, a riverside area that's packed with attractions, parks, bars and restaurants.
5. Take your appetite to Eat Street
Eat Street Northshore is a clever conglomeration of shipping containers that have been turned into tasty eating, drinking and entertaining places. It's a fun and funky way to discover Brisbane's tastiest street food. Here you can explore wildly-decorated laneways along the Brisbane riverbank and more than 70 stalls selling delicious dishes from around the world. Eat Street's open Friday to Sunday throughout the year.
6. Live it up in Fortitude Valley
Brisbane's best open-air cinema experience happens in Fortitude Valley at Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar & Restaurant. 'The Valley', as this area is called, is an entertainment district with a difference. Once a late night hub for party-seeking locals, it's now home to some of the city's best laneways, brunch cafés, restaurants, bars and hotels. The Valley is also a go-to shopping precinct. James Street is lined with big name and emerging boutiques, and foodies will love the James Street Market. To base yourself in this playful precinct, check out The Calile Hotel on James Street or the nearby Ovlov The Valley, with its wonderfully whimsical décor.
7. Explore vibrant laneways
More than 10 years ago, Brisbane City Council began a programme to breathe new life into the city's historic laneways. Eagle Lane and Burnett Lane in the CDB, and Fish Lane behind the South Bank arts district were among the first to become exciting new destinations. Bakery Lane in Fortitude Valley soon followed and the programme's success led private developers to pick up the torch and run with it. Highly-rated examples that have joined the early pioneers now include Albert Lane and Spencer Lane in the city, and Ada Lane, Winn Lane and California Lane in Fortitude Valley. Each laneway has its own mix of bars, eateries, boutique shops, architecture and artwork to explore by day or night.
8. Meet the greeters
Many Brisbane activities are absolutely free. For example, it costs nothing to join a Brisbane Greeters Tour and discover the city's best sightseeing, hidden stories and art trails. You can choose where your tour goes or you can pick 'greeter's choice' and let a knowledgeable local show you what's good. Book online and be introduced to some of the interesting places and hidden corners that bring the city to life.
9. Head to Howard Smith Wharves
Set beneath the historic Story Bridge, Howard Smith Wharves is must-visit riverside precinct. Home to the brewery bar of Felons Brewing Company, Mr Percival's overwater bar and an exciting range of restaurants like GRECA and ARC Dining, this is a perfect spot to eat, drink and play in the city. There's even a large lawn where you can spread your own picnic rug and enjoy a meal from the Fish and Chippery with a takeaway beer from Felons.
10. Check out the new hotels
Along with its growing popularity as a visitor destination, Brisbane has seen a boom in new luxury hotels with unique and enticing personalities. Each is a mini-destination in its own right. The hip and glitzy, Emporium Hotel South Bank features the very latest in-room tech, a rooftop infinity pool for guests and a snazzy public rooftop bar. Across the river, W Brisbane will have you feeding Instagram in seconds with its unique interior design features and sweeping views. Also in the CBD, the Westin sets itself apart with a fabulous swim-up pool bar and ‘run concierges' who'll accompany you on the city's best jogging routes. Down at Howard Smith Wharves, the Fantauzzo is an art-focussed, super-contemporary hotel right on the river. In Fortitude Valley, Ovolo The Valley has been described as a playful and luxurious home-away-from-home with a rooftop pool and all kinds of freebies to make you smile. Another new Fortitude Valley favourite is The Calile Hotel, known for its relaxing Beverly Hills vibe and handy location. It's right on James Street and beside Ada Lane, the new laneway dining precinct.