What's New and Must Do in Brisbane - An Insider Guide to the sunny Queensland capital
Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, combines big city attractions with a warm country-town welcome. The sun-soaked subtropical Queensland capital is coming of age with new hotels, restaurants, vibrant visitor precincts and great day tour destinations to explore.
Climb the story Bridge, cruise the Brisbane River, cuddle a koala (at Lone Pine Sanctuary, Currumbin or Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo), catch a performance at the QPAC and capture city skyline views from the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Enjoy riverside walks, wander through the city’s spectacular Botanic Gardens and hike in the Scenic Rim’s ancient rainforests. Book a table at one of the city’s fabulous riverside restaurants and browse a colourful collection of shops that line city laneways and arcades (from James Street to Queens Street).
Where to stay: Brisbane’s hot new hotels
Visitors to Brisbane are spoilt for choice with the city having recently welcomed a host of new hotels with instaworthy resort-style pools and rooftop bars including: Fantauzzo Art Hotel, the Calile, Emporium Southbank, Ovolo the Valley and Ovolo Inchcolm, the W and the Westin. (With the Ritz Carlton still to come in 2022 as part of the Queens Wharf and Treasury Casino redevelopment).
Where to eat: Brisbane’s cool rooftop bars and riverside restaurants
Foodies are equally well catered for in ‘Brissy’ these days .. don’t miss:
Howard Smith Wharves: Brisbane’s newest riverside dining and entertainment precinct at the foot of the Story Bridge (heads for Mr Percivals, Arc dining and wine bar, Felons Brewery or Greca restaurant)
Eagle Street Pier: Fine dining at riverside restaurants, bars and cafes with views of the Story Bridge
South Bank: Make your way to Little Stanley Street to sample global flavours from Spanish Tapas to Japanese Tepanyaki served with CBD skyline views
Laneways: Try Burnett Lane, Albert Lane and Gresham Lane in the city centre or Winn, Bakery and California Lanes in ‘the Valley’ for great local eats and tasty hidden finds.
Eat Street North Shore: Meet the locals, enjoy outdoor entertainment and feast on multicultural street food from converted shipping containers and food trucks (Open Friday-Sunday evenings, MacArthur Ave, Hamilton).
Chinatown: Savour the flavours of Asia; traditional and contemporary, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Korean and Thai (Duncan Street, Fortitude Valley)
New Farm: Live local with strong coffees and big brunches (Commercial Rd) alongside cool cocktails and well-stocked wine bars (Brunswick Street and Teneriffe).
Explore the City’s Colourful Precincts:
South Bank: riverside cafes, restaurants and even a man-made beach with city skyline views. Home to QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) and QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre).
Fortitude Valley: Cosmopolitan contradictions - from bohemian bars to designer dining, Chinatown, fashionable James Street shopping and lively Brunswick Street late night entertainment.
New Farm: tree-lined streets and riverside parklands, classic Queenslander architecture and fabulous Italian eateries.
Discover Brisbane’s Best Day Trips
From theme parks to national parks, highlands to islands, markets, mountains and more -
Just beyond the city limits, adventures without limits provide inviting day trip destinations:
- Snorkel the southern-most reaches of the Great Barrier Reef with a visit to Lady Elliott Island
- Tee off on some of Australia’s top-rated golf courses on the Gold Coast
- Swim with turtles, spot whales (in season) and hand feed dolphins on Moreton Island
- Hike through ancient Scenic Rim rainforests in the Lamington National Park
- Sample sauvignon blanc, shiraz and sparklings at Sirromet Cellar Door
- Learn stories of the Dreamtime from a Quandamooka local on Stradbroke Island
- Visit the picturesque villages of Mt Tamborine and the Gold Coast hinterland.
- Marvel at the volcanic peaks of the Sunshine Coast’s Glasshouse Mountains
And just in case you need any more reason to visit Brisbane .. 2020 brings some exciting events to the city too .. Australia’s golden girl of tennis, Ash Barty, is set to play at the Brisbane International (6-12 Jan 2020) and the city will be staging a state-of-the-production of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle Opera (10 Nov – 5 Dec 2020) – read on for more details and more great cultural events in Australia 2020.