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When it comes to choosing an Australian based destination that is great for a mini-break or weekend escape it’s hard to beat Queensland’s capital city – Brisbane. The river city has undertaken a massive transformation over the past twenty years or so and is now on an equal par with many of the other trendy Australian cities. The river that snakes its way through the city and its shorelines have been revamped to create green spaces, a cultural precinct, quirky markets, alfresco cafes and restaurants and walking and cycling paths that stretch for kilometres.
Most of Brisbane’s attractions are located within comfortable walking distance to the heartthrob of the city, its business and shopping centre, world class hotels, botanical gardens, university and the Treasury Casino. You can literally walk to anything on either side of the river by accessing purpose built pedestrian bridges and broad pathways.
Brisbane offers a great range of accommodation in the city or inner-suburbs, from hotels to modern apartments that vary from luxury 5-star rated to boutique hotels. My pick would be somewhere centrally located within the Brisbane CBD, like the W Brisbane overlooking the Brisbane River at North Quay. The W boasts luxury contemporary design, fashion, music and a culinary blend to showcase Australian style and what is new and happening in Brisbane. Plus it has the most amazing pool area aptly named the Wet Deck that is open day and night for guests. When the sun goes down the Wet Deck comes to life with magnificent sunset views, curated cocktails, Champagne, live DJ’s and an Aussie barbeque. All this and Brisbane’s most popular attractions are no more that 10 minutes walk away!
Without further ado here are my top 10 things to do in Brisbane on a weekend escape:
The extensive South Bank area of Brisbane is accessible from the city centre by two bridges: at one end the Kuripla Bridge and at the other the Go Between Bridge. The 17 hectares of South Bank Parklands encompasses the Performing Arts Centre, Museum, Exhibition & Convention Centre, and Queensland Art Gallery. Depending on your cultural taste, you can choose from great live entertainment at QPAC, exhibitions and shows at the BCEC, interesting exhibits at Queensland Museum or incredible art exhibits at QAGOMA.
The CityCat cruises the Brisbane River calling in at some of the city’s more interesting and dynamic suburbs. You can disembark at your leisure with most services running every 13 minutes. Terminals are dotted along the Brisbane River between UQ St Lucia and Northshore Hamilton.
For shopping there is no better place than Queen Street Mall which offers an unrivalled mix of local, national and international labels and flagship stores. More than 700 retailers have made their homes here – many enjoy mall and street frontage, others are tucked away inside world-class centres and heritage-listed arcades.
It’s enjoyable just taking a stroll along the kilometres of navigable pathways following the river or into the glorious City Botanic Gardens, South Bank Parklands and Roma Street Parklands near the city. Whilst you’re in the South Bank Parklands you can ride The Wheel of Brisbane, visit the Nepalese Pagoda, take a dip in Streets Beach, shop at the Collective Markets (Friday to Sunday) and marvel at the one kilometre long, bougainvillea clad, steel awning – The Arbour.
Discover three spectacular non-stop levels with big time gaming action, featuring both table games and electronic gaming machines at the historic Treasury Casino in Brisbane CBD. You will marvel at the four-storey atrium of the Main Gaming Floor, etched with the twinkle of the night sky. From Blackjack to Roulette and Texas Hold’em, whatever your game, you will feel like a high roller in no time!
Say yes to adventure and embrace the challenge of rock climbing on the high cliffs of the Brisbane River at Kangaroo Point! Join the friendly rock climbing company Riverlife and venture to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs where a range of climbs of varying difficulty levels are available to suit all skill levels. For the not so brave, sit it out with a coffee or a chilled Aperol Spritz at Bar Spritz located on the edge of the cliffs with amazing views over the cliffs, river and cityscape.
West End with its eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants, bars and nightlife, live music, grungy street art and quirky shops, is the perfect inner-city suburb to spot a hipster or two! Boundary Street is the pulsing hub of the suburb, with its high concentration of bars, pubs and cafes. From grungy retro-styling to modern furnishings, these bars will satisfy all needs, from cool cocktails to craft beer. Plus there are weekend markets happening around West End where you will find an array of “hipster” clothing, wares and farm fresh produce.
The Collective Markets at South Bank are open every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, and feature an exciting range of arts, craft, homewares, collectibles, exotic items, designer fashion and much more. Or visit one of Brisbane’s most famous markets in the Valley every Saturday. For originality and pure atmosphere, it’s hard to top. Located in the heart of Fortitude Valley, in the Brunswick Street Mall and Chinatown Mall, these markets show this vibrant and fun part of town at its best. Closer to the city in the Botanic Gardens are the Riverside Markets happening every Sunday. Check out the range of art and fashion, listen to live music, and devour great international food and coffee, under the Queensland sun.
Hop on a Paddlewheeler at Eagle Street Pier and soak up the sights of Brisbane from the river and enjoy a delicious meal at the same time. Kookaburra Showboat Cruises offer a variety of cruises including a Brisbane sightseeing cruise, lunch, high tea or a romantic city lights dinner cruise.
Nothing beats a “sundowner” at one of Brisbane’s rooftop bars. Select from Dandy’s at West End, Eagle’s Nest at Kangaroo Point, Elixir or Eleven Rooftop Bars in the Valley, or Sixteen Antlers Bar in the city. All bars have a relaxed and sophisticated vibe where you can take in the impressive views of the Brisbane city skyline and river whilst you share a meal from their tapas menus.
Take a look at more things to do in Brisbane.
This article was written in partnership with Hotels.com
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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JanetApril 13, 2019
A fascinating look at my home town and I think I have done most of these! Ok not the abseiling, but last week I did the Story Bridge Climb so I reckon that deserves a place on your list too :-) .
Even though we live in Brisbane hubby and I have had a couple of weekend stays in the heart of the city and had a great time. The W looks great – not your usual cookie cutter hotel room.
KathyApril 15, 2019
Good on you for doing the bridge climb. I imagine it was fabulous. I always enjoy coming to Brisbane for a weekend because there are just so many great things to do. The W is certainly one of Brisbane’s quirkiest hotels. I love it!