If you had to pick somewhere other than Sydney or Melbourne to visit, where would you go? Would you go to Queensland? If you’re in Australia, you need to visit the Sunshine state at least once in your life. There’s many places to go whether you’re looking for relaxed beach vibes (a la Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast), nature (Cairns/Great Barrier Reef) or navigating through cities, which you can do plenty of in Brisbane.
I found myself in Brisbane over the last New Year’s weekend. Based on a bit of research and my own experiences, I put together a small guide for you for places to eat, stay and things to do.
> WHERE TO EAT <
> Miss Jones (New Farm): No travel guide on Latte & Luxe can be published without including at least one cafe. Or any recommendation for coffee shops for that matter. Miss Jones is the place for you if you like classic brunch dishes that are healthy yet indulgent at the same time. It’s arguably one of the most Instagrammable cafes of Brisbane. Everything about it screams “picture-worthy”, from the neon sign, millennial pink walls and coffee cups to the ‘Excuse Me Miss’ imprint embedded on the ground out the front.
> Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen (West End): Go here if you’re either trying to stay on track with your health, or if you just want food that’s both pretty and incredibly delicious! For anyone who’s gluten-free or has other dietary needs, Miss Bliss is filled with options for you. Describe images/bread. The cafe lives up to its name so whether you sit inside close to the kitchen or on the verandah near the garden, I guarantee you a moment of bliss.
> Eat Street Northshore (Hamilton): Every weekend in Hamilton, many Brisbane locals venture out to try a plethora of street food. You can find food from all different parts of the world and watch a little bit of live music. Your FOMO levels will be up so high you’ll want to book a plane ticket for another weekend! If I could tell you ONE thing to try, it would be the Korean fusion pancakes at A-Meri Soul. They look a little more like tacos, but they don’t skimp on the Korean flavours (think bulgogi and honey soy). Get yourself some ice-cream tacos too if you’re craving something sweet to wash it down!
> WHERE TO STAY <
> Spring Hill: Spring Hill is an ideal location if you’re looking for somewhere convenient and a little less expensive. The neighbourhood is about a 5 to 10 minute walk from the city centre, 15 minutes to Southbank and 20 minutes to the Botanical Gardens and Eagle Street Pier. It’s also home to Roma Street Parklands, a very huge and whimsical garden perfect for picnics or a morning jog.
> Fortitude Valley: “The Valley” is the token ‘hip’ neighbourhood of Brisbane. This is the best place to stay if you’re looking to talk to more local people and hop across a variety of restaurants, bars and clubs. You’ll also find Bakery Lane – somewhat of a hipster mix of retail establishments but home to I Heart Brownies, known to produce the best brownies of Brisbane (they were unfortunately closed when I was there!).
> WHAT TO DO <
> Shopping: Queen Street Mall is the centre for all things shopping. You’ll find your typical clothing and department stores here, as well as the odd gift shop. If you’re looking for something a little more luxe and upmarket, head over to James Street in Fortitude Valley. It’s filled with designer boutiques, locally handmade gifts and a market for fresh and organic Australian produce.
> My favourite find: Do you like secondhand bookstores? Bent Books in West End is one of the best I’ve seen. They have a large, carefully curated range of books to choose from. There’s even a patio and shed with more hidden books!
> Walk through the Botanical Gardens: Brisbane’s gardens are filled with frangipanis! It’s one of the most spacious parts of the city and can give you uninterrupted views of the Brisbane River. This is also a popular spot to go bike riding. You can hire a bike from anywhere in the city centre. The first 30 minutes are free, and then a small fee is taken from a deposit every hour or so afterwards. For someone like me who’s not great at bike riding (to say the least), it was definitely worth trying.
> Explore Southbank: Southbank is to Brisbane as the Opera House is to Sydney, or the Eiffel Tower to Paris. Check out Streets Beach – it’s the only beach in Brisbane. Although it’s man-made, you can surround yourself with all sorts of tropical plants and get a brilliant view of the cityscape. Southbank is also home to the Gallery of Modern Art. Entry is free, so you may as well go and expand your mind a little. P.S. Here’s a pic of the midnight fireworks over Southbank – not bad, hey?
So tell me…
Have you been to Brisbane? Where would you go if you only had 48 hours to spend?