Brisbane- the place to be

W Brisbane.

By Kylie Mitchell-Smith

Whether you call it Brisbane, Bris Vegas or Brissie, Queensland’s capital city is having its time in the sun, fast becoming a global destination, this pretty city by river is poised for the future.

There’s been an array of international hotels swing open their doors along with laneways being transformed into urban eat streets. The activation of precincts such as Howard Smith Wharves and the soon to be opened Queens Wharf are connecting the CBD across the river to Southbank.

Wander amongst the purple bougainvillea path that weaves in and around Southbank and you’ll find an array of activities such as the Streets Beach, Chinese Gardens, Fish Lane and the Cultural Precinct.

The Gallery of Modern Art takes pride of place on the riverfront, with magnificent views across to the CBD and mountains beyond. Home to world class exhibitions such as the Asia Pacific Triannual, it’s a creative space built for the people.

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is the cities jewel in the crown for performing arts, with internationally acclaimed shows playing most days of the week.

A hop and skip down the road in West End, the recently launched Thomas Dixon Centre, is the home of Queensland Ballet, with a state-of-the-art theatre, dance studio, community spaces, public art instillations and an array of food offerings, including a roof top venue, cafe and bunker bar & restaurant.

Learn more about Brisbane’s rich Aboriginal culture on a guided Blackcard Cultural Tour that takes in the many public art instillations along the way, telling the stories of Meeanjin, meaning place of the blue water lilies.

The place to stay and eat on the Southside is the Novotel ideally located across from Musgrave Park, just behind the bustling Southbank precinct. Dine at the Spice Central Kitchen & Bar, with views across the park, the menu is jam packed with local produce and flavours that complement the impressive wine list.

After lunch head to the rooftop bar at the exquisite Emporium Hotel, open daily to the public the views are some of the best Brisbane has on offer, coupled with a creative cocktail list it’s the place to be as the sun goes down. Book a decadent French style high tea at the Hotels exquisite ‘Belle Epoque’ café.

Take an electric bike or scooter across the river on the many pedestrian bridges and paths that connect the city or catch a ferry and enjoy the sites as the river twists and turns. Stop off at the impressive W Brisbane, a renowned international hotel brand that is all about lifestyle and culture.

The rooms are suitably attired to capture the views and the essence of the Sunshine State. The hotel is as welcoming as it is charming, with a stunning rooftop bar that looks across the river.

Renowned restaurant Three Blue Ducks is located within the W Brisbane, a menu fused with native ingredients. Try the raw kingfish, fermented green chilli, buttermilk, cucumber, apple, nori and Davidson plum, coconut custard, poached rhubarb and almond praline for dessert.

Enjoy street performers and food vendors in King George Square and shop Queen Street Mall for an eclectic mix of independent designers and major brands.

Brisbane City Hall is the heart of the city, a decadent, art deco building built in the 1920’s. Open to the public with free live music, the venue hosts some of the city’s finest events like Brisbane Fashion Festival.

Take a stroll through the majestic Botanical Gardens and catch a live show at the open-air River Stage. A short stroll to Eagle Street Pier and the historical Customs House, where you can grab a bite to eat and watch the sun set over Story Bridge.

Howard Smith Wharves is a short walk along the promenade and is purpose-built under the Story Bridge, with cascading copper lifts that adjoin Bowen Terrace to Fortitude Valley.

A lifestyle precinct, with on-site brewery and food from across the globe, such as Greca, Stanley and Yoko. The Vincent Hotel takes pride of place at the Wharves, built into the rock façade, with a stunning rooftop bar and infinity pool it’s one of the finest hotels in the land.

Boutique shopping and luxe dining is all the rage on James Street, try Sunshine for lunch, City Winery for tapas and vino and Hellenika for dinner. Fortitude Valley is the place to be for late night soirees, with iconic venues like Cloudland, The Tivoli and The Triffid.

Head up to Mt Coot-ha and take in the city at great heights, with views across to the mountains beyond you get a sense of how truly beautiful the city landscape is.

There’s plenty more to see and do in Brisbane Town from sporting arenas to open green spaces and leafy urban villages, a city on the move its prepping itself for the Olympics and beyond.

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