Recently I ventured over to Brisbane for a mini break to visit friends. I have never been to Brisbane so I was eager to see what it was like and experience a bit of the “BrisVegas” that everyone talks about.
I stayed for 4 days; saw the sights, ate delicious food, drank a few cocktails and a few more wines and experienced a good introduction to Queensland’s capital city.
My first impression of Brisbane was that it was warm. Well, relatively warm compared to Perth in June. The tropics in winter are delightful; I hear it’s a different story in the height of summer but I am yet to experience that. I have however experienced that humid, sticky climate in many Asian countries so I understand the feeling of needing a shower the minute after you get out of the shower!
But anyway, as far as June goes it was perfect.
Driving through the streets of Brisbane everything felt a bit familiar, it has a similar vibe to Broome or some of the nicer parts of Bali. Palm trees, houses on stilts, weatherboard buildings and bright flowers all add to the tropical holiday-like feel.
Signs for suburbs with storybook names like Sunnybank, Kangaroo Point, Jindalee and Indooroopilly fill the windscreen as we wind our way through the streets. Trendy cafes, modern shopping centres and funky bars are peppered about the place.
The cars are beginning to build up, the traffic is quite congested and there are several bridges and motorways stretched out before us. The roads are busy.
Having said that, one thing that I notice about Brisbane is that the river is very well utilised. The Brisbane River is wide and bendy, it snakes its way through the city with several large City-Cat ferries riding its waves. The City-Cats are easy to negotiate and seem to run regularly. They stop at several spots along the river so patrons can get on and off as they please. It cost me $5.80 for a 2 hour ticket.
Our Cat bounded along as we made our way up the river (or perhaps it was down, my sense of direction is non-existent.) We slipped under the historic Storey Bridge and alighted at New Farm, a trendy, affluent, hipster suburb.
We walked through the cultural centre of Brisbane and past museums, art gallery, theatres and cafes. I love these arty hubs in cities for obvious reasons. I love the energy and the potential there. It is a bit confusing though that these meccas of creativity, in so many cities, are filled with large concrete buildings. Uninspired and lacking in colour. Brisbane is like this, as is Perth and even Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York to a certain extent. Anyway, luckily the work that goes on beyond those grey walls is all shades of rainbow!
Next we made our way to South Bank which for me was the highlight of Brisbane. Restaurants, flowers, performers, cool shops and trendy bars were scattered about the place. There is a beach and outdoor public pools along the river and bougainvillea lined walking tracks. The Brisbane Eye, the ferris wheel, which looks out over the city stands proudly on the banks of the river.
We had a long, lazy, wine infused tapas lunch at a lovely restaurant in Indooroopilly called Ole Fuego which I would highly recommend (pictures in the gallery) and we had dinner one night at a weird, but in a good way, RSL club come casino, come piano bar which was all types of fabulous. Apparently they have them all over Brisbane and the east coast. The one we went to was called the Sunnybank Community and Sports Centre. Why don’t we have those in WA?
In order to get a good view over Brisbane we headed out to Mount Coot-tha which is home to the Brisbane Lookout. Gazing out over the city of Brisbane, with the suburbs and the CBD stretched out below us and the winding Brisbane river meandering its way through, it looked like an intricate little Lego land.
BrisVegas certainly impressed me but not for the Vegas like attractions, more for the laidback, relaxed vibe and the pretty, tropical touches. I will definitely be back.
Check out our photo gallery below for more snaps of the city, the food and the arts.