Living in Brisbane
Insider’s Guide to Things to Do in Brisbane
Brisbane shot to fame by hosting the 1988 World Expo. All of a sudden this big country town was the focus of the entire world.
Since then Brisbane has gone from strength to strength. There are now so many cafes, restaurants, galleries and activities that it would be hard to do everything even if you live there for years!
It has the best winter climate of any Australian city and is by far the easiest to live in with wide roads, good parking and a growing transport system. Travelling to work along the Brisbane River by ferry is a relaxing experience indeed!
We hope that the information below will give you an insider’s look at how great the city really is.
- Brisbane’s inner suburb of Woolloongabba has become the go to place for unique dining and bar experiences in Brisbane. Establishments such as The Crosstown Eating House which was originally an antique store have become destination eateries. Also check out Pearl Cafe !
- Aria has a beautiful restaurant on the banks of the Brisbane river, right in the middle of the CBD. You can get there by ferry, car or a beautiful stroll along the river itself. The restaurant looks out over the river and the restaurant even has a private dining area for medium sized groups, ideal for celebrations of a sophisticated work event. The menu is exquisite as are the accompanying wines.
- Brisbane also has some amazing laneway venues in the CBD. Burnett Lane is the city’s oldest and has numerous amazing venues. Try Super Whatnot and Survey Co. You will feel like you are in Melbourne !
- Montrachet in Paddington , just a stone throw from the city is a popular French Fine Dining experience and one well worth visiting.
- Also in Paddington at the Antique Centre end is the iconic Java Lounge. Perfect for breakfast and lunch, excellent food and always great service. Then just stroll into the old Plaza Theatre which houses about 50 different dealers selling interesting vintage and retro curios !
- The Foraging Quail. It’s a degustation restaurant and is sensational. We loved it and will go back. It’s more a special occasion restaurant but worth every cent. It’s on Moray Street at the Teneriffe end.
- The M&A precinct in Fortitude Valley (James Street end between McLachlan and Ann Streets) has recently opened and combines a wide range of dining experiences. The beauty of this area is you are a minute’s walk away from James street which has even more bars, cafes and restaurants for you to explore. This is really one of the top places to eat in Brisbane and you will always find somewhere to eat or drink regardless of whether it is Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!
- Woolloongabba has leaped into a cultural hot-spot in the last few years and combines eclectic shops with boutique bars and eateries. This link will give you a good idea of what you can expect.
- West End is now transforming. It was originally an eclectic mix of grunge and cafes, however it has now evolved to a new level of sophistication, whilst still containing elements of its roots. Everything from the amazing Grill’d burger franchise (definitely worth checking out) to the corner pub . The Gunshop Cafe is always popular as is The Three Monkeys just across the road. West End has something for everyone and is a desirable suburb with many new riverside apartment buildings providing amazing views.
- Southbank is a popular destination due to the man made Streets Beach and swimming area. It is the perfect place to beat the summer heat, right on the rivers edge overlooking the city.
- Bulimba was once a working class suburb built on the sweat and tears of the strugglers and workers , now it is one of the hottest (and most expensive) suburbs in Brisbane. It is a quick ferry ride to the city and has a beautiful village atmosphere. It is always busy though, so best to walk or get public transport. If you love great Pizza , be sure to try Sugo Mi. There are so many good eateries here that I will leave it to you to explore the rest.
- Brisbane really is a City of Villages. Every suburb has a unique cafe / restaurant precinct with a very distinct feel. You can spend years exploring, although I am sure you will find a “regular” hangout in the area you settle. Brisbane has adopted the term “evolution” better than any other city in the country and I have no doubt that this will continue into the future.
- The Queen Street Mall in the CBD is always bustling with life. The energy here is amazing and it is a great place to shop, From Department stores to boutiques and now even laneway restaurants and cafes, the CBD has come alive and is well worth a look.
- Brisbane also has some very large suburban malls in Indooroopilly, Mt Gravatt and Chermside giving you everything you need from the weekly groceries to department store shopping. Brisbane is easy to get around by car and the popularity of these larger shopping centres is testament to that.
- Paddington Antique Centre.
- Brisbane has the amazing QAGOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) situated on the river at Southbank. Home to amazing exhibits and travelling displays from across the world, QAGOMA is definitely somewhere you should visit.
- Brisbane has so many amazing drives, and the beauty of Brisbane is that you are very quickly out of the city limits and into the wonderful countryside.
- Malenyand Montville are stunning villages in the Sunshine Coast hinterland and are a great day trip for fresh air, views and food.
Events in Brisbane
- Brisbane has the most vibrant and largest live music scene in Australia. Fortitude Valley has been declared an entertainment precinct and plays host to an amazing array of artists, both well known and new. It is close to the city and has cleaned up over the past years to include top class restaurants and cafes as well as music venues.
- The Valley Fiesta brings together the best of live music and entertainment in a huge community experience.
- Read more here about events in Brisbane. Also, this list of venues will give you a great idea of what is on offer. Click here.
Miscellaneous Good Stuff
- Drive to the Gold Coast (Theme parks, long white beaches, shopping)
- Gold Coast Hinterland (Drives, bushwalking, cosy B&B’s)
- Sunshine Coast Hinterland (Drives, bushwalking, cosy B&B’s)
- Mt Coot-tha Lookout and restaurant (Magnificent views of the whole city yet only 15 minutes drive from the CBD – Amazing!)
- Ferry Ride (the Citycat) on the river. A cheap and cheerful way to see the city and surrounds. Usually takes around an hour to do the full circle (up river and back)
- Hire a bike (City Cycle) and enjoy the many bikeways in the city, suburbs and all along the river.
- Botanic Gardens– right next to the CBD on the river
- Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha
- Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
- New Farm Park ( and New Farm and its cafe scene)
- Portside Wharf including the Dendy Cinema, Cafes and fine dining restaurants.
- Bulimba Restaurants and Cafes