A buzzing subwaypolis at the heart of the Sunshine State, Brisbane is bursting with vibrant culture, world class cuisine and exciting entertainment. It’s a city that’s rapidly growing and is now Australia’s third largest, so we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that to see the best that Brisbane has to offer in 72 hours might prove to be a challenge. Now, this is where we come in handy. We know the city back to front and we know there’s certain things you just can’t miss, so, to ensure you don’t overlook any must-see’s whilst you’re down under, we’re opening our little black book to give you an exclusive Aussie low down. Without further adieu, here’s 72 hours in Brisbane, Black Tomato style…
Day 1 – Culture & Architecture
Begin your Brisbane exploration with a walk around the city’s cultural precinct: South Bank Parklands. Host to regular markets, festivals and even a “city beach”, the parklands – as it’s also known – provides the perfect introduction to the relaxed vibe of the Brisbane lifestyle. Conveniently, South Bank is a hot bed of creative and cultural offerings. Exclusive blockbuster exhibitions share the stage with inspiring theater productions and independent and niche local performances and exhibitions. The Cultural Centre at South Bank includes Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Museum and Science Centre. Grab a guide to take you round the 5 story Gallery of Modern Art. It’s internationally known for its collections of contemporary and Indigenous Australian art, as well as the spectacular Asia Pacific region.
For lunch, enjoy the delicious offerings at the award winning Stokehouse Brisbane or, if you prefer the sand and salt water, the South Bank Surf Club, situated just a few paces from the playful Streets Beach, offers a casual approach to waterfront dining.
After you’ve eaten, take a leisurely stroll through the city’s historic plazas and squares that showcase artworks and memorials commemorating Brisbane’s history. Commencing at King George Square and finishing at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Elizabeth Street, this city walking trail is a mix of historic, heritage-listed and contemporary artworks and monuments.
As you’ll probably agree, no one knows a city better than a local. Luckily for you, Brisbane has its own team of volunteer ‘Greeters’ to take visitors around the city for free if you want a helping hand, offering an insightful low down on the area. Rest assured, by using this incredible service, you’ll discover a Brisbane you never knew existed and experience a first-hand look at what makes Brisbane pulse with life.
As evening falls, Eagle Street Pier calls. A popular entertainment hotspot, Eagle Street Pier is an iconic waterfront precinct with world-class dining options, superb riverside bars and unrivalled views of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge. Well known for its award winning restaurants, this is the perfect place to watch the sun set on an incredible day.Read more
Day 2 – Culinary bites & retail therapy
From alfresco breakfast to home-grown delights, bespoke bars and signature dishes, a day of culinary adventure awaits you. To begin your day in the perfect way, make the most of the fact that breakfast in the sun is a house specialty in Brisbane. Unwind and follow the legions of loyal locals to Harveys and enjoy breakfast in their stylish outdoor area whilst watching James Street’s fashionistas pass by. The inner-city suburb of New Farm is a hot spot for style seekers and all the latest Australian and international designers can be found on the beautiful tree-lined James Street and James Lane. This LA-style boulevard has set new standards for international design and it’s here you’ll find designers including Camilla, Sass & Bide, Frock Shop, Chelsea de Luca, Paul Hunt and Bettina Liano, to name but a few. For those wanting to indulge the senses, just off of James Street lies the ever-popular Libertine Parfumerie. Here you can book in for a fragrance master class and enjoy the exquisite smell of the world’s finest perfumes.
Next on the list is James Street Market, a unique, vibrant food & retail hub located at the fashionable nexus of New Farm & Fortitude Valley. A semi-open space of relaxed alfresco seating & industrial chic, James Street Market is known among Brisbanites as the place to go for top quality food, wine, coffee & cookware. It trends toward the upmarket but attracts a wide ranging clientele who swing by to pick up quality fruit & veg. Grab a coffee or sandwich, treat yourself to the range of fresh fish (complete with a sushi chef who makes to order), browse for gourmet deli goods and fancy home wares, or simply enjoy a drink at the wine bar to while away an hour or so.
After lunch, make your way to the Powerhouse at New Farm Park. The Brisbane Powerhouse once supplied electricity to the city’s electric tramway system and has since been transformed into a landmark for all things creative including theater, music, comedy, film, visual arts and festivals. Many of the original materials from the boiler house, switch house and turbine room were incorporated into the design of this building and now take center stage as key features throughout the structure. Alternatively, be met by your personal storeper and get going on a tour of the best neighborhoods, boutiques and uniquely Brisbane stores, only known to the locals.
When the skies darken, enjoy Brisbane’s bespoke bar scene that effectively taps into the thirst for hand-crafted hops, lovingly crafted malts and sensational ciders at beautifully thought out venues. The Walrus Club, for example, serves top shelf rum in speakeasy style under the Regatta. There’s also Green Beacon Brewing Co, a repurposed Teneriffe Warehouse that offers craft beer with a side of fresh seafood. Perfect.
Day 3 – Go Outside
An energetic and exciting city, Brisbane is a place where only the climate is mild, so get ready for a day of adrenaline fuelled outdoor adventure.
After you’ve grabbed breakfast at one of the thousands of street side cafes, pick up the pace and join on to one of Brisbane’s City Cycle Tours to ride around more of Brisbane’s iconic features, including Story Bridge, Riverside pathway and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, stopping off for a guilt-free coffee and snack on the way.
If you fancy a rush of adrenaline, then embark on the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. This climb will see you scale the iconic bridge and, once at the top, you’ll be treated to views over the glistening Moreton Bay and the verdant greenery of the scenic rim in the distance. Another site worth visiting is the Riverlife Adventure Centre. With an abundance of outdoor activities to get involved in including rock climbing, abseiling and kayaking, you’ll gain a unique perspective on the city like no other, be it mountain high or river low. Every Friday the center also offers its ‘Paddle & Prawns’ experience that sees you head out on a leisurely kayak voyage up the Brisbane river, a journey that allows you to watch the city lights shimmer on the water and soak up unique views of the city. On your return you’ll be fed platters of fresh ocean king prawns to curb your raring appetite after a full day of exploration.
If you can’t make the Paddle & Prawns experience on your final evening, head to Fortitude Valley instead, a neighborhood that pulsates until the wee hours. Here you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries that spill onto the streets and then make your way over to our favorite hangout, the Black Bear Lodge. It’s a live music venue where everything from jazz singers to indie rock bands take to the stage and you can dance away your last few hours in one of Australia’s finest cities.