With ambitious produce-focused restaurants, world-class galleries and cruisy boutique shopping, it’s easy to enjoy Brisbane in the cooler months. We’ve put together this guide to give you a guaranteed head start.
Head from Brisbane Airport to W Brisbane, the city’s newest five-star hotel. The feeling at this hotel overlooking the Brisbane River on North Quay, is laid-back luxe cool. Your room features plush furnishing and fun design details, a glitzy home away from home.
Don’t want to leave the building? Easy to do when the in-house restaurant is Three Blue Ducks, which builds on its Sydney roots to showcase the best of Queensland produce in sophisticated farm-to-table meals. A little further afield, Otto Ristorante’s rooftop Bar Otto offers views over the city. During winter, Otto Ristorante is also offering a special truffle dinner, with each course featuring the earthy delicacy.
For an after-dinner drink, drop into the moody Cloakroom Bar on Elizabeth Street. Open until midnight, the sophisticated hideaway offers personalised cocktails out the back of a bespoke suit store.
Getting out of bed at the W might be hard, but if you can manage a quick stroll across the Victoria Bridge to Fish Lane, you’ll be rewarded in Wandering Cooks’ leafy outdoor courtyard. The venue hosts a revolving line-up of artisanal food makers and guest pop-up restaurants, offering everything from barbeque to dumplings to homemade pies.
Down on the riverbank is Brisbane’s world-class Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), home to Australia’s largest collection of Asia-Pacific artworks, a cinémathèque showing both popular and fringe movies for free, and the kind of boundary pushing exhibitions that make it one of the best in Australia. The surrounding South Bank is also ripe for exploration, featuring the Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Performing Arts Complex, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.
After a day’s gallery hopping, dinner at Gauge is a must – especially if you’ve the foresight to book the seven-course set menu. The à la carte menu items change often, but you’re always guaranteed a combination of technique and experimentation, stunning flavours of local and native produce, and genuine service from the kitchen led by head chef Cormac Bradfield.
Wake and head east across town to Fortitude Valley, where on the corner of James and Arthur streets you’ll find King Arthur. The long-standing local favourite cafe, with its loft-style space is ideal for long brunches, with its short but diverse menu. Once sated, head back up the road to check out the dozens of boutique shopping options on James Street, including world-class local designer Gail Sorronda.
Stop in the afternoon for house-aged charcuterie and a warming Australian shiraz from Gerard’s Bar, or stay a little longer to enjoy the playful Middle Eastern-inspired share plates in the adjoining Gerard’s Bistro. From there your entertainment options are endless: catch live music at Brisbane’s iconic and best-loved venue, The Zoo; sample sophistication at cocktail bar Saville Row; or if you’re still peckish drop in to the artfully named Cakes & Shit, a late-night dessert bar for that decadent cheesecake or a “Mac Daddy Macaroon” to cap the night off.
It’s your last day in Brisbane; enjoy that sunshine. Head over to New Farm for coffee at vegan hotspot Dicki’s, then grab a few things from local institution New Farm Deli and brownie superstars Dello Mano for a picnic by the river in New Farm Park. Take a CityCat ferry across to Bulimba for a relaxed wander past Oxford Street’s boutiques and gift shops.
If you’ve got the time, it’s certainly worth venturing south to Morningside to visit Death Valley Bar and Southside Tea Room, the cool dive bar and Australian barbeque restaurant respectively, from Patience Hodgson and John Patterson of Brisbane indie-pop icons the Grates. With a full belly – and the hint of a winter tan – it’s time to layer up for the plane in preparation for that southern chill.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Brisbane.