Although quite a few people warned us not to have high expectations about our visit to Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, we felt they were mistaken. We had a blast! So much fun and so many things to do that fitting everything in one blog post is a rather difficult task.
We spent our last few nights in Australia in the lovely Paddington area, a nowadays upmarket suburb with plenty of elevated houses due to the steep nature of their blocks. Upon arrival we dropped our bags off and started to explore the neighborhood.
Latrobe Terrace is the spine of the Paddington area leading towards the city centre, it’s home to some fabulous strip (about 2km) shopping. Also home to amazing cafes and restaurants, we couldn’t resist trying some of these local gems ourselves. Authentic Italian pasta, yummy Japanese ramen soup and tasty Canadian poutine!
After travelling from coastal town to coastal town for the last few weeks/months , we were both in need of a city-boost. Brisbane gave us just that! Free Wi-Fi at all key areas. Lots of choice to find a decent cappuccino when the urge is high. Urban skyscraper views all around you. Lush green parks to escape the heat. Museums, architecture, shopping and great food galore.
Christmas in July is an actual thing here in Australia, seasons are in reverse after all compared to our Northern Hemisphere. Think Christmas decorations and people singing carols for fun etc. It’s more a corporate motivated holiday than anything else, but it does bring people together.
The South Bank Parklands, situated on a completely transformed site of Brisbane’s World Expo 88. It’s located on the southern bank of the Brisbane River directly opposite the city. This area is connected to the city by several pedestrian-only and cyclist-friendly bridges.
Grassed areas, plaza’s and a riverfront promenade are all connected by floral arches, it provides a shaded walkway through the Parklands. The brain-child of architectural firm Denton Corker-Marshall , the Arbour is a 1 km long installation made from 406 curling, galvanised steel posts, which are each clad in purple flowers.
South Bank and its lush parklands are one of Brisbane’s most important cultural precincts and they regularly host large scale festivals and events. The perfect place to relax and unwind.
A Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), a State Library, an Art Gallery (QAG) and the Museum and Sciencentre are also part of the South Bank. These four buildings make up South Bank’s original ‘cultural centre’ and were all designed by Brisbane architect, Robin Gibson. They are classic examples of Australia’s ‘brutalist’ architecture.
The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) lodged an application in 2014 for the Cultural Precinct to be heritage-listed before plans by the state government to build two 30-storey towers on the site are realised.
In june 2015, they managed to scrap the high-rise plans and protect Brisbane’s brutal charm.
Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is the most recent addition to South Bank’s cultural precinct, having been completed in 2006. It was designed by Sydney-based company, Architectus.
We were lucky enough to stumble upon a French food festival; Le Mini Festival, very French indeed. We had to pay a small fee to enter, but was completely worth it. After all I managed to introduce croque-monsieur to my missus.
On our way back to the city centre we walked on another pedestrian-, cyclist-only bridge; the Kurilpa Bridge is the world’s largest hybrid tensegrity bridge. The name reflects the Australian Aboriginal word for the South Brisbane and West End area, and means “place for water rats”.
If you have more than just a few days in Brisbane, these are the neighborhoods we also explored and I would recommend visiting.
Ha! We went there with one goal in our minds; food! Hamilton is home to ‘Eat Street Markets‘, a wonderful foodie market surrounded by the Portside Wharf and a disused container wharf. What a great night out.
What Newtown is to Sydney, West End is to Brisbane. Quirky with a local feeling to it. Plenty of organic grocers, cosy bars and coffee houses, they also have a weekend market. The venue for the market looked great.
We went to New Farm to see the Brisbane Powerhouse, which is an industrial space turned into museum, art gallery and event space. The old graffiti has been left on the walls and it still has this rough look to it. But we really liked what they had done with the space. With more time and a suitable event it would have been fun to explore the space during night time.
On our way to the Brisbane Powerhouse we walked through residential areas. The style of houses is all over the place, but it was fun to watch and witness. Since taking pictures of other people’s home feels a bit stalker-ish, imagine this: white wooden pavillion with grand lace details, next to a simple, futuristic house, that are right across the street from a Greek mansion with white columns. So there you go.
We also had a quick stroll near the Chinatown and Cloud City, but unfortunately did not have time to return there. During Saturdays there is The Fortitude Valley Market, which would have been nice to visit. So much to do, so little time!
Brisbane is everything but a let-down. Such a vibrant city indeed. Happy times.