One day in Brisbane: How to spend 24 hours in the sunshine state

While the sunshine state screams sandy beaches, surf and sunsets, there's a whole lot more on offer in Brisbane.

Over the years the city has evolved into a cultural hub thanks to bustling South Bank which has become home to some of the city's major art and cultural exhibitions, galleries and restaurants.

If you are heading to the Gold Coast to see the Commonwealth Games, why not extend your stay and head north. Brisbane has an array of restaurants, food trucks and pop-up restaurants to explore and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to tick off your bucket list.

Here are some of the best ways to see the city and take in everything it has to offer in just 24 hours.

6:00 AM: Watch the sunrise at Mt Coo-tha

Start your day with one of Brisbane’s most mesmerising drawcards – a sunrise atop Mt Coo-tha. While it may be an early start, it's definitely worth it. The lookout offers panoramic views out over Brisbane, all the way to Moreton Bay. 

Whether you're keen on an early morning hike or would prefer to drive, you can access the look out by either foot or car.

The vibrant golden hue (which is located just seven kilometres from the CBD) descends across Brisbane’s skyline is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences you need to tick off your Aussie travel bucket list.

8:00AM: Breakfast at Pawpaw Café

Brisbane is definitely holding its own when it comes to an eclectic café breakfast scene. Follow any local intrepid spirit and you’ll find them powering up with a coffee and an insta-worthy breakfast. 

Pawpaw cafe is one of Brisbane foodies favourites serving up dishes that cleverly combine traditional breakfast with a South-East Asian palette.

Their must-try brekkie menu items include Nasi Goreng - slow cooked pork belly, red rice and quinoa, bean sprout, broccoli, red curry paste, basil, fried shallot, fried egg & house made sambal and their breakfast burrito - baked mixed beans and corn, scrambled eggs, tasty cheese, spinach, tortilla and chive sour cream.

The casual, quirky cafe is always buzzing with patrons sipping, eating and soaking up the sun and after breakfast, don't forget to snap a selfie by their signature wall. 

10:00AM Jump on a ferry and head to Tangalooma Island

Post breakfast, board the 10:00am ferry bound for Moreton Island and redirect your route for an adventure of a life time at Tangalooma Island Resort. Surrounded by turquoise water, this island refuge is an authentic opportunity to experience relaxation or thrilling adventure, whatever takes your fancy.

Take control of a quad bike down the banks of the white sandy beach, meet fish beneath the sea in an underwater snorkelling tour around the Tangalooma Wrecks, or ride the sand wave with a sand toboggan after a bumpy Desert Safari Tour.

If sitting back with a cocktail in hand is more your style, choose one of the day beach cruises which allows you to use all the facilities of the resort, including restaurants, pools and bars.

Then before you leave, make sure you join in on the wild dolphin feeding program that happens every day from sunset – Tangalooma is one of just three locations in Australia where you can feed dolphins in the wild. Day cruises depart the island at 4pm. If you'd rather stay on island time, you can stay at the resort.

5:30pm Have an early dinner at Bacchus

Known as one of Brisbane's premium dining experiences, Bacchus offers a VIP dining experience from beginning to end. Start your visit by heading to the bar where you will find an extensive wine list including bottles from Italy, France and Greece.

Once seated, you will be spoiled for choice with their extensive a la carte menu, offering premium cuts of meat and fresh seafood. If you aren't in the mood to choose, their degustation menus are the way to go.

Each beautifully presented dish is a little piece of art and has been carefully designed by head chef Massimo Speroni. 

Located inside the Rydges Hotel, the beautifully designed dining space will put you in the mood to spoil yourself with just one more cocktail.

7:00PM: Drink some wine and paint a masterpiece at Cork & Chroma

Just a 15 minute stroll from Bacchus, you'll find Cork and Chroma, a place where you can raise a glass while embracing your inner Picasso. Tucked beneath the historic arches of William Jolly Bridge, the flagship studio started up in 2013 and is all about combining creativity with lots of fun (and lots of vino!). 

There is a different art class held every night and each three-hour step-by-step workshop will leave you with a work of art that's worthy of hanging on the wall. Whether you have an artistic flare or not, it's a great way to wind down after a busy day of sightseeing.

10:00PM Grab a late night sweet treat

End your day with a trip to Brisbane's Gelato Messina. The South Brisbane gelataria is the biggest store to date, offering an astonishing 40-flavour array of gelato, including Turkish Delight, Macadamia Crunch and Pistachio. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try one of their rotating specials like A Salt on the Senses, Ice Ice Coffee and Montgomery’s Goldmine.

08:00AM - Day 2: Have breakfast at Southside Tea Room

After a busy day and night, start your second day fresh with a feed at one of the city's coolest cafes. Offering a Mexican menu vibe - with a couple of breakfast burritos to choose from - the relaxed, retro decor makes this cafe an easy morning option, without all the hustle and bustle of nearby Queen Street.

If you're in the mood for something sweet, their milkshakes are the way to go or try one of their strawberry bagels. If you had a little too much fun (and wine) at Cork and Chroma, try their hangover helper breakfast which is loaded with two eggs, pancakes, bacon, a bagel, house hash and hot sausage.

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