Who says you need to travel far to enjoy new experiences? If time (or funds) don't permit, try exploring your own city, or one close by...
When people think of Queensland, they often think about the Gold Coast or the far north tropical regions, but Brisbane is a gem of a city just waiting to be explored.
Much more than just warm weather and a relaxed lifestyle, Brisbane is known for its celebration of arts, culture and of course, food. Here’s how to spend the ultimate weekend escape in the river city.
Where to stay
Ideal for a short getaway, the Novotel Brisbane Southbank is situated within Brisbane’s premier lifestyle and cultural destination. As the name suggests, the hotel is located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River. It is opposite lush parklands and short stroll to many delicious eateries, the river bank and cultural centres.
The rooms are sleek and modern - you’ll enjoy premium appliances such as a Dyson hair dryer for the duration of your stay. If you’re checking in for a staycation, you’ll get to enjoy the comfortable, soft beds and robes and staff are always on hand to help out in any way to make your break as relaxing as possible.
What to do
Visit the Museum of Brisbane
You can expect to see some of the most fascinating exhibitions at the Museum of Brisbane. Located inside the stunning Brisbane City Hall, the entrance to the museum has restored the gorgeous heritage of the city. Entry is free and the permanent installation, Perspectives of Brisbane is great for history buffs. For a funky twist, the Brisbane Art Design exhibition on now is fun and interactive.
Inside a converted warehouse in the trendy Fortitude Valley region, the City Winery is a working micro-winery right in the middle of the city. City Winery Brisbane sources grapes from across Australia's key growing regions, bringing them to the city where Winemaker Dave Cush blends some delicious wine. Winery tours are every day at 11am and 4pm, along with cellar door tastings all day.
Take in a show
As Brisbane gains more of a reputation for being a cultural hub, people are flocking in droves to the Southbank area, where museums and the arts come alive. If this sounds like your cup of tea, visit the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (known to locals as QPAC) to see what’s on during your stay. Local and international ballet acts, musicals and theatre are all celebrated at this venue – so be sure to check it out.
Book in for a treatment at the luxe Stephanie’s Spa Retreat at the Sofitel Brisbane Central. You can choose from a range of services, including facials, massages and pedicures. The area is tranquil, and the experience something worth splurging on, as from the moment you step inside, you feel welcomed and taken care of. After you’ve treated yourself to a pamper session, you’ll relax in a lounge with a warming herbal tea, cooling sorbet and chocolates. Simply divine.
Where to eat and drink
Spice Central Kitchen & Bar
Executive Chef Alexandre Goyard and his team prepare some of the most passionately-prepared foods in Brisbane, as part of the menu at Spice Central. Fresh and local produce shines, but don’t let the name of this restaurant fool you – the dishes are to all tastes, with spice meaning intense, delicious flavour rather than just heat. The dining space surrounds a central show kitchen, where you can see the staff putting the final touches on the delectable dishes before being brought to you.
The food and wine is nothing short of incredible at this restaurant down by the Howard Smith Wharves. If you go for dinner, you’ll be able to take in the stunning aspect of the Story Bridge, which is illuminated at night with rainbow lights. The menu is fresh, tasty and genius, striking a balance between welcoming and high end. Head chef, Alanna Sapwell also makes a conscience effort to support ethically raised animals and incorporate this into her menu as much as possible.
Billykart West End
Set under the largest green wall in the Southern Hemisphere, BillyKart in West End is the perfect spot for your morning coffee or a delicious bite to eat for lunch or brunch. Featuring a churrasco spit grill that’s constantly roasting meat, there’s plenty of freshness on offer. The venue also does a pre-theatre menu, in case you’ve booked tickets to see a show at QPAC and are searching for a bite to eat beforehand.