DAY 1: ARRIVAL, & LEISURE STROLL AROUND CITY AT NIGHT
When we arrived via Scoot, it was about 5pm and the shops were closing. Checked into Pullman Hotel, took a shower, and headed out for dinner. To settle in at a new place, I like to have a good first meal, so we walked to Esq. Beside and besides Esq, there is a row of Chef’s-Hatted restaurants (equivalent to Michelin-starred) along Eagle Street Pier: we heard good things about Alchemy Restaurant and Jellyfish Restaurant. But if you want something more affordable, check out Best Budget Eats in Brisbane.
If you are eating at Eagle Street, remember to check out the beautiful night scene by the Brisbane River and Story Bridge (above).
After dinner, although most stores are closed, you can still take a leisurely stroll around the city (especially Queens Street Mall). To be honest, Singapore has the same shops. For a nightcap, go to one of the seven bars at Treasury Casino and Hotel (above), a historical building built in 1886.
DAY 2: SHOP, MARKETS, QUEEN’S PARK, SOUTH BANK
Get up early for “brekkie” at a cafe. We ate at Toby’s Estate, but you can try Frisky Goat Espresso. Then you can walk around Queens Street if you spot anything you want to buy the night before. (It’s a good time to get Noosa Chocolate for your friends back home.) On Wednesdays, there is a Jan Powers farmer’s market at Queens St. To have a view of the city, you can go up to City Hall (free admission, 10am-3pm, same building as Brisbane Museum).
After walking around Queens Street, be at the City Botanic Gardens (also known as Queen’s Park) by 11am for an hour long guided tour. If not, you can walk and sit in the park yourself.
I can pose at Queen’s Park!
For lunch, you’ve three options:
(1) Eat cheap, OR
(2) eat fancy
(a) from Botanic Gardens, walk north along the Brisbane River, up to Eagle Street Pier, and eat fancy (we ate at Il Centro). If you’re in Brisbane on a Sunday, I advise you to take this option as there is a market at Eagle Street Pier. You also get the chance to see Story Bridge in daylight.
(b) take a ferry to South Bank and eat at GOMA Restaurant. (The restaurant is inside Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, free admission.)
After lunch, take a ferry with your Go Card (only A$2-$4, can pay cash too) to the South Bank and explore Gallery of Modern Art (free admission). Then stroll along the river and you will come to The Collective Markets (F 5-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 9am-4pm). There is a free public pool here, in the open, no walls. So you may want to bring your swimming gear and a towel. Exhibitionists, rejoice!
View from South Bank
For dinner, take away Swampdog Fish & Chips, the best food I had in Brisbane, and sit by the river to eat, because, a local told me “There is nothing as Australian as eating fish and chips by the waters.”
After dinner, collect your luggage from your hotel and take an hour-long train to your hotel at Gold Coast.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.