I heart Brisbane

Brisbane sign I think it’s become clear over the past few years that I’m a massive fan of the city in which I live—Brisbane.

A few months ago, while trawling through my Facebook newsfeed (as you do), I stumbled across a Brisbane Times article by author Jessica Rudd who had just returned to Brisbane after six years in Asia. She was back in her home city and loving it.

To celebrate this milestone, Jess shared a list of 10 things about Brisbane which she is grateful for.

Now, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion about what makes this city great, I’m pretty sure most wouldn’t put ‘elections’ on their list.

However, Jess did, and you can read the rest of her list here.

Inspired by Jess’ list to beat Jess’ list, I’ve put together my own list of 16 things I love about this city (and while elections don’t make the cut, there are a few things we have in common)—just in time for all the delegates of the G20 to print it off so they know what to do in their free time—I mean, how long can it take to fix the world, right?

View from the Night Noodle MarketsMarkets 
As a city we’ve gone mad for markets … more than 100,000 people (that’s enough to fill Suncorp Stadium twice) turned out to the Night Noodle Markets at South Bank earlier this year, myself included and the atmosphere was pumping.

And every weekend, thousands of residents flock to parks and venues across the city to stock up on fresh produce, handmade crafts and everything in between.

Among my favourites are the Jan Powers’ Farmers Market at New Farm every 2nd Saturday (hello, bacon and egg roll) and my local Eagle Farm Markets where I’m frequently found eating Poffertjes and stocking up on fresh flowers and Maleny yoghurt.

The Kangaroo Point loop 
I hope Putin has packed his running shoes, because it doesn’t matter whether you walk, run, cycle or stroll them, these seven picturesque kilometres feature stairs, hills, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and some of the best views of the city.

Brisbane City.jpg
Weekend mornings spent on the Kangaroo Point/City loop are some of my favourites.

Eagle Street precinct
When it comes to Friday night drinks, I find it hard to go past the riverside precinct, at least without stopping for a drink.

There are bars and restaurants a plenty to choose from, but my heart currently belongs to Riverbar—mostly due to the views, the relaxed atmosphere and the staff’s willingness to always make me a Passionfruit Caprioska (or five!) even though it is no longer on the cocktail menu.

Plus we boast the ideal weather for outdoor drinking and dining—it almost doesn’t matter what season it is!

My favourite ... Passionfruit Caprioska at Riverbar, Brisbane.
My favourite … Passionfruit Caprioska at Riverbar, Brisbane.

The man is as much a Brisbane icon as the Story Bridge, at least to my family (that’s right, Uncle Tuff-Tuff). I’m hoping that if the G20 has some kind of last night party, they’ve called on the man with the outrageous Mambo shirts collection to play a few tunes.Tuffy

Fireworks. Cool soundtrack. All eyes cast skyward.

20140815-115205-42725421.jpgSouth Bank
When I escape the office at lunch (which I try to do all the time, often with the level of joy as a toddler who has sneakily escaped her playpen) this is usually the first place I head. I like to hang out down by the river.

Colours always seem much more vibrant down there from the sky and the green to the stunning purple bougainvillea.And don’t forget the people watching—sometimes you’ll just find me sitting on a deckchair on the grass outside Popolo watching people and boats pass by.South Bank Brisbane

We’ve had Andy Warhol. And Valentino. Let’s face it, GOMA made art cool again.

My favourite sign outside the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).
My favourite sign outside the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

New Farm Park in particular. I always forget how beautiful it is—especially the rose gardens, until I pull up. Then I take a deep breath and instantly seem to relax just a little. The City Botanic Gardens are also a great place to chill out, and have a great new playground for those with kids (which I may have tested out during a morning walk).

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Did you know that Queensland the only state in the country where you can actually cuddle a koala? Can you top that? Nah, didn’t think so.

Not only is Lone Pine just a quick drive from the city, but it’s a pretty chilled out place to hang over, feed some kangaroos and get as close to other native birds and animals as you can without encountering them in the wild.Lone Pine kangaroos

Food & drink
Share the food. Share the love. Our southern counterparts may still think we’re just a big country town, but Brisbane has come into its own as far as restaurants and bars are concerned.

It’s hard to narrow them down but some of my favourites include: Esquire, Pony, Northshore Riverside Café, Olé, Gusto by Gianni, Baker’s Arms, Sono, Va Bene at Windsor, Mr & Mrs G’s, Vespa Pizza, Peasant (the white wing Sangria is so damn good) and Alfred & Constance.

And then there’s the places I’m still to try—Stokehouse, Sake, Mrs Wu’s, Black Bird, Chester Street Bakery, Billy Cart Kitchen, Dumpling Republic, The Charming Squire, Nantucket and Locanda Osteria.

An orange, pineapple and mint fruit crush from Northshore Riverside Cafe.
An orange, pineapple and mint fruit crush from Northshore Riverside Cafe.

The Ekka 
Each August the smell of farm animals fills the air around Bowen Hills and the night sky is lit up with fireworks.

Whether you love it or hate it, the Ekka is a Brisbane institution; a chance to give the city kids a taste of the country and a chance for me to regularly try to beat my Personal Best of four strawberry ice-creams in one hour. With the champion bull, dodgem cars, a giant slide, the rickety old rollercoaster that always makes you think you’re going to die … what’s not to love?

Plus, if you’re looking for a night out, especially at the start of the week, you can’t go past the Stockman’s Bar. Rumour has it two crazy girls had a 80’s themed dance off there a few years ago and cleared the dance floor.

Outdoor cinemas
Australia is known for its extreme weather and while Sydney and Melbourne are great cities, there’s no guarantee what weather you’ll get, whereas in summer in Brisbane, aside from the old afternoon storm, you’re pretty much guaranteed warm, sunny days and long, hot nights.

Grab a beanbag, a picnic and enjoy a movie under the stars at one of the outdoor cinemas.

Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinema Brisbane

The Brisbane International 
Game. Set. Match. I went to this year’s Brisbane International Tennis and had almost as much fun as I did at Wimbledon.

I got to see sexy Feds play, so that and a fruit-filled Pimms was always going to be a winner. Oh, and don’t forget the strawberries and ice-cream on the menu.

Brisbane International Tennis

I’m a little bit jealous I didn’t think of this concept first … outdoor adventure activities all based around the Brisbane River. It’s outstanding; I’ve already ticked off rock-climbing, kick-biking, kayaking and the Segway.

There are adventures for almost all ages and enthusiasm levels. Why not check out the city from a new angle?segway12

Rooftop bars
Forget basement bars, the sky is where it’s at this summer. We’ve got the perfect climate for an outdoor lifestyle and the humble beer garden has had a bit of a makeover and an upgrade—to the roof!  Head to Up on Constance, Dandy’s at The Fox, The Exchange or Limes for some sky-high shenanigans.

Although if you’d prefer to be poolside over the long, hot summer, grab yourself a Camilla kaftan and check out Next in the city or Soleil Pool Bar at Rydges South Bank.

The people
After returning home after living in London, where everyone basically hates each other (not quite, but don’t try to make contact with anyone on the Tube!) I noticed how friendly people are in this city.

Morning or afternoon walks around my local area—even with headphones in—are interspersed with nods of greeting, small waves and calls of “good morning”.

What’s your favourite thing about Brisbane? 

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