Brisbane. Bris Vegas. Brisneyland. A town (city) historically taunted by folks in the southern parts of the country’s intimidating east coast (the future), as a great destination for time travel (the past), and once referred to as the best departure lounge in Australia.
I have strong ties to Queensland, from spending parts of my childhood there. My fondest early memories are of eternal sunshine, fresh mangoes and macadamias, an enormous pineapple, swimming any time of year, and a laid back sensibility. Those things I remember from the deep past, are still there. I can rely upon those happy triggers to activate, every time I return. My sister recently told me that living in Brisbane makes her feel like she’s perpetually on holidays… So, with that, it’s time to break out the white capris, and raise a chilled wine spritzer to Brisbane…no longer just Aunty Beryl in a kaftan. Here are five reasons why:
01 | James St, Fortitude Valley
A mission to find salted caramel tarts at Jocelyn’s Provisions was the real reason I first discovered James St. From inner city industrial beginnings, this little-pocket-of-Hollywood has over 130 specialty shops, and is home to Brisbane’s favourite designers Easton Pearson, Gail Sorronda and Pistols at Dawn. St. Bart’s is also a highlight, tending to obsessives of bohemian luxe home wares.
An aside: Fortitude Valley is also home to the Bigsound Music Conference (by reputation – best, and most relevant music conference in Australia), last year held in Brunswick Street.
02 | Eat Street Markets, Northshore
Eat Street Markets opened at the Northshore’s Hamilton Wharf in 2013. The founders, Peter Hackworth, John Stainton and Jacki MacDonald wanted to recreate the buzz of Asian markets, by converting 60 shipping containers into mini restaurants, offering a mix of international cuisine, in a village setting. The added lanterns, cider & live entertainment make it a must-do if you visit Brisbane. Eat Street reminded me of SOMA StrEat Food Park in San Francisco. Check out Must Do Brisbane for their foodie specific write-up on the Eat Street Markets
03 | Brisbane Cultural Precinct, Brisbane City
My research on any city always starts with the cultural precinct. From there, you can find everything you need/are interested in; likeminded people and businesses (one can hope).
Brisbane’s cultural precinct is home to the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum – South Bank, State Library of Queensland, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Queensland Theatre Company. This area of the city runs along the Brisbane River, and is easily accessible by the CityCat ferry (highly recommended, picturesque), or is a short walk from the city (over the bridge from the mall – not so picturesque, but acceptable).
04 | Libertine, Petrie Terrace
Libertine serves French Vietnamese fare, while Peasant is one of a handful of Spanish restaurants in Brisbane, and Pizzeria 1889 completes a tryptich of chic at the Paddington Barracks in Petrie Terrace.
05 | Finders Keepers Design Market, Fortitude Valley
The Finders Keepers design market started 7 years ago in Sydney, and now also runs in Melbourne & Brisbane twice a year. Their market in Brisbane features over 85 design & art stalls from local makers as well as creatives from around the country.
Head to the Old Museum: AW15 – Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th July SS15 – Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th November Finders Keepers http://www.thefinderskeepers.com/brisbane_markets.php