Hermitopia’s Simple City Guide to BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
Roma Street Parklands. This place is not like other botanic gardens. This is a subtropical wonderland with water features, different themed mini-gardens, plenty of walking tracks and lots of local lizards – don’t worry, they won’t bother you, they’re only out to sunbathe. Built on a large hillside between a major train station and a busy restaurant scene you might think that it would be a polluted with smoky air or swarms of suits eating takeaway, but Roma Street Parklands is a joyous, tranquil oasis.
Unless there is an event on, then it’s a sensation.
Around the bend of the Brisbane River are Kangaroo Point cliffs. You won’t see any kangaroos, but you will have a good chance of seeing people abseiling, canoeing and rollerblading. There is an activity centre at the bottom of the cliffs where you can book yourself in for some sweaty excursion, but if you want a free workout try climbing the stairs from the bottom of the cliffs to the top!
Big brand shopping:
The Queen Street Mall is a pedestrian mall running straight through the city centre, where you will find the Myer Centre, Brisbane Arcade, Queen’s Plaza and Wintergarden shopping centres. It’s a key meeting point and hangout area for locals, so expect there to be plenty of people wandering around at any given time.
Little kooky shopping:
Although there are a few good finds in the city centre, if you’re looking to purchase something different it’s worth popping over the river: either to the markets at Southbank (which may be a little pricey/commercial), or to West End. The quantity of shops isn’t great, but the items you will find have a lot of character. The markets at West End are exquisitely kooky!
I suggest Brew Café and Wine Bar for coffee with a cool groove, or get coffee to go from Brendan’s Café on the Bridge and sit on the bridge, or Southbank, or Garden’s Point… wherever takes your fancy! (But not on public transport, you can’t take your coffee there.)
Image: Mighty Melbourne Burger, Snack Fries – closer – Grill’d QV AUD11.90, AUD3.50 by Alpha under (CC BY-SA 2.0) (resized)
Affordable decent food:
Grill’d is an Australian burger chain which advertises itself as being a “healthier” burger alternative. It’s also super delicious and you can have some local flavours (yes, Australians really do put pineapple and beetroot on burgers). If you are in Australia around January 26th (Australia Day), you might even be able to get a “Coats of Arms” burger which contains a burger patty made from the two animals on the Australian coat of arms: kangaroo and emu.
Alternatively, Jackpot Noodle is amazing – fast, delicious noodles with lots of choices.
Nothing says “Brisbane” like South Bank Parklands. It’s like an open resort but, because alcohol is so expensive, there are no drunken tourists. Here you can paddle around the man-made lagoon or beach, while looking over river and city skyline (no shortage of photo spots). There’s also a great mix of fast-food joints, restaurants, pubs, boutiques, a giant wheel, a water “fun zone” and a piazza that hosts some pretty cool events. Plus, it lives up to the “Parklands” title, with enough greenery to make it feel like an actual jungle instead of a concrete one. South Bank Parklands epitomises the relaxed, outdoor Brisbane lifestyle. Extend the laziness with a roundtrip on the CityCat – a commuter ferry service that even the locals use for random relaxation.