Brisbane was a last minute addition to our trip, and we were so glad it made the cut! A mix of old and new architecture, an abundance of greenery and park land and some delicious food – Brisbane was a pure delight!
Back on the road, from Byron Bay we headed towards Brisbane, taking a detour along the Gold Coast and stopping off at Surfers Paradise for lunch. As a passenger, the drive into Surfers Paradise was fascinating – with tons of waterways, bridges and picture-perfect houses. Surfers Paradise itself was a strange juxtaposition of skyscrapers, shops, a beautiful beach and lots of tourists – a little like a sunny Blackpool. However, we found Chop Chop – an indoor Asian street food market and tucked into some delicious noodles alongside some fake cherry blossom trees!
After refuelling, we spent a couple of hours on the beach before jumping back in the car and completing our drive to Brisbane. Our home for the night was the YHA hostel – where we’d booked a private room, which was newly decorated and one of the nicest rooms we’d stayed in so far!
The YHA itself was a little tired, but we’d partly chosen it for the swimming pool on the roof terrace – however a quick toe-dip confirmed that it was too cold for a swim! It was pretty conveniently located and felt like a good base for exploring the city.
Wandering out for dinner, we crossed the Story Bridge – which was beautifully illuminated with multicoloured lights and made for an incredible photo and our first glimpse of Brisbane’s city. We stumbled across Fish Lane, which had a few restaurants and bars and with a few drops of rain falling, we ducked into Hello Please – a restaurant/ bar partially in a container / /car park! The food smelt amazing but there were no sides around the restaurant and the rain had now started lashing in! Opposite us was Julius’ Pizzeria, so we popped our names on the waiting list and headed to the tiny bar next door while we waited – Maker. Dimly lit and seating about 20 people, it was cute and cosy while it poured outside! The cocktails were strong and delicious and we eyed up everyone’s charcuterie appetisers with envy! After a short while it was pizza time! We shared one prosciutto pizza and one bianchi with truffle oil – both of which were huge and pretty tasty but lacking a bit of excitement and not quite comparable to pizzas we’ve eaten in Italy.
Walking further into the city, we came across The Wheel of Brisbane (ferris wheel), the Nepalese Peace Pagoda and a little snippet of rainforest at the Rainforest Walk – which made us all the more excited to explore in daylight the next day!
With rumbling stomachs, we walked to Jak and Hill for brunch – narrowly dodging another downpour! A full breakfast came on a big board with eggs benedict and bacon, whilst poached eggs were accompanied by mushrooms, pine nuts and cheese – both of which were great and only served to increase our love of Aussie brunches (so much better than a brunch in the UK!).
Strolling towards the river, we followed our noses and found a beautiful jetty and Mr Percival’s Bar – which was jam packed full of locals, most of whom were dressed up for brunches and celebrations! The wine was chilled and delicious and could have easily whiled away an afternoon there!
The walk along the river is beautiful in both directions and we stopped for several photo opportunities (and another couple of drinks) along the way, ending up at the beautiful Botanic Gardens and momentarily getting lost in the rainforest. Crossing the river, we walked along the South Bank and stopped for another drink – marvelling at the expanse of greenery and parkland running alongside the river, before stumbling across a lagoon right by the side of the river and stunning flower archways along the pathways.
Carrying on along the river, we came across an open air concert and so chilled on the grass for a couple of hours, listening to Boatkeeper – an Aussie band that are now a firm favourite of ours!
Dinner time was approaching and intrigued by the food at Hello Please from the night before, we headed back to Fish Lane and feasted on chicken ribs (we didn’t even know that was possible!), bun cha (Vietnamese noodles and pork meatballs), shredded lamb pancakes and prawn crackers – and it was an awesome meal, with super friendly service!
The following morning, we begrudgingly left Brisbane and headed to the airport, excited for our trip to the Whitsundays!