The sun is shining and the sky is shimmering blue as we arrive in Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city. As one of Australia’s much-loved cities for its climate,
friendly atmosphere and array of things to do from art to nature, it looks like our
plan for the next three days is perfectly designed.
Day No. 1: Brisbane CBD
After checking in to our hotel, we stroll around the streets of Paddington, an older inner suburb of Brisbane first settled in the 1860s. Located only two kilometres west of Brisbane’s CBD, there is distinctive Queenslander architecture—houses on wooden stumps supporting wide verandas to gain the maximum advantage of the airflow—quirky shops, great cafés and views of the city to admire.
With its close location to Brisbane’s CBD, it is one of Brisbane’s booming suburbs with prices for investment properties rising over 50% in the past few years. In spring the jacarandas bloom sprinkling the streets in a carpet of purple. While in summer, the beautiful aromatic scent of frangipanis fills the air as you meander the laneways and streets. With healthy appetites, we dine at Gambaro Restaurant, a multi-award-winning signature restaurant, known for its fresh succulent seafood sourced from around Queensland and interstate. Moreton Bay Bugs are a local delicacy for seafood lovers along with Queensland mud crabs. For those that don’t fancy seafood, there are plenty of other dishes on offer at this award-winning dining location.
Day No. 2: Visit the Bay
The blue skies continue as we head for a day on the bay. We charter a yacht to explore Moreton Bay on Brisbane’s doorstep. Home to two of the three largest sand islands in the world, Moreton and North Stradbroke Isles, we let our skipper charter our course. We pass fishermen, deserted islands and dolphins playing as we make our way to the Little Ship Club on the waterfront at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.
It’s a treasure with great views, fabulous food and perfect for a glass of bubbles to toast our day’s outing. The sails are hoisted as we gently make our way back to the mainland under the breath of the wind while soaking up the afternoon sun as it dips slowly over the distant ranges in the western sky.
We swap seafood for a hearty steak at Black Hide Steakhouse for our dinner. Known to feature the best of Australia’s prime beef including prime cuts from Stanbroke, considered one of Australia’s esteemed organic beef producers. All tastes are catered for, even if you don’t eat meat.
For a nightcap, we venture next door to The Caxton Hotel, one of Brisbane’s oldest licensed premises, dating back to 1864, but as popular today as back in the 1800s. Check out the Fourex man on the second storey, who blinks all day and night. Other bars close by are Brooklyn Standard providing a New York-style cool and blues, Eleven Rooftop Bar which has some of the best views over the city and Blackbird Bar specialising in 1920s to today’s signature riverside cocktails.
Day No. 3: History and Helicopters
Swapping the sea and streets for the air, we embark on a helicopter ride to the historical Woodlands of Marburg. This is a lesser known treasure to explore close to Brisbane.
Feeling like a rock star, Ben our pilot from Pterodactyl Helicopters steers us across the valleys and hills surrounding Brisbane’s suburbs and hinterland to the homestead. There is nothing like a bird’s eye view. The heritage-listed mansion built in 1890, has a deep history along with tales of ghosts.
Lunch is served overlooking the farms below before embarking on a tour of the homestead and gardens including the chapel and underground cellar—once only reserved for men folk. The history of the mansion is meticulously explained. As we learn more, we watch intensely to see any ghosts appear just to add a little spice. Unfortunately, this does not happen, though we hear the many tales of sightings. While we wonder what life must have been like for the families who made this great mansion their home, Ben ushers us back to the helicopter for our scenic ride back into Brisbane.
Gerard’s Bistro, hidden down James Street is our choice for tonight’s dinner. Step into a Middle Eastern Bazaar in the heart of Brisbane for an indulgent food experience. We spend the night feasting and relating our favourite tales from the past few days Brisbane escape.
Where to Stay
Gambaro Hotel, designed by world famous hotel designers Hirsch Bedner, offers nine different spacious room types. Each is custom-designed and the suites with balconies have double glazed doors. As the first and only hotel in Australia to feature Sealy’s Exquisite Collection bedding it features all environmentally friendly products. Add to that the hotel has its own fine restaurants and bars in house and many close by. The hotel’s close proximity to Brisbane’s CBD, sporting and arts venues, adds just another drawcard.
Other hotels that might take your fancy include the Hilton Brisbane with its stunning outdoor pool, the funky Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments in Fortitude Valley designed by the renowned Australian fashion designer, the five-star Pullman King George Square in the heart of they city, and the Rydges South Bank with easy access to all South Bank has to offer.