Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city, is known to have beautiful and sunny weather all year round. Seems like luck wasn’t on our side, as the two days we chose to explore the city were not sunny at all, even a bit rainy. That didn’t stop us from exploring this beautiful and energetic city though. Of course we haven’t done everything there is to do in Brisbane, but in this blogpost we’ll share with you what we did, saw and loved!
Rub shoulders with the Brisbanites
We were planning on watching a live rugby game for a while, so when Brecht discovered THE game of the season was on in Brisbane while we were there: no-brainer. He bought restricted view seats (the only ones left) for Broncos vs Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium. For those of you who don’t keep up with the Australian rugby competition, like us, that’s Brisbane vs North Queensland. Honestly, we had never seen a rugby match before and read up about the rules the night before, but we got sucked in and really enjoyed the game! Together with no less than 46,000 other people. Just like a bunch of those people we parked at a Secure Park parking near the stadium, which cost us $20.50. Your ticket permits you to take the public transport for free, but that option wasn’t convenient for getting back to the campsite.
We’re not travelling on an endless budget, so we saved a little by buying restricted view seats for the Broncos vs Cowboys game. We paid $81.34 for the both of us, including some fees. Contrary to what we expected, they were actually quite good seats. There was only one rod of the handrail (hardly) blocking our view of the field. We didn’t miss a second of the game that was undecided until the last second. We drank some beers during the game, like real fans do, even though it was Good Friday. Normally there are tight restrictions on the sale of alcohol that day (only permitted with your dinner), but they made an exception for this important game. Outside the stadium there were a couple of food stalls and a beer bar as well, where we had dinner before the game. All this was in a fenced area within which alcohol was permitted. Guards were put at the exits to make sure no alcohol left that area. There was a large screen put up, broadcasting the pregame, and a live band was playing. The atmosphere was relaxed but at the same time filled with excitement for the upcoming game.
Explore Brisbane on foot
We spent one day exploring Brisbane on foot. We drove to the city centre from our campsite, and parked at Secure Park near the City Botanic Gardens. We booked online beforehand, paying $5.50 instead of $11 for the entire day.
We started our day at the Riverside Markets, which are held at the City Botanic Gardens every Sunday from 8h ’till 15h. There are vendors selling clothing, jewellery, art, crafts, and most importantly: food. The Riverside Markets are rather small, but nevertheless worth a visit. Locals and tourists alike enjoy their Sunday morning in the park, sipping a coffee and listening to the street artists perform. We took a stroll through the City Botanic Gardens, along the water, before returning to the Riverside Markets for lunch. We tried the Japanese honey and soy chicken karaage ($5), and the Turkish gozleme ($13) from Yummo Station, both delicious. Due to a mix up with the numbers at Yummo Station we even got a gozleme for free. The owner was very friendly!
Next stop: the Museum of Brisbane in Brisbane City Hall. It’s a nice new museum, free of charge. We missed the free highlights tour at 13h, so wandered around on our own. We particularly liked the exhibition “Living in the city”, displaying detailed architectural models of new architecture in Brisbane and the Asia-Pacific. Another impressive exhibition was “Cloud Land” by Robyn Stacey, a collection of photographs revealing some of Brisbane’s most popular features in unique way, using the camera obscura technique. The large plaza in front of Brisbane City Hall grants some nice photo opportunities as well. One thing that caught our attention was the contrast between the Suncorp building and a church, at the intersection between Albert Street and Ann Street.
To get from Brisbane City to South Bank, we crossed the Kurilpa Bridge, a shared cyclists and pedestrian bridge over the broad and mighty Brisbane River. The first building you’ll see when reaching South Bank is the Gallery of Modern Art, or GOMA. We browsed through in 40 minutes. In our not-that-art-minded opinion, it wasn’t that interesting. However, from there starts a nice walk along the river, over the Cultural Centre Boardwalk. We walked towards The Wheel of Brisbane, passing the huge letters spelling BRISBANE in front of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Obviously this is a popular selfie spot, and we gladly joined the crowds posing and clicking.
Somewhat further along the Brisbane River we stumbles upon a public pool with a beach and life guards, right in the middle of the city. That was a first! Although the weather wasn’t that great, there were lots of people enjoying this relaxing spot. Best of all? It’s entirely free of charge!
Suddenly we found ourselves on a little market once again: The Collective Markets South Bank. It’s up and running every weekend, selling jewellery and other cool and fun stuff. It’s one of those markets I really have to restrain myself from wanting to buy everything I see. Our walk through South Bank ended at the Epicurious Garden, an organic herb and vegetable garden in the city. We absolutely loved this concept! You can collect samples and portions for free during certain hours when volunteers are tending the garden, and learn about inner-city gardening and cooking with fresh produce.
Geocaching in and around Brisbane
Australia is covered in geocaches, and so is Brisbane. All along our walking tour through the city, we cached. We even took it out of the city centre to the Mount Coot-Tha Summit Lookout, or in short: the Brisbane Lookout. Although it’s a 15 minute drive from the city, it’s definitely worth it. You can take the public transport, your car, or walk up there, and be stunned by the impressive view over Brisbane you’ll find. There are a few puzzle caches as well that are worth cracking your brain over. You’ll be surprised by the creativity of some Brisbane geocachers.
Enjoy Brisbane by night
We always loved the concept of drive-in movies, but only attended one so far, in Coober Pedy. When Brecht read about the Eat Street Drive-In in Brisbane, we got really excited about going to our second one. We purchased tickets online, paying $24 in total. It wasn’t sold out though, and paying upon entering is cheaper (no online booking fee), so we could have saved a couple of dollars there. Anyway, it was worth its money. Everything was very well organized, from clean toilets and nice decorations to a guy on a Segway serving snacks and drinks during the movie. It rained that night, but that didn’t dampen the atmosphere. Just turn up the radio and start your windshield wipers.
Your ticket to the Eat Street Drive-In includes free entrance to the Eat Street Markets, which otherwise costs $2.5 per person. There’s a shuttle bus between the drive-in and the market location, but it’s only a 10 minute walk. Eat Street Markets is a cozy food market, opened every Friday and Saturday night. It attracts lots of people of all ages, looking for a fun night out. The atmosphere is kind of Christmassy with all the lights, but who doesn’t love Christmas?
Most stalls sell food, but there are stalls selling arts and crafts of all kinds as well. Definitely my kind of market. For dinner we had a mini burger with potato skins ($10) from a stall called Gourmet Burger and a very nice chicken cashew nut ($12) from a stall called Bangkok BBQ. Oh, how we miss Thai food! We loved their chicken satay with peanut sauce as well, from which they handed out samples to get your tastebuds going.
We saw lots of people with huge bags of popcorn, the perfect snack for a movie! So before heading back to the drive-in, we stopped by Popper Pete’s Popcorn. Their popcorn-making-process is really cool, but very hot, they’re very friendly, and the popcorn is delicious! The bags cost $10 and they fill them up to the brim.
After our walking tour through Brisbane, we ended the day on the Brisbane CityHopper. We boarded the free ferry at the South Bank 3 Terminal for a relaxing ride over the Brisbane River while enjoying Brisbane by night. Definitely a must-do when you’re in Brisbane!
We had a lot of fun in Brisbane. It’s young and alive, with tons of things to see and do. We especially loved the Eat Street Markets (yum!) and the views from the CityHopper of Brisbane by night (oooh!). Don’t miss out on South Bank or the impressive view over Brisbane from the Mount Coot-Tha Lookout. We really enjoyed the rugby match as well, but that’s an activity you can plan in every (big) city in Australia.