5. Shopping and CBD: The CBD area of Brisbane is fantastic, it’s pedestrianized and compact, with all the shops you could want [Okay I’m not a big shopper unless it’s food produce, active wear or hiking equipment] But there is a real buzz about the main Street, beautiful big murals and the tourist information centre is a must visit, it’s a beautifully restored old theatre and is just stunning.
For the last leg of my parent’s trip, we had 2 days and 1 night in Brisbane. Having parked the DOT and the Disco at our friends Bridgette and Geoffrey, we borrow their son’s car and headed into the city for a night in the Four Points Hotel [Our last hotel points from the corporate world and last hotel for a while] They have a fantastic rooftop bar with panoramic view of the city and we rounded off our busy day up here with a drink.
After Mum and Dad left we spent 2 nights with Bridgette and Geoffrey along with their super cool cats [We are not cat people, but these three are gorgeous and friendly] We loved it so much at theirs with the pool, home cooking, biltong, fresh egg’s, open fires and generally being spoilt we went back to Hotel Flint for more a few weeks later after Ex-Cyclone Debbie. [Sorry….they don’t take bookings]
TOP 7 things to do in the city and surrounding area
1. Botanic Gardens and Mt Coot-Tha [7km from the CBD] On route into the city we explored the different zones of the 56 hectare Subtropical Botanic Gardens, before driving to the top of the hill to the lookout for the views across to Morton Bay as we ate our picnic. Rich and I subsequently came back here and walked the 5km loop up the summit path from JC Slaughter to the lookout and then back on the Mahogany Trail. We had coffee at the top in Kuta Cafe. Must do Brisbane have a great description of this hike as well as others in the area.
2. Travel the Brisbane river using the free CityHopper and walk/ explore sections: This is a great little ferry service that runs from 6am-midnight and on our first afternoon we took the ferry from Eagle Street pier to North Quays and walked back past Australia’s only man-made beach and swimming area. We used this service again to head out for dinner on the South Bank. If you want to travel further up or down the river take the City Cat. On our second day we headed south and walked back into the city along the many boardwalks from Dockside Terminal.
3. The city at night and Botanic Gardens: Along with Perth, I think this is a stunning city to walk around at night. We headed here at dusk after walking off dinner and it was just beautiful. The big towering native trees created amazing shadows and we got to see huge Fruit Bats flying around, they were enormous. Mum and Dad got to see their first possum playing around too. We also played on the big guns on the south bank.
4. Dine out along the river: We had a beautiful breakfast at the Riverbar & Kitchen,
We had our final night meal with Mum and Dad at Aquitaine Brasserie a French restaurant that did really great fresh fish and steak dishes, overlooking the city skyline and river.
6. Sandgate and Redcliffe… Home of the Bee Gees: (16km north of the CBD) On our first stay with Bridgette and Geoffrey, Bridgette took the day off work and showed us around these coastal towns along Bramble Bay. Historic Sandgate is picturesque seaside town, with a pier and perched on the cliff tops the beautiful restored Masonic Hall where we had lunch. Redcliffe is home to the Bee Gees and even if you are not a mega fan [Which we are not] The Bee Gees Way is a cleverly created exhibit.
7. D’agular National Park and Wivenhoe Dam: (Between 10 km and 35 km north-west of the CBD) We went out for the day with Bridgette and Geoff on our second stay with them, exploring the lookouts in this National Park and then spent sometime at the the dam. The Wivenhoe dam which has a great information centre about its role providing both potable water and flood defence. The Cormorant cafe here has stunning views across the lake.