Lifestyle

Why Australia’s third city has become a first class destination

If Australia’s three largest cities had been Destiny’s Child, Brisbane can be Michelle. Most vacationers flock to Sydney (Beyoncé) after which migrate south to Melbourne (Kelly).

For years the capital of Queensland has been the massive smoke everybody forgets they forgot.

But that’s all altering. Lately, heart stage belongs to “Brisvegas” — a sarcastic sobriquet derived from the actual fact Brisbane has lengthy been thought-about the antithesis of Sin City.

Last month, after a two-year hiatus, Qantas resumed its nonstop service from LAX following Australia’s hardcore, multi-year shutdown.

And that’s not all: Next year, “Brissie” (the extra PC moniker for the city of two.2 million) will welcome the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In 2032, it’s going to host the Summer Olympics.

Somehow, the backcountry settlement that started as a British penal colony is changing into a world-class destination.

Traditionally, the land the place modern-day Brisbane straddles the Brisbane River (aka, “the Brown Snake”), was dwelling to the Turrbal and Jagera peoples.

An aerial view of Brisbane and its bridges.
Bridge-happy Brisbane sits on its eponymous river, lovingly nicknamed “the Brown Snake.”
Richard Greenwood

Therefore, each go to ought to begin with a cease on the Indigenous-owned and operated Birrunga Gallery.

Here, the boomerangs are as bona fide because the didgeridoos.

Next, observe in Queen Elizabeth’s footsteps and hug a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary (and considered one of only a few that permits you to cuddle the curious-looking creatures). Afraid of bears (though koalas are literally simply marsupials)? Hand feed the sanctuary’s mob of ‘roos and emus.

People with a koala at the sanctuary.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary charms with its huggable denizens.
BEDA

End the night with a breath-taking — fairly actually — present at Brisbane’s Underground Opera.

The company was based by an entrepreneurial miner impressed by his expertise with subterranean acoustics.

Forget a fancy opera home; performances happen beneath city streets in Brisbane’s previous water reservoir.

If heights excite you, summit Brisbane’s landmark Stairmaster.

Exterior of a couple by Brisbane's Ferris wheel.
The relaxed ambiance of Brisbane is luring relocating Australians and vacationers alike with points of interest like its Ferris wheel.
Tourism Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge could also be featured in “Mission: Impossible II,” however the Story Bridge claims to be the world’s solely bridge climb with abseiling. If ascending 1,088 steps and rappelling down sounds too anticlimactic, add the escape room factor by signing up for Mission: SkyBeam. While climbing the bridge you’re tasked with serving to the Australian Intelligence Agency discover an EMP set to trigger mass destruction. No stress.

For extra 360-degree views of the subtropical city, slide into an air-conditioned gondola on the Channel 7 Wheel of Brisbane, located throughout the river from the central business district (CBD).

Between its historic purchasing arcades and the Queen Street Mall — the previous web site of Brisbane’s convict barracks and bloody flogging triangle — the CBD options greater than 1,000 outlets. To actually get the lay of the land, guide a free walkabout with Brisbane Greeters. Tours are led by proud locals prepared to disclose their favourite spots on the danger of them being ruined by vacationers.

That mentioned, Spice Central Kitchen and Bar, ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor out of 4,055 eating places in Brisbane, is not any secret. Menu objects you may’t get elsewhere embrace Mooloolaba tiger prawns, Australian pork leg seasoned with skid ink and gingerbread ice cream.

To strive Brisbane’s signature Moreton Bay bugs — mainly flat-headed lobsters — take a look at the Lodge. Opened this month, it options a 250-bottle wine record curated by Cameron Douglas, New Zealand’s solely grasp somm.

The controversial Karen’s Diner — the place the client is all the time incorrect — is one other new addition to Brisbane’s burgeoning meals scene. This offensive, interactive eating expertise guarantees the world’s worst service. Order the “Basic Karen” burger or Karen’s answer to Macca’s (McDonald’s) Big Mac: the “I Want to See the Manager.” If your identify is Karen, and you’ve got ID to show it, use it to attain a free drink.

Interior of Cyrstalbrook's rooftop bar.
The new five-star, six-story Crystalbrook Vincent lodge has a rooftop bar referred to as Fiume.
Cyrstalbrook Collection

For Brisbane’s latest five-star lodging, look no additional than Crystalbrook Vincent (from $176). The partitions of this six-story lodge are lined with greater than 500 prints by Vincent Fantauzzo, the Australian artist well-known for his portraits of the late Aussie nice, Heath Ledger.

For Brissie’s finest rooftop actual property, head to Hotel X (from $184). Since opening in December, its rooftop pool and Mediterranean bar, Iris, has been the place locals come to strip all the way down to their budgie smugglers and bathers for an arvo (afternoon) of solar, enjoyable and coldies (beer).

In 2023, Brisbane’s new Queen’s Wharf growth will welcome 5 new luxurious motels together with a Ritz-Carlton and the city’s first six-star lodge.

Getting round better Brisbane is simple because of the river ferries. Since 2019, the city has doubled its fleet of 170-passenger double-decker CityCats, with two extra CityCats debuting later this year. Passage on the smaller, 60-passenger KittyCats — servicing the inside city — is all the time free.

Getting to Brisbane, nevertheless, proves to be tougher.

Since you’re flying midway around the globe, why not make the most of the actual fact Brisbane is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef? It’s additionally simply an hour’s drive from Australia’s sunny Gold Coast and its even sunnier Sunshine Coast.

Or simply keep in Brisbane the entire time. It could by no means be Australia’s Beyoncé, however the oft-overlooked Michelle is changing into a destination in itself.

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