All of us in the southern states of Australia and in New Zealand are currently layering up with the winter woollies and preparing to hibernate for the next three months as Winter takes control, but in Brisbane life continues unabated and its the best time to take a sneaky three day weekend trip to the Sunshine State capital.
Now you are probably thinking that everything surrounds “The Valley” with The Beat and Fluffy on a Sunday the stars of your weekend, but I’m here to tell you there’s so much more.
Brisbane was always seen as the very young cousin of the big cities, some may even suggest it was just a big country town, but amazingly that has changed in the past ten years, and if you haven’t dropped by since then its time you dropped in.
We all know the sun keeps it going, but they have spared no expenses on roads, skyscrapers and yes trains from the airport (hello Melbourne and Auckland) to turn this city into a modern liveable city.
Deluxe Winter Hideout
For the perfect weekend away the city has also invested in great accommodation options, especially hotels, to deliver you a quality stay and allow you to take in the sights so easy.
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend at Capri by Fraser Brisbane and to say its in the best spot possible is an understatement. Right in the heart of Brisbane, you have this renovated office tower turned apartment hotel that not only allows you to take a few steps and you’re exploring what Brisbane has to offer but you can easily just hang back at the hotel.
Capri by Fraser Brisbane has an amazing indoor pool with attached saunas and to help those fitness freaks amongst us a purpose built gym that has windows overlooking the city streets below and get this, even has a video game play area where you can jump on the PlayStation in between sets.
I had a great room with corner windows and I loved the contemporary decor and bathroom setup, especially the inspired pump kits in the shower of Malin+Goetz toiletries. Beats the hell out of the tired old tiny bottle of shampoo that seems to take forever to open and excrete the soap from. With these pumps, you are instantly washing and rinsing off.
Brisbane has an abundance of great places to eat, remember the old days when McDonald’s was the only option in Brisbane city?, today you have great places in all corners and no more than the impressive Blackfire Brisbane which is on the ground floor of the Capri.
Associated with the famous Blackfire restaurant team from Canberra, the Brisbane location of the same name focusses on serving delicious, organic and fresh seasonal produce, grown and sourced locally and prepared to perfection by a talented team of chefs lead By Head Chef Alessandro Spiga.
The hero for me was the Black Angus fillet tenderloin, perfectly cooked and complemented with shiraz and short beef jus. The other dish that turned heads on our table was the Haloumi, beet and leaves salad, wow did this give the meal a kick and could easily have been the main dish on its own. And the vegetarians amongst us loved every minute of it.
Designed To Be Explored
The rest of the city is also so well thought out and planned to easily walk or lime scooter from the hotel.
In fact, it was my first time on one of these scooters and to say Brisbane is the perfect place for them is an understatement.
Criss-crossing the city on a scooter that gets up to 20 kilometres an hour can be exhilarating and especially when you can take a trip from the West End back to the city on the scooter in ten minutes for as little as $4 and have the night’s wind in your hair, while an Uber costs you $10 and you’re stuck in traffic all the way.
Brisbane’s Southbank has so much to offer you on a weekend, from restaurants, rooftop bars, great coffee shops, museums, art galleries and amazing theatres. All just a ten-minute walk (3 mins scoot) from Capri by Fraser.
Speaking of museums a hidden gem that you must add to your weekend in Brisbane is the Museum of Brisbane, currently the lead player in the Brisbane Art Design festival. Now it’s not your normal huge museum, and if you have been once before go again as it gets changed around all the time, but the modern artworks and historical memorabilia are great.
Did you know, Brisbane was named after the Governor of New South Wales Sir Thomas Brisbane and its the only Australian Capital City where its namesake has actually stepped foot on the city, strange but true, which I learnt at the Museum of Brisbane.
But the ultimate experience for your time in Brisbane has to be a guided tour of City Hall Clock Tower, which is accessed and booked through the Museum of Brisbane.
The clock Tower rises 87 metres above the town square and was the tallest building in Brisbane from 1930 when it was built until as late as 1967. Inside is the first fully electric clock system in Australia and still today it is the largest analogue in the country, ten centimetres bigger than Sydney’s Central station clock.
The tour up the tower is via the 90-year-old manually driven lifts and the highlight of the day was our lift driver who gave us every fact known about the tower and threw in his own comedy act to go along with it.
For stays at Capri by Fraser Brisbane book here and check out the Winter Escape package now available.
Bookings at Blackfire Restaurant can be made here.
Don’t forget the Museum of Brisbane which is free to enter but you must book the Clock Tower tour here which is also free.