BRISBANE, Australia – With an almost perfect, balmy climate throughout the year (high 26, low 15), lots of sunshine and land that spans 6,110 square miles, it can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to Brisbane. The Binge team recently went on a challenge to narrow down what you can do in just 48 hours at our favourite part of Brisbane: Fortitude Valley!
Neighbourhood Cheat Notes
South Bank: The heart of the arts & culture scene in Brisbane.
West End: Where vintage meets hipster culture in this eco-conscious neighbourhood.
Fortitude Valley: Packed with a thriving nightlife and a multitude of cultural experiences.
Streets full of local designers, fresh Australian produce being sold at markets, a burgeoning café culture and thriving nightlife makes this neighbourhood optimum for your 48-hour stint.
However, the ultra-laid-back vibe of this place may have you observing the locals more than the local ware.
Alfresco Living on Rooftop Bars and Outdoor Cafes
Blessed with almost-perfect holiday weather, visitors and locals alike get to enjoy alfresco living throughout the year. As a visitor, you’ll be spoilt for choice with rooftop bars, outdoor cafes and beer gardens serving up artisan crafted brews. Here are some of our faves:
- Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar
- Eleven Rooftop Bar
- Up on Constance
- Elixir Rooftop Bar
- The Treehouse Café & Bar
- Reverends Fine Coffee
- Café 63 (Ann St Brisbane)
With so little time and so much to do, it really is nice when everything is somewhat lumped together within walking distance of each other. This especially goes for shopping.
Even the wariest shopper will find shopping here a breeze and pleasure with the number of local designers, heritage-listed arcades and bustling markets under one precinct!
Ann Street & James St
These two streets are known for their unique clusters of shops and independent boutiques featuring local Brisbane designers, speciality shops and even eccentric wares for the home.
Frequently visited by celebrities and local socialites, they have, throughout the years, developed a diehard cult following for indie brands and designers.
Queen Street Mall
Having been hailed as Australia’s most successful pedestrian mall with over 700 shops and services, Queen Street Mall has recorded receiving over 26 million visitors per annum. If you are short on time and have only shopping and food in mind, then this is the mall for you.
Queen Street Farmers Market
Held every Wednesday in front of the Treasury Casino on George Street, you’ll find fresh local vegetables and fruit straight from the farm, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic artisan brews, breads, meats and even international fare.
Held on the pier, you’ll find stalls dedicated to offering more vintage and collectibles. The food options are just as good, but with more international choices.
As much square feet that the café culture is intent on taking over, parks still win when it comes to Brisbane.
A heritage-listed park on 85 Wickham Street, this is perfect for those wishing for a little reprieve from the city. This, while learning a bit more about Queensland’s history.
Built on what used to be the grounds of the largest Catholic Cathedral in the southern hemisphere, it was also home to two World War Two air raid shelters.
The park, designed with the purpose of commemorating the centenary of European settlement in Queensland (1824-1934), is dotted with commemorative art fixtures signifying various milestones it has achieved.
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Heritage-listed and just as steeped in history is the Botanic Gardens. It includes some of the most mature gardens in Brisbane, showcasing beautiful and rare botanic species found in Australia.
Depending on the day or season, you can also find markets, fitness classes and even cultural events taking place here. Worth the visit, but if you only have 48 hours to spare, make sure to time yourself.
Brisbane is littered with museums and galleries. The most talked about would be the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). But, that’s in South Bank, and Fortitude Valley has just enough pizzazz to skip that trip all the way down if you don’t have the time.
Institute of Modern Art
This places features contemporary arts from both local and international artists. If you are a lover of contemporary and modern techniques and presentations, this, along with GOMA is a must visit in Brisbane. Admission is free.
The Wild Card
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Just a 30-minute car ride from Fortitude Valley is the world’s first and biggest koala sanctuary. Though it also houses other famous Australian species such as the wombat and various reptiles, Lone Pine is the place for everything koala related.
Throughout the day, guests can enjoy guided tours, talks, and even shows to entertain the little kid in you.
Admission: Adults AUS36 (USD28.16), Children AUS22 (USD17.22). Operation Hours: Daily, 9am – 5pm. Worth the trip if you adore animals from fur to scale.
On foot! But, should you find your feet walking you towards to the water’s edge, hop on board the free City Hopper Ferry for a tour up and down Brisbane River.
Word of advice, though the City Hopper is free, it is also painstakingly slow. If you are in a rush, grab City Cat. They cost relatively the same amount you would pay for public transport on land. City Hopper Ferries run every 30 minutes, daily from 6am to 12am. – The Binge