I’m just going to start by saying HOW ON EARTH IS IT APRIL ALREADY??! Anyway, now that that’s out the way, let’s get into the blog!
After four weeks of beaches and bikinis, we had almost forgotten what a city was, and it felt very strange seeing skyscrapers and busy traffic crossings as our bus made its way into Brisbane City centre. Now, in all honesty, we had set our expectations quite low for this city – let’s just say that the majority of backpackers we had bumped into didn’t have too much praise for Brisbane! But we were ready to let the city prove us wrong… and prove us wrong it did! In just over 48 hours, both Emma and I grew to love this young, lively city. So here are my top tips for what to do and where to go to make the most of this fab little city in just two days. Enjoy!
1. Make friends with some ace gals from Sweden. Ok, I’m willing to admit that this is quite specific and may not be achievable for all… but we were lucky enough to have met two lovely girls from Sweden while camping on Fraser Island, and even better, our East Coast itineraries match almost exactly! So, we have joined forces and continue our travels as an awesome foursome.
2. Put your feet up and relax on a ferry ride along the river. One of my favourite things about Brisbane is the river squirming all the way through the centre. This often means that you can find yourself stuck with a large expanse of water between you and your destination… but by no means is this a bad thing! With a free City Hopper ferry service, you can jump on and off the ferry as many times as you like. Not only does this get you from A to B, it allows you to sit back and enjoy the stunning landscape of Brisbane’s city skyline. And, because it’s free, you can ride the ferry all the way to the end of its route and back, just for the fun of it (or maybe because you accidentally get on one going in the wrong direction… no, of course this didn’t happen…)!
3. Spend the day chilling at Southbank. No trip to Brisbane would be complete without a visit to Southbank. Surprisingly similar to London’s Southbank, this part of the city is perfect for taking a gentle stroll along the waterfront, grabbing a bite to eat and watching the world go by outside one of the many cafe or restaurants, and sorting out your insta at the big Brisbane letters. Unlike London, there is also a man-made beach and lagoon right by the river front, perfect for those who want to pretend they have escaped the big city for a few hours in the sunshine.
4. Zoom Zoom! Ride around the city on an electric scooter. One of the coolest modes of transport on offer in Brisbane is the electric Lime Scooters, and it couldn’t be easier to rent one – just grab a green scooter (you’ll find them dotted about the city), scan it into the app, and you’re on your way! We had so much fun zooming along the river boardwalk and through the botanical gardens, and it definitely is a time-efficient way to get around! My only advice would be to not hold onto these guys for too long (or just be smarter than us and read the price details first), especially if you are on a tight budget as the price can add up quickly! But don’t let that put you off, as without a doubt it is worth the cost!
5. Get lost in the lanes of Fortitude Valley. When we arrived at our hostel in Brisbane, the receptionist told us that Fortitude Valley (the area we were staying in) was like London’s Soho with its trendy bars and cafes and buzzing nightlife. And I would say he was right! We spent the first part of the day aimlessly walking around the area; through China Town, pedestrianised streets with bars and restaurants, and little Laneways with hidden cafes. One hidden cafe we stumbled across was called ‘Cakes & Shit’, and it only took one look at the cakes for us to decide that this would be a very suitable place for lunch – it would have been rude not to! Fortitude Valley is also renowned for its nightlife, and we had a fun evening hopping between pubs and bars, before ending up at Prohibition club to end the night with a dance!
6. Let your taste buds go wild at the Eat Street Markets. You can’t beat a good food market, and the Eat Street markets on Brisbane’s Northshore are no exception to this rule. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, these brightly-coloured container units open their doors and invite you to eat your way around the huge variety of food stalls, offering tasty treats from every cuisine imaginable. With sparkling fairy lights, live music, and the sweet smell of doughnuts in the air, it’s easy to spend hours enjoying the buzz of these markets, and I think this was possibly the highlight of the trip for me!
Thanks for the adventure Brisbane! Now back on the bus ready to embrace the beach and bikini life once again in Byron Bay. Speak soon!