Up and Coming
Once overshadowed by other Australian cities, today Brisbane evokes effortless cool.
And it is along the banks of this river city that Brisbane’s real character—a conglomeration of unique riverside villages blossoming with exciting brunching, brewing and browsing options—is revealed.
Brisbane has always played little sister to the more glamorous Melbourne and Sydney. But while its better known, and some would say pretentious, elder sisters continue to fight to prove their cultural superiority, Brisbane is quietly transforming into a sophisticated city, without the attitude. However, in this renewal Brisbane has not lost all of its ‘big country town’ feel. Its people are laid back, meandering along the streets much like the city’s lifeblood, its eponymous river. And it is along the banks of this river city that Brisbane’s real character—a conglomeration of unique riverside villages blossoming with exciting brunching, brewing and browsing options—is revealed.
Brisbane is no longer just the perfect gateway to the Gold Coast (an hour to the south) or Sunshine Coast (90 minutes to the north). It has become a destination in its own right, playing host to a range of sophisticated cultural and dining options. And, it is for this reason that Shangri-La selected the city to debut Traders Hotel, Brisbane, which is perfectly situated to enjoy all the city has to offer.
A particularly delightful aspect of Brisbane’s transformation is the proliferation of farmers’ markets. New Farm (yes, a farm in a former incarnation), a hip leafy riverside village, hosts a fortnightly farmers’ market in the grounds of the Powerhouse Museum. And, whether it is indulging in homemade cookies, fudges, artisan breads and cheeses, or experiencing the best and freshest organic produce, you will be spoilt for culinary choice. Locals know to arrive early to avoid the crowds—market going has become somewhat of a social scene, with babies in designer prams and dogs on designer leashes competing for attention—and to ensure that their favourite baker has not sold out of croissants or macarons. Do not despair if you are not lucky enough to be visiting over a weekend, many of the same stallholders inhabit Brisbane Square in the CBD all day every Wednesday.
Can’t survive without your morning brew? You are in good company. Brisbane’s growing gang of coffee connoisseurs are a discerning bunch, and there is no better place to enjoy your daily caffeine hit than under clear blue skies. Brisbane may be newer to cafe culture than Melbourne, but it has long embraced the alfresco lifestyle. If your idea of experiencing the great outdoors is basking in the sun accompanied by your beverage of choice, then Brisbane is your place. Coffee snobs will enjoy Brisbane blends and local favourites, Merlo and Di Bella. And, don’t be afraid to get your fix from tiny hole in the wall type places. Very often the smaller the cafe, the better the brew, and the hipper the clientele. A favourite brunching spot for locals, and up and coming village, is Woolloongabba.
While it might be better known as the home of Queensland cricket, you don’t need to be a sporting fan to enjoy “Gabba’s” delights, which range from the epicurean to the sartorial. Don’t be disappointed if you are asked to wait for a table here along the antique strip. Locals know to expect it, and proprietors are happy for you to order a coffee to sip on until a table becomes vacant. Once sated, take the time to wander—who knows what myriad of vintage and retro delights await at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre, where a menagerie of knick knacks and bric a brac mingle with vintage Chanel, Dior, Tiffany and Gucci.
It just wouldn’t be right to visit Brisbane without enjoying the locals’ favourite pastime—drinking. BrisVegas locals are known to favour a cleansing ale or two, and, local brewers XXXX (Fourex), continue to have a loyal following who believe imbibing anything else tantamount to treason. However, this former ‘one beer State’ is beginning to acquire a taste for alternatives, and the boutique microbrewing industry is booming. Ranging from cosy to sprawling, boutique beer cafes in West End, New Farm and Milton (all riverside villages) hold regular beer tasting events, with some even encouraging punters to bring along their own board games and bar snacks.
For a true Brisbane experience, don’t miss the Grand Lady of the Brisbane River. The Regatta Hotel has been a part of the city’s social scene for 140 years (if only these walls could talk!). Use the local lingo and order your beer in ‘pots’. But, don’t let the name fool you. While Queenslanders are known to celebrate ‘all things big’, a pot consists of only 285ml – anything larger gets warm too quickly in the balmy Queensland heat! With views of the river only obscured by the purple-hued blossoms of the giant Jacaranda trees, there is surely no better place to quench your thirst and enjoy the final rays of the day.
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In the picture, I can see clear & clean waters: it a really good thing. Here in Manila we don' t have much river/ lakes/ streams that can be considered clean or unpolluted. My place have one of the most worst case when it comes to cleanliness. People are so undisciplined that they let their dogs go poopoo on the streets without cleaning it. There' s a garbage disposal difficulty in the Metro Manila too-something they can' t solve for ages.
I think it' s as simple as my people here ain' t as educated & disciplined as the ones abroad. i envy foreign countries because they are very much rich & developed-their citizens work with the government for their place to improve. I guess it is because Filipinos have this so called "crab mentality": they don' t like to see their neighbors improve & become better in life, instead the Pinoys tend to pull their fellowmen whenever they see them go up a social level-due to selfishness.
I am 38th years old and have been living in the Philippines since birth-Pinoys are really disappointing.
I admire the foreign culture and lifestyle, like Australians-my boyfriend is from Sydney.
I thank God for people who knows how to care for his creations.. for his universe.