Having heard many other Australian’s and non Aussies tell me that Brisbane wasn’t a very cool city and so on, I didn’t have high expectations. But I thought I’d go there and make my own mind up. I was pleasantly surprised, it delivered plenty of little gems. Perhaps because our awesome host showed them all to us, or because the city actually has so much more to offer than most people had previously told me. Mat also said that Brisbane is the city that has changed and developed the most since he was in Australia 10 years ago.
Brisbane has a very different look to it compared with Melbourne and Sydney, the residential houses being the main difference. I have to say I fell a bit in love with The Queenslander houses. Maybe it’s because I’m Swedish and my heart beats a little harder for wooden houses painted in pleasant colour combination, or maybe it’s because they just look great. With their high stilts, the often big staircase leading up to a big front porch. Combining my love for big wooden front porches and a big stoop. Inside they have high ceilings, like old Victorian houses, but feel more cosy and homely due to all the natural wooden interior and details, they have big windows with beautiful details. A lot of the houses also have a large back garden, large enough to have chickens, as our hosts did. Fresh eggs every morning, you can’t beat that!
Another reason why I liked Brisbane was that it didn’t feel too big or too small, we stayed in a very nice quiet residential area and we were still only a 5 min bike ride from the city centre and the West End area. Not to be confused with London’s West End though. Brisbane’s West End is the more alternative area, with a mixture of vintage and fashion shops, bars, restaurants and coffee shops. And it also has the cheapest and best falafel in town! 4 AUD for a falafel is heaven when you’re on a travelling budget, that’s all I’m saying.
Southbank in Brisbane is like small version of Southbank back home in London, it has the bigger museums, arts centre and galleries, it has restaurants, bars and pubs, cinemas and a cheap one at that at only 8AUD! The biggest difference between London and Brisbane’s Southbank, is that Brisbane’s version comes complete with a beach, a fake one, but non the less a beach with a sandy pool. A bit cheesy, yes, but still pretty good to me!
The CBD as aussies call it (Central Business District), is a bit like any city’s central area, shopping streets, department stores, information centres and so on. The best about Brisbane’s CBD is Glenn’s Espresso. A little coffee wagon on Anne Street where you can go to get a quick caffeine hit, you’ll get great coffee and fun banter. A totally biased opinion 😉
Fortitude Valley, or just The Valley as the locals call it, is another really nice area, similar to West End but a bit more cleaned up version. A sprinkling of cool fashion shops like Acne, Sass and Bide and many more, cafes, restaurants and bars.
I do think though, that wherever you are in the world, be it a city, town or the country side, it’s the people around you that makes it what it is. A city is only as good as its people. And Ollie (and his lady and the Brisbane polo family) really made us feel welcome and at home, they showed us so many cool spots that we would never have found on our own and that kind of inside information is priceless! My favourite time and place in Brisbane was one of our last evenings. We had been to the old Brisbane Powerhouse, that has been converted to a arts centre and gallery space, with a stage for theatres, gigs, stand up etc, restaurant and bar. Mat and Ollie spent the last hours of the afternoon and daylight by playing polo outside the Powerhouse building. When it got dark we got some take away pizza’s and a bottle of wine and Ollie took us to, what he calls ‘Shirazzy Hill’, which overlooks the river, city and Story Bridge. The view was fantastic and it was one of those great times that I will remember and cherish forever!
If there is one thing however they should really consider changing in Queensland, its the daylight saving. I’m sorry, but dark at 7pm in summer is just silly. You have these amazing warm evening and you can’t make use of them to their full because come 7.30pm it’s pitch dark outside. So dearest Queensland government, be nice to your people and give them a bit more daylight so they can enjoy their summer evenings!