Situated on a southern bend of the Brisbane River, South Bank’s attractions – 17 hectares of parklands, riverfront dining and Brisbane’s top cultural institutions – are made even more appealing by its city-centre location. A visitor to Brisbane is likely to find themselves strolling the lush lawns of South Bank Parklands, exploring modern art at GoMA or making sandcastles on Streets Beach, so South Bank is the smart choice to stay for a city-break in Brisbane.
Rydges South Bank
Having just undergone a three-year, $30 million renovation, Rydges South Bank is refreshed, revitalised and perfectly placed for anyone wanting to stay within walking distance to the city’s main cultural precinct. All 304 redesigned rooms and suites are comfortable and modern with views of the Brisbane River, Mount Coot-tha or cosmopolitan West End. Light-filled and spacious, suites feature ample living space and a kitchenette fitted with fridge, microwave and coffee machine. There’s a plush king-sized King Coil bed, contemporary bathroom equipped with a large shower and tub, Samsung LED HD television, free wi-fi and a playful minibar (a game of pick-up sticks or dominoes anyone?). The hotel also has a gymnasium, outdoor pool, sauna and spa.
9 Glenelg Street, Brisbane; (07) 3364 0800
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Located on the podium level of Rydges South Bank, Bacchus is helmed by Massimo Speroni formerly of two-Michelin-starred San Domenico in Imola, Italy. Bacchus is no ordinary hotel restaurant. Striking interiors – think dark-wood tables, elaborate leather-upholstered chairs and moody lighting – set the bar high for an extravagant experience. There are five different tasting menus including vegetarian and vegan options and a seven-course dégustation involving beetroot textures with goat's curd, seared venison loin and a superlative dessert of banana with egg custard and malt golden raisins.
9 Glenelg Street, Brisbane; (07) 3364 0837
Admire the river views from one of Brisbane’s most iconic restaurants – Stokehouse Q. Perfect for a weekend long lunch, the sophisticated eatery strikes the right balance between up-market fine-diner and laid-back bistro. Dishes showcase some of the best local produce – Clarence River octopus with Romesco sauce, burnt-onion dressing and green tomato; and roasted beetroot tart with malt-beer caramel, chèvre, black-garlic purée and oregano are not to be missed. On the wine list, sommelier Ramon Arnavas has compiled some of the best boutique wines from around the country.
33a Sidon Street, South Bank; (07) 3020 0600
The Spaghetti House Trattoria
For a relaxed repast, pull up a seat at the bustling neighbourhood Spaghetti House Trattoria. The family-run eatery features an extensive menu that’s heavy on the pasta and features a concise list of traditional pizza. Those in the know order the gnocchi with sautéed lobster and creamy tomato sauce. It doesn’t appear on the menu but the kitchen knows what to do.
Corner of Little Stanley and Grey streets, South Bank; (07) 3844 4844
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Start the day with a riverside stroll
The riverbank is brimming with things to see and do on the weekend. Start your stroll at the Nepalese Peace Pagoda then wander down through the Arbour until you reach the Collective Markets, held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here, you’ll find a large selection of locally made crafts, jewellery and clothing.
Explore the cultural precinct
In South Bank, some of the Queensland’s best cultural institutions are right on your doorstep. Visit Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) where more than 17,000 contemporary, modern and historical artworks reside. At the Museum of Brisbane visitors can delve into the intriguing history and contemporary life of Brisbane.
Grey Street, South Brisbane
Take the Wheel for a spin
Spy on the city from above in a carriage on the Wheel of Brisbane, the city’s answer to the London Eye. It’s somewhat smaller than its British counterpart, but it offers 42 air-conditioned capsules and 360-degree views of the city.
Russel Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3844 3464
Climb the bridge
You’ll live to tell the tale: for a thrill, climb the Story Bridge – conquer 1138 stairs to 80 metres above sea level. You’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of the city.
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