Brisbane is on a roll and business types want in. Here's what to do between meetings in Australia's river city.
GOMA has built its reputation on a succession of hero exhibitions (Warhol, Picasso and Matisse among them) but, along with the older Queensland Art Gallery, it boasts one of the greatest collections of Asia-Pacific art in the world. No matter what’s on downstairs, it pays to sneak up to levels two and three to cast your eye over pieces by artists such as Anish Kapoor, Yuan Goang-Ming and Sally Gabori. Allow two hours.
Together, Paddington’s ridge-running high streets Latrobe Terrace and Given Terrace are almost two kilometres long – long enough for all kinds of boutiques, antique shops and cool toy stores. And it’s simply a pleasant place to be: leafy streets and traditional Queenslanders piled high on the hills either side.
Queensland once had a habit of demolishing the past, which makes the Museum of Brisbane at City Hall all the more important with its careful preservation of local history. Terrific multi-year installations – including 100% Brisbane, a new collaboration with Berlin-based theatre company Rimini Protokoll – are guaranteed eye-openers. Mid-September sees the opening of Ink Remix, an exhibition of traditional ink art reinterpreted by artists from China and Hong Kong. A visit should take no more than an hour.
Arguably the pinnacle of Queensland’s cultural calendar, Brisbane Festival (September 3-24) wields an intimidating budget to book some exemplary shows year after year. But it’s the event’s à la carte nature that makes it so accessible. Spend up on Daniele Finzi Pasca’s La Verità circus extravaganza or the dance production Rules of the Game, a collaboration between Pharrell Williams, Jonah Bokaer and Daniel Arsham. Or just bar-hop and take in some free exhibitions.
Mount Coot-tha is barely a 15-minute drive from the CBD and boasts panoramic views from the bay in the north right around to the city’s south-western suburbs. Take a couple of hours to knock it off early in your stay and help get your bearings, tying it in with a visit to the labyrinthine Botanic Gardens at the foot of the mountain – they put to shame the perfunctory city greenway.