Experience the wonder of Brisbane in the summertime.
Brisbane comes alive in summer. It’s a time when the city’s voracious appetite for the outdoors is matched by cultural and sports calendars overflowing with events. Here are 10 things to do during the sultry months in the Queensland capital.
Cool off at the Spring Hill Baths
A dip in these heritage-listed baths is like a trip back in time. Built in 1886, this was Brisbane’s first in-ground pool; its multicoloured individual change rooms and grandstand seating are a charming reminder of simpler times. The prices – $5.40 for adults, $3.90 for kids – aren’t bad either.
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Mix with the locals at Eat Street Markets and Mount Gravatt Marketta
These weekend food markets are the place to be in summer. Eat Street is the star – a bustling dockyard recreation of an Asian street market adjacent to the ritzy Portside precinct. Fifteen minutes south of the river, the Mount Gravatt Marketta is more multicultural and inclusive; under yards of festoon lights with a beer in hand you’ll quickly fit in with the locals.
Dine on the river at Bar Alto
Brisbane’s notoriously early sunsets hardly let up in the warmer months so make the most of dusk with dinner on Bar Alto’s outdoor deck at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Looking out across the river at the neat, sun-kissed Hawthorne mansions is a special kind of bliss. Arrive for a 6.30pm seating and catch a show at the Powerhouse afterwards.
Image: Judit Losh
Daytrip to Moreton Island
One of two large sand islands sitting across the bay from Brisbane, the sparsely inhabited Moreton is barely more than an hour’s ferry ride from Holt Street Wharf (15 minutes from the city) and perfect for a daytrip of surfing, sandboarding and snorkelling among the breakwater wrecks. Adventure Moreton Island offers a variety of packages depending on your interests.
Experience GOMA’s 10-year celebrations
On any given day, Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is one of the finest art spaces in the country. But this summer the experience is heightened by the gallery’s 10th anniversary celebrations. Typical for GOMA, it’s more about looking forward than back, with new works by artists such as Judy Watson and Anthony McCall joining favourites from the gallery’s extensive collection. Did we mention it’s free?
Catch some tunes at Laneway Festival
This is the best instalment of Australia’s top touring music festival. It’s held in the Brisbane Showgrounds, a storied venue dating back to 1876. It’s the kind of rambling precinct that encourages exploration of the cutting-edge music on offer. This year, Young Thug, Glass Animals and Tame Impala are performing.
Sit on a craft brew or two at Green Beacon
One of the first local independent brewhouses, Green Beacon is also one of the best. It’s particularly pleasant on a summer afternoon, when a remedial river breeze drifts up Helen Street and through the giant warehouse’s roller door. Food trucks are in attendance most nights but it’s the award-winning beer that matters most.
Be enchanted by the Ladies in Black
The Queensland Theatre Company’s 2016 Helpmann Award-winning musical Ladies in Black is moving back in to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre for a three-week run from January 28 to February 19. Written by Carolyn Burns and directed by Simon Phillips, with music by Tim Finn, it’s a production every bit as good as the talent attached.
Catch a game at the Brisbane Global Rugby 10s
If 15s is all about physicality and sevens is about speed and athleticism, 10-a-side rugby aims to mix the two. This two-day tournament (February 11-12) involves the Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby clubs mixing it with four invitational international teams. With 10-minute halves played on the hard Suncorp Stadium field, the football should be exhilarating.
Enjoy a few sets at the Brisbane International
The 2009 opening of the Queensland Tennis Centre lit a fire under the game in Brisbane and this tournament (an entrée to the Australian Open) is the centrepiece. It consistently attracts great players – this year both Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka are appearing – and the facilities are first class. Besides, on the river in the largely undiscovered western suburb of Tennyson, it’s simply a nice place to be.
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