Last Saturday morning I bundled the family and four carry-on ONLY suitcases (key detail) onto a plane bound for Brisbane.
The next 48 hours proved to be the perfect ‘get-me-through-to-Christmas’ break that we all didn’t know we really needed.
Heat (as in 36 degrees), swimming, shopping, lots of food, a great stage show – it was early nights and long days.
I visit Brisbane often for work and have always loved the architecture. The juxtaposition of mirrored skyscrapers against swaying palm trees.
It’s actually the perfect visual metaphor for this river city – tropical with a sprinkling of slick.
I believe passionately in taking holidays in your own back yard. See the rest of the world of course, but make sure that you also see Australia.
Here’s my guide for the perfect Brisbane mini break with your family.
Where To Stay In Brisbane.
Set high above the heart of Queen Street the Hilton Brisbane has arguably the best location in the city.
Right in the middle of the city’s shopping precinct, you’re literally an elevator ride away from every single shop you can think of.
And then some more.
From Zara and Top Shop to Hermes and Tiffany – it’s all within easy walking distance.
So you can imagine how this discovery went over with two tween/teen daughters – we may as well have been at Disneyland.
It’s equally easy to get to get to Eagle Street Pier (the river) and South Bank. We didn’t have a car – and apart from a couple of short cab rides – our legs took us everywhere.
Hilton Brisbane was designed by Harry Siedler and is a vintage example of our most famous architects aesthetic.
The hotel surrounds an 83 metre high atrium which is canopied with plants. The guest rooms are located over twenty five floors and can be accessed via three gold and glass elevators.
The hotel rooms are spacious and sparkling clean with the higher floors offering amazing cityscape views. We had adjoining rooms which turned the space into more of an apartment, letting us stretch out.
Every review I’ve read talks about the incredible beds at this hotel – it’s a Hilton trademark – and I can now vouch for their goodness.
The linen, pillows and mattress are delicious. Comfortable with a cherry on top.
The hotel is set up for activity and heat with a gym, tennis court and outdoor pool.
All of which we used.
We didn’t eat dinner at the Vintaged Bar and Grill (famous for it’s steaks) but we most certainly rocked the buffet breakfast.
My kids LIVE for a buffet and this one is a ripper with everything from green juices and smoothies to made-to-order omelettes and pancakes.
However the true stars of the Hilton Brisbane are the staff.
From the front door to the concierge who brought me extra coat hangers it was superb service.
Hilton Brisbane caters to the business traveller but that’s actually what makes it perfect for a short family stay.
Unreal location and all the services you’ll ever need.
To for information and bookings head to www.www3.hilton.com
What To Do In Brisbane.
This is a big city with big events and ‘what to do’ changes from season to season.
I found www.theurbanlist.com a super useful resource when planning our weekend but here is what we packed into our 48 hours…
The sun gets up at 4.30am during the summer and if you’re an exerciser early morning is the part of the day cool enough to take your workout outdoors.
Saxon and I went on a mega walk from the city over the Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point Cliffs (did the killer stairs) and then looped back.
It was a steamy but beautifully scenic hit out.
On the south bank (just over the bridge) you’ll find really good acai bowls at Kiss The Berry.
My eldest daughter Ella who is very tough critic when it comes to these Brazilian bowls gave it the ‘Can I have it again tomorrow please’ tick of approval.
We headed over to Fortitude Valley for lunch and shopping and it’s such a pretty part of the city and reminded me of Melrose in Los Angeles.
Colourful street murals, leafy laneways and gelato for Lulu.
Super cool shops.
I fell in love with the Paris hang photo wall at Calexico which has is a fashion boutique with a beautiful edit of international designer labels.
I found the most beautiful earrings above) at the Molten Store.
I wish I had bought in jade green as well. Wish.
Look at the chandelier in the store. Obsessed.
All the shops along the James Street strip have this kind of fabulous treatment so window wandering is fun.
We ate at Sixes And Sevens a relaxed and delicious restaurant in an old Queenslander.
The pub-style menu was perfect for all the family tastes and the vibe was the same as on the street.
Chilled and vibey.
Plus the name is a line from the song Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.
So…I was never not going.
Get around town in the Green Cabs.
These super fit cyclists pump out beats while they whiz you around town.
Our kids thought it was the greatest thing ever.
The brilliance that is Matilda.
We’d seen it as a family in London two years earlier and absolutely loved Tim Minchin’s clever show. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre is a world class venue – with great shows on throughout the whole year – and this local cast of kids were just incredible.
The Brisbane Matilda season has just opened and runs until February 17. See it!!!
If you haven’t yet tried the addiction which is Doughnut Time then it might be time.
The new CBD store has all the favourites although as a family we are a little bit stuck on the salted caramel moment called Veruca Salt.
I know I tend to always say this but…look up when you’re wandering.
This is a cleverly planned city and the sky view is different around each corner.
Beccofino was a recommendation from my friend Morgan (Brisbane born and bred) and is an absolute must.
You can’t book but the wait was manageable and after dinner you should walk of the carbohydrate coma with a walk around Tenerife. Head to www.beccofina.com.au
The Wheel of Brisbane is a lot like the London Eye only smaller and in Brisbane.
I took on my fear of ferris wheels and totally enjoyed the ten minutes spent spinning above the sparkling city.
I’m a big supporter of ‘when in Rome’ and in Brissy this is kind of a rite of passage.
The Collective Markets in South Bank run Friday through Sunday every week and are great for an afternoon wander/shop/snack. We headed there after Matilda and The Wheel – it’s just one long easy stroll.
Cajun corn and potato on a stick. So good.
PLUS the best ever hot dog from Pig N Whistle.
On Sunday night the kids stayed in the hotel for room service and a movie (their choice) and Saxon and I went to Aria
I love Matt Moran’s cooking and the position of his Brisbane flagship is utterly magic.
Brisbane you ARE cool.
Thank you for an awesome weekend.