Brisbane

If a city were to win awards for reinventing itself then Brisbane would be a worthy contender.

Like a phoenix rising out of its dowdy ashes Brisbane has suddenly become the hotspot of Australia, the must visit destination that everybody is talking about – filled with futuristic appeal and a young population that embrace the culture and the great food  but above all hold an overriding desire to make the most of this glorious city.

Modern building dominate the skyline housing luxury hotels, high end shops and clubs, these hedonistic pursuits may be part of the cityscape but there are also art galleries, fringe theatres and a thriving bohemian community that embrace their values in a thoroughly modern way.

If it is luxury that you are after then Brisbane can do that with ease, Rydges South Bank combines luxury with the perfect location, close to exhibition centres and within walking distance of many of the cities attractions. The rooms have all recently been refurbished and are subtly attractive with neutral yet warm earthy tones, the pool and the rooftop café command fabulous city views and add something a little special to this already great hotel.

Apartment hotels are springing up throughout the city and although these can be cheerless affairs they do offer great flexibility for larger parties and for those that are more independently minded, the Meriton properties offer considerably more character than most but do quickly become booked up so early booking is advised.

There has been a huge upsurge in the demand for locally sourced seasonal produce and this combined with the cosmopolitan vibe of Brisbane has collided to create something quite special, global dishes are given the feeling of the highest quality when nothing but the best ingredients are used and the store cupboard of nature is utilised to its full advantage – of course the ultimate winner is always the diner

Restaurant Two on Edward Street is an absolute champion of all that is great about the local produce, the menu changes regularly to reflect the very best of the seasons and although classical  is given a modern twist – not an inexpensive choice but the food is absolutely sublime.

Vietnamese food is the new must try experience in Brisbane and nowhere does it better than Mrs Luu’s Vietnamese Canteen, although only open till mid afternoon the lunchtime menu is excellent with a choice of food that is reminiscent of true street food albeit slightly more refined.

There is a huge outdoor culture in Brisbane and the close proximity to the coast gives plenty of opportunity to indulge the passions of diving and swimming, tours to swim with the dolphins are an absolute must; taking the trip to Tangalooma Island to swim with these amazing creatures also has the added bonus (during the months of July to September) of seeing the whales that bask in the waters.

Take the time to enjoy the cultural side of life in Brisbane and visit several of the cities museums; the Museum of Brisbane is set across two floors, not only celebrating Australian history but a floor being designated to showcase the talents of local artists making for an unusual and unexpected exhibition. The Maritime Museum celebrates the  history of the Queensland region and has some great exhibits, not least the WW II warship HMAS Diamantina which is kept in dry dock for visitors to enjoy.

With its subtropical climate Brisbane can become overbearingly humid during the summer months of December through to February (although most of the modern building are air conditioned to somewhat compensate for this); a better solution is to travel during the Australian winter months (June- August) when the days are beautifully bright and warm and the evenings are pleasantly cool.

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