1. Have a drink at one of Australia’s best bars
Half way down Queen Street and situated in Brisbane’s old National Bank building is the state’s only heritage-listed bar, The Gresham. 2016 was a big year for this bar when it took out the Bar of the Year in the national Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards. You can read about the history of the bar here, including how it’s preserved the original architecture.
2. Head up the clock tower at City Hall
The tallest building in the city at the time of building, the clock tower has been in operation since the opening of City Hall in 1930, and is 87.47 metres high with an observation platform at 64 metres. Free tours up the clock tower operate daily taking visitors up in an old, hand-operated lift for a bird’s-eye view of the city.
3. Thrill seek with a Story Bridge climb and abseil experience
As the only bridge climb and abseil in the world, this is not an experience you want to miss out on. It is quite a well known fact that you can climb the Story Bridge, but did you know you can also abseil right off the side of it as well? Well not really right off side, but you’ll start with the traditional Story Bridge climb before descending down to road level at the southern bridge pylon for a 30m abseil down into Captain Burke Park. They even do a discounted student rate, book online here.
4. Find the world’s first commercially grown macadamia tree
Did you know the world’s first commercially grown macadamia tree was propagated in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens? It was planted in 1858 and still stands there today, still producing nuts. Check out this map to note its location and head down to the gardens to see for yourself.
5. Overlook Queen Street Mall
Another pool in the city but certainly not one you’d just happen upon, as it is four floors above Queen Street Mall and is conveniently situated in the vicinity of a rooftop bar. Next Hotel’s Pool Terrace and Bar opens daily, from noon-10pm Sunday to Thursday and noon-midnight Friday and Saturday for drinks, eats and swims overlooking the mall. Find more hidden bars in the CBD here.
6. Go back in time at Old Government House
Discover Queensland’s early colonial life at the place where British settlers ruled the state in the early 1900s. Through the interpretive panels, video and multimedia installations, get to know the design and construction of the house and the stories of those who lived and worked here. Before you leave, head upstairs to find the William Robinson Gallery, which is dedicated to displaying the works of Australian contemporary landscape artist, William Robinson.
7. Discover public art on a Brisbane Greeter tour
Brisbane city is littered with public art, from King George Square to Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and the streets, laneways and sidewalks in between. Find out the meaning and back stories behind each instalment on a free public art tour with a Brisbane Greeter – you’ll be surprised at what you find. Brisbane Greeters run regular walking tours through the city that start in King George Square and work their way down to QUT Gardens Point campus.
8. Find the enchanted garden at QUT Gardens Point
If you’ve seen those wonderful trees filled with fairy lights on Instagram, you are probably wondering where you can find them. While there are a few that pop up around the city, the largest and most enchanting cluster can be found on the QUT side of the Goodwill Bridge. For the full magic experience, aim to arrive for twilight to watch them light up.
9. Eat at any hour
Pulling an all-nighter to get an assessment in? Don’t do it hungry. While most places in the CBD shut up shop between 9pm and 11pm, there are a few Brisbane institutions that are open all hours to fill your stomach’s void. Check out Pancake Manor on Charlotte Street, Jimmy’s on the Mall and Guzman y Gomez on Albert street for 24-hour eats. For more late night eats you can check out our list here.