We’re going to kick things off in Brisbane, because it’s where I’m kicking off my speaking tour, and I also really liked the city (much more than say Milan, but not as much as say, Rio de Janeiro. Neither of which have anything to do with Australia. What else belongs on this list?
I’ve visited many food markets around the world, but nothing as eclectic, fun and community-focused as Eat Street Northshore. A town comprised of 180 shipping containers offers a global smorgasbord of great restaurants, with alleys leading to themed sections and different stages for excellent live entertainment. Open only on weekends, there’s the French container, the Peruvian container, the Hungarian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai and Turkish container. Pick up fairy floss in Kombi alley, and toast the passing cruise ships from the brick-façade Laneway. All meals are priced less than $15, resulting in a fun and affordable night out for the whole family.
There are several bridge climbs in Australia, but Brisbane’s storied landmark is the only one that lets you abseil your way down. The three-hour tour operates at dawn, dusk and twilight, and lets you scale to the top of the Story Bridge for 360-degree views of the twinkling city, the Glass House Mountains and south to the Scenic Rim. Suitably impressed, you’ll head over to the southern pylon for a thirty metre-abseil down into Captain Burke Park. The adventure is tailored for the “bucket list enthusiasts” and who am I to argue?
Every Australian city has a communal gathering centre, but Brisbane’s South Bank is truly the best of the bunch. Its 17 hectares of parkland has outstanding playgrounds, pools, gardens, an Aquativity interactive waterpark, markets, theatres and dozens of events, including the largest free food and wine festival in the country. There’s also GOMA (the city’s world-class art gallery) the Queensland Maritime Museum, the Wheel of Brisbane, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and Segway tours. So much to do and see, and a pleasant stroll from downtown’s Oaks Charlotte Towers, crossing the Victoria Bridge or taking the city’s free CityHopper.