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Why let tourists have all the fun? It might be easy to see all the action when you’re travelling through a new place, but it takes a mere lens-shift to remember you can just as easily explore your hometown as if you’ve never see it before.
With so much going on in Brisbane every day of the week, there’s never been a more rewarding time to change up your habits and live like a tourist. To help, here’s a curated shortlist of some of Brisbane’s most unique and sought after homegrown attractions.
Catch a show at Queensland Theatre
What better than a little cultural infusion to revitalise your local senses? There’s no better place in Brisbane to fill up your cultural cup than Queensland Theatre.
Australia’s third largest theatre company, QT stages an annual season of the best theatre, spanning classic to contemporary works, and leads the nation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre.
Catch the satirical comedy An Octoroon, a searingly funny exploration of race, directed by Black Comedy’s Nakkiah Lui, or Scenes From A Marriage, Ingmar Bergman’s riveting portrait of matrimony. Best of all, first-time theatre-goers can grab Queensland Theatre tickets for just $20.
Gallery of Modern Art
If the stage isn’t your thing, enjoy a short wander further along the cultural precinct and get your artistic fix from Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Setting the standard for cultural institutions of its kind nationwide, in the Asia-Pacific and beyond, GOMA is one of Brisbane’s most sought after gems and a brilliant cultural day out, home to a collection of over 17,000 works of modern and contemporary art and a fabulous exhibition programme showcasing an eclectic range of domestic and international artists.
Jan Powers Farmers Market
A magnet for tourists and locals alike, the vibrant Jan Powers Farmers Market (in front of Treasury Casino on the George St end of the Queen Street Mall) brings the country to the city every Wednesday with fresh farm produce, artisan products and organic goods. Each week is a chance to get amongst the action and load up on delicious, homegrown delights, with each stall curated individually by the Jan Powers crew.
See the city (literally) from the tourist’s vantage with a breathtaking ride on the iconic Wheel of Brisbane. Relish in your home’s superb panoramas, learn about its historic landmarks, and deepen your knowledge of Brisbane’s history with an in-capsule audio guide.
XXXX factory tour
Beer: champion beverage the world over – and ‘round these parts the local elixir is iconic. Visit the home of XXXX and enjoy a thorough rundown on the history, legacy and inner workings of the XXXX brewing process, with a whistle-wettingly satisfying factory tour.
Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Keen to get the juices flowing? Cue: two hours of panoramic adventure thrills as you climb to the top of Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. Check out the mountains, the river and the Brisbane surrounds at the top of the city, and take in the history of Brisbane’s transformation from 19th Century penal colony to 21st Century hub with a full guided tour experience.
Nothing says ‘tourist’ more than a river cruise, yet a surprisingly excellent time can be had on one these things as a local too. Lovely under the sun and even more gorgeous by the luminous gaze of twilight, the city vantage from Brisbane River is a sight to behold. Take in this goodness for granted no more – ride upon these calming waters on a river cruise (check out River City Cruises, Kookaburra Showboat Cruises and Mirimar’s Koala and River Cruise), and get to know your home from an intimate new vantage.
In the end, seeing things from a tourist’s point of view is all about changing up perspective, and one of the best ways to do that is often upon the viewing deck of a hop-on hop-off service. In Brisbane, you can catch a ferry: the City Hopper, a free service that runs along Brisbane River from North Quay to Sydney Street every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight, seven days a week. Freshen up your angles and renew your love of the place with a lazy trip aboard. (For more timetable and journey info, check out ferry timetables or TransLink).
When you’re a local it’s easy to forget how fantastic the city’s culinary scene is, and though South Bank’s River Quay and Eagle St Pier areas might lure in fly by nighters in droves, these vibrant gastronomic precincts were built for you to indulge in them as much as anyone else. Take in the gorgeous riverfront views of one of River Quay’s luxe dining options: Cove Bar and Dining, Aquitaine, Popolo, and The Jetty; or one of the Eagle Pier’s 15 awesome restaurants and bars. Plus, you can score discounted parking right here.
There’s always a new angle and fresh flavour to be found in Brisneyland. Let RACQ help you get amongst it, with stellar member discounts on many of the area’s top attractions and eateries. Find out more here.
Not an RACQ member? Join the club with RACQ Lifestyle for only $26 and start saving!
Cam Hassard is an international penman, sax-wielder and rogue wayfarer who writes for Junkee, Carryology, Huckberry, Caddie, Fairfax Media, Carryology, Intrepid, Peregrine Adventures and Europe Up Close. He’s eaten ant salad in Laos, hauled trucks from NYC to Vegas, and destroyed himself on the Camino de Santiago. Originally from Melbourne, he currently calls Berlin home.