Some say Brisbane is at its best during spring. The days are warm, the air smells good and there’s no shortage of sunshine – or things to do. Here’s our pick of the seven best ways to pass the time this month in Queensland’s sunny capital.
#1 Bask in the Brisbane Festival
The Brisbane Festival’s annual celebration of arts and culture returns from September 5-26 with a full calendar of music, theatre, opera, dance, circus performances and more. Among the highlights are Velvet, the celebration of disco starring Marcia Hines and Brendan Maclean, Megan Washington at the Spiegeltent, and a showcase for independent radio station 4ZZZ including live shows from Screamfeeder, Ed Kuepper, Jeremy Neale, and Ups And Downs. La Boite are transforming the Roundhouse theatre into a boxing ring for Prize Fighter and Arcadia adds 3D chalk art, four bars, and up to 10 food trucks to the Cultural Forecourt.
#2 Take a daytrip to Timezone
Sure, you could go to the Gold Coast for the beaches. But you could also go because Surfers Paradise has the largest Timezone Family Entertainment Centre in the entire world. Spread over 5000 square metres, as well as the arcade games you’d expect – from classics likePac-Man to modern creations like The Walking Dead Pinball – they have bumper cars, laser skirmish, rollercoaster simulators, a six-lane bowling alley, and a mini-golf course with a full 18 holes. And it’s on the same street as the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum and odditorium, with its magic mirror and “mystery couch”. OK, yes, there are beaches nearby as well.
#3 Pen pals
This year’s Brisbane Writer’s Festival is being headlined by Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare At Goats and So, You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. While its overstuffed program of panels, Q&As, and talks is centred on the State Library and GOMA in South Bank’s Cultural Precinct, events will also take place across Brisbane’s libraries and beyond. Sophie Hannah, who revived Agatha Christie’s Poirot in The Monogram Murders, will host an event at Newstead House for which visitors are “encouraged to don pearls and feathers” while cartoonist First Dog On The Moon will talk Tasmanian whisky at Gresham Bar. The Brisbane Writer’s Festival runs from September 2-6.
#4 A nice dose of Nordic culture
The Scandinavian Festival takes over Austin Street on Sunday September 13 and although Vikings will be present it promises to be a peaceful takeover. Market stalls will feature delicacies with a lot of pastry on offer, like bullar (a Swedish cinnamon bun), æbleskiver (Danish pancakes), Karelian pasties from Finland and more. It’s a smorgasbord, or as they say in Sweden where they invented it, a smörgåsbord. As well as traditional dancing and music there will be a play centre for kids filled with the most famous invention of the Vikings: LEGO.
#5 Celebrate Pride
Brisbane’s LGBTIQ community has come together for the Brisbane Pride Festival every year since 1990. As well as the 255th annual rally, this year’s events will include a fundraising Pink Pub Prowl taking in six bars over six hours on Sunday September 6, and the Pride Festival Fair Day at New Farm Park on Saturday September 19, during which Mr and Ms Pride Festival will be chosen. There’s also a pet parade and the Queer Beer tent to visit.
#6 Baby you’re a firework
Every year Brisbanites demonstrate how much we love our river by setting it on fire. Just kidding, Riverfire is the fireworks night that heralds the end of the Brisbane Festival and brings every family in the city to parks along the riverbank to watch and complain about how they don’t have the F-111 jets doing an explosive fuel dump and burn over the city any more. While the massive crowds, raised restaurant prices, and confiscation of open water bottles at South Bank have turned some locals into Riverfire cynics, anywhere you can get a good view of the Story Bridge as it’s lit up will still be a good time. That’s on Saturday September 26.
#7 Visit Death Valley
Everybody knows by now about the Southside Tea Room, a cafe in suburban Morningside owned and run by members of indie rock band The Grates, but less well-known is the fact that they’ve just opened a pub next door. The Death Valley Bar has ten specialty beers on tap (including one created by a collaboration between the owners and Mountain Goat Brewery called Watermelon Collie And The Infinite Radness) and the Red Robin Supper Truck sets up out back. Death Valley Bar is at 639B Wynnum Road and is open Wednesday through Sunday.
(Lead image: Brisbane Festival/Facebook)
Jody has written for The Big Issue, Brisbane Times, and Rock Paper Shotgun. He is currently planning a trip to South Korea, where he will enjoy rich cultural traditions like K-pop and very fast wi-fi.