South Bank Se­crets

Where Gold Coast - - Shopping Brisbane - By Tiana Tem­ple­man

IT IS EARLY evening at South Bank and things are hot­ting up. The sound of peo­ple hav­ing fun min­gles with soft jazz from a nearby restau­rant and the heady scent of frangi­pani fills the air. El­e­gant fash­ion­istas share the streets with tourists wear­ing t-shirts and there is no cut-off age limit for en­joy­ing a night out.

South Bank has an ex­cite­ment all its own and some of the best shop­ping, drink­ing, din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment op­tions in Bris­bane. With charm­ing mar­kets, ex­cel­lent restau­rants, al­fresco bars and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties ga­lore, there has never been a bet­ter time to visit.


South Bank is well known for its swim­ming la­goon Streets Beach, but there are plenty of al­ter­na­tive ac­tiv­i­ties for those who pre­fer to stay dry.

The Gallery of Mod­ern Art, or GOMA as it is af­fec­tion­ately known, has an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for host­ing ex­hi­bi­tions that are the envy of other gal­leries with the likes of Pi­casso, Matisse and Warhol draw­ing record crowds.

Cul­ture afi­ciona­dos can also ex­plore the more tra­di­tional Queens­land Art Gallery or the Queens­land Mu­seum and Scien­cen­tre which con­tin­ues to evolve with the ad­di­tion of high-tech in­stal­la­tions. The lat­ter is a big hit with kids of all ages.

Across the road at South Bank Park­lands you can take to the sky on The Wheel of Bris­bane, a giant ob­ser­va­tion wheel which takes you high above the city. If you would pre­fer to take to the wa­ter, River City Cruises of­fer a range of re­lax­ing tours which in­clude a hop-off op­tion so you can ex­plore fur­ther afield.

An­other pop­u­lar at­trac­tion with a mar­itime theme can be found at the south­ern end of the Park­lands. The Queens­land Mar­itime Mu­seum houses his­tor­i­cal mar­itime arte­facts, pho­to­graphs and paint­ings in its col­lec­tion, along­side nu­mer­ous ves­sels which you can ex­plore, such as the World War II frigate HMAS

Dia­mantina and the pow­er­ful steam tug Force­ful. It is a hands-on mu­seum run by pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers, many of whom are re­tired ship masters, ma­rine en­gi­neers and ex-naval per­son­nel.


South Bank is home to a num­ber of eclec­tic cre­ative mar­kets. If you have an ap­petite for the un­usual and like to browse, visit the Col­lec­tive Mar­kets, which take place on Fri­days at the Stan­ley Street Plaza from 5pm to 9pm, Satur­days from 10am to 9pm and Sun­days from 9am to 4pm. Here you can pick up hand­made fash­ion, vin­tage col­lectibles, jew­ellery, home­wares and fur­ni­ture at af­ford­able prices.

Lit­tle Stan­ley Street plays host to the Young De­sign­ers Mar­ket on the first Sun­day of every month from 10am to 4pm. Ev­ery­thing at this mar­ket is hand­made by the stall hold­ers. For many of these cre­ative en­trepreneurs, show­ing at the mar­ket is the first step to­wards the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of their de­signs so you will also be help­ing a tal­ented up-and-comer get a head start in the in­dus­try. Chat­ting to the creators is one of the plea­sures of shop­ping at this colour­ful mar­ket.


South Bank has a daz­zling se­lec­tion of restau­rants and cafés, many of which cap­i­talise on Queens­land’s love of out­door din­ing. South Bank Surf Club over­looks the famous swim­ming la­goon and gives an in­ner-city twist to the tra­di­tional Aussie surf club. It is a great spot for a drink and a bite to eat on a sunny af­ter­noon.

Along­side the river there is River Quay, a col­lec­tion of sleek din­ing op­tions rang­ing from cham­pagne break­fasts at River Quay Fish to rus­tic Ital­ian share plates at Popolo and the steak­house so­phis­ti­ca­tion of Stoke­house Q. Fresh seafood, home-style favourites and an In­done­sian in­flu­ence can be found at The Jetty, while Fran­cophiles will ap­pre­ci­ate Aquitaine Brasserie, a charm­ing al­fresco diner of­fer­ing a de­li­cious taste of France with clas­sic dishes such as Mar­seille bouil­l­abaisse.

Nearby Grey Street of­fers an equally im­pres­sive choice of din­ing op­tions. The vibe here tends to be more lively, es­pe­cially at Olé, a Span­ish restau­rant with a ded­i­cated san­gria bar. Share plates are a fea­ture here mak­ing this a great spot to visit with col­leagues or friends.

Try The Spaghetti House Trat­to­ria if you’re in the mood for tra­di­tional Ital­ian favourites served in a stylish but homely space. Ah­met’s is the place to go for Turk­ish cui­sine while Torba Restau­rant & Lounge of­fers a con­tem­po­rary take on Rus­sia’s ex­otic op­u­lence with vel­vet drapes, glit­ter­ing chan­de­liers and a sul­try pur­ple colour scheme. Try a se­lec­tion of Euro­pean wines and a va­ri­ety of Rus­sian vod­kas and vodka-based cock­tails, such as Kalinka and Balalaika.

If you are plan­ning a trip to South Bank, bring your ap­petite with you!

Pic­nic at River Quay Green, South Bank, Bris­bane. Photo: Tourism Aus­tralia.

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