Spring flings

Queens­land’s cap­i­tal of­fers up lots to do this sea­son

Life & Style Weekend - - TRAVEL - With Ann Rickard

IFIRST vis­ited Bris­bane in 1988, up from Mel­bourne for Expo 88, a lively in­tro­duc­tion to the city. Al­though Bris­bane was awash with the bon­homie of thou­sands of peo­ple em­brac­ing Expo 88, it was still re­garded as a large coun­try town by us snooty (and silly) Mel­bourne folk. My, how things have changed.

Bris­bane’s ex­cit­ing and on­go­ing nar­ra­tive surely lifts the hearts of all who live there and no doubt causes a glim­mer of envy in those who do not.

Now Bris­bane is more than a wor­thy com­peti­tor to its south­ern coun­ter­parts when it comes to din­ing, ac­tiv­i­ties, events, fes­ti­vals and the­atre.

Ev­ery day brings some­thing new in the city: one more glam restau­rant open­ing, an­other ex­clu­sive art ex­hi­bi­tion, a sparkling ho­tel re­furb, the­atre by the bucket load, emerg­ing trendy laneways, vi­brant mar­kets … the story de­vel­ops daily.

With the ar­rival of spring comes a line-up of events and cel­e­bra­tions in Bris­bane, and Ry­dges Ho­tel at South Bank is an ex­cel­lent place to base your­self for a foray into it all.

You are steps away from GoMA, the State Li­brary, and the Queens­land Per­form­ing Arts Com­plex. You are sur­rounded by restau­rants, bars and cafes and have that thing rare in many large cities, open green spa­ces, even a sandy beach.

A stroll out­side Ry­dges’ door will ease you into the vi­brant river bank, or a lit­tle longer walk will take you to all the fun of West End.

To launch a $30 mil­lion re­design, Ry­dges has an­nounced two ex­cel­lent stay pack­ages: the Show­stop­per Pack­age and the City Lights Pack­age, per­fect tim­ing for the spring and sum­mer days ahead.

Ry­dges is ul­tra-luxe, and with its renowned Bac­chus Restau­rant and en­er­getic Soleil Pool Bar you might not want to take your taste­buds out fur­ther. But if you do, arm your­self with a copy of the newly pub­lished food guide Dish, edited by celebrity chef Matt Mo­ran. Dish gives the low-down on all things ed­i­ble, from fine-din­ing restau­rants to cof­fee hide­aways, hid­den gems, laneway feasts and cafe pop-ups.

“The Bris­bane City din­ing scene has def­i­nitely shifted up a gear and just keeps on get­ting bet­ter,” Matt Mo­ran said.

A high­light on the Bris­bane event scene was the stun­ning cabaret-style show Blanc de Blanc, fin­ish­ing to­day, but next up will be the ar­rival of KOOZA in Novem­ber. It is a re­turn to the ori­gins of Cirque du Soleil that com­bines two cir­cus tra­di­tions: ac­ro­bat­ics and clown­ing. The show high­lights the phys­i­cal de­mands of hu­man per­for­mance in all its splen­dour and fragility com­bined with slap­stick hu­mour.

The writer was a guest at Ry­dges Ho­tel South Bank

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

STAY AND PLAY: Blanc de Blanc was one of many great events tak­ing place in dif­fer­ent venues across Bris­bane dur­ing the next few months.

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