The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - FEA­TURE - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN The writer was a guest of Oaks Fes­ti­val Tow­ers and Bris­bane Fes­ti­val

Spring has sprung and in Bris­bane that means lots of colour. From bloom­ing jacaran­das to sunny days that are warm, but not too warm, the sparkling frocks of Priscilla the mu­si­cal and the an­nual River­fire, Queens­land’s cap­i­tal boldly breaks free of the win­ter blues. For three weeks in Septem­ber, South Bank cul­tural precinct be­comes a hive of ac­tiv­ity for Bris­bane Fes­ti­val.

Fea­tur­ing a mix of free and tick­eted events over­lap­ping with the school hol­i­days, the fes­ti­val has some­thing for all ages and tastes.

Trea­sury Bris­bane Arcadia is the cen­tral hub and its crown­ing jewel is the River of Light — The Story of Mai­war wa­ter foun­tain, light and laser spec­tac­u­lar.

The free show, which takes place daily at 6.30pm, 8pm and 9.30pm, uses wa­ter jets and lights to tell the tra­di­tional story of the dream­ing ser­pent that cre­ated the river that is the lifeblood of the city.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion of Or­a­cle Liq­uid and the Nunukul Yug­gera Abo­rig­i­nal Dance Com­pany, the dis­play is a vis­ual marvel.

The nearby Courier Mail Spiegel­tent is home to saucy cabaret shows in­clud­ing LIFE. The cre­atives be­hind Blanc de Blanc and

Limbo Un­hinged de­liver a night of the­atri­cal anar­chy themed around life’s mile­stones.

LIFE is a some­what chaotic, adults-only mix of clown­ing, ac­ro­bat­ics, dance and live mu­sic cour­tesy of a band led by jazz vo­cal­ist Fan­tine and sax­o­phon­ist Blaise Garza.

The Spiegel­tent’s the­atre-in-the-round ex­pe­ri­ence means there’s no bad seat in the house. You’re close enough to see ev­ery mus­cle as an ac­ro­bat swings from the rafters and to ap­pre­ci­ate the sub­tle de­tails of Goos Meeuwsen’s (of Cirque du Soleil fame) phys­i­cal com­edy.

A short walk along the river brings me to Stoke­bar Q, an open-air restau­rant and bar with stun­ning views of the city sky­line across the Bris­bane River.

Si­t­u­ated just far enough away from the fes­ti­val frenzy, it’s a peace­ful spot to en­joy a few nib­bles from the hand and fork menu and one of the sig­na­ture cock­tails ei­ther be­fore or af­ter a visit to Arcadia.

Com­bin­ing botan­i­cal vodka with thyme, cu­cum­ber and lemon oil, the Dia­mantina cock­tail is a re­fresh­ing part­ner to the grilled haloumi with burnt honey and fresh mint.

Back at Arcadia, the House of Mir­rors is a mind-bend­ing labyrinth of seem­ingly end­less mir­rors. The gi­ant walk-through ex­pe­ri­ence is one of sev­eral in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tions that chal­lenge the senses. The Bris­bane Pow­er­house is an­other cul­tural hub worth vis­it­ing dur­ing a Bris­bane stay. Si­t­u­ated in the leafy river­side sub­urb of New Farm, the power sta­tion is now an arts cen­tre host­ing more than 1000 per­for­mances and events each year. It’s cur­rently show­ing the Wildlife

Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year ex­hi­bi­tion. Boast­ing 100 im­ages across six cat­e­gories, the free ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures in­ti­mate and awein­spir­ing shots.

Act­ing as a win­dow into the nat­u­ral world, they range from cute clown­fish and frogs to fierce preda­tors and re­mote land­scapes.

I wrap up my week­end with a long lunch at Black­bird Bar & Grill at Ea­gle Street Pier.

This eatery boasts yet an­other stun­ning view of the Bris­bane River, this time of the Story Bridge.

If you love surf and turf then you’ll be in sev­enth heaven here.

The seafood plat­ter show­cases the best seafood south­east Queens­land has to of­fer, from Mooloolaba prawns to More­ton Bay bugs and Her­vey Bay scal­lops.

The im­pres­sive steak menu boasts black an­gus, wagyu and short­horn, all of which are cooked on the restau­rant’s In­ferno 96 wood­fired grill im­ported from the US.

If you’re af­ter some­thing even richer, there’s a young spring vegetable salad dressed with an olive oil con­tain­ing 24K pure gold.


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