South Bank Secrets
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.
THINGS TO DO
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.
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.
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. 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. Everything at this market is handmade by the stall holders.
WHERE TO EAT
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.
Try The Spaghetti House Trattoria if you’re in the mood for traditional Italian favourites served in a stylish but homely space. If you are planning a trip to South Bank, bring your appetite with you!
A trip to The Plough Inn is a must. This family-owned Aussie pub was established in 1864 and is a Brisbane icon. Hang out on the deck, or head to beer garden, where there’s live entertainment seven nights a week. Dine at The Plough Inn’s Steakhouse, which offers traditional pub fare with a modern twist.
Streets Beach at South Bank. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.