48 Hours In Brisbane: Where To Sleep, Eat, Drink And Play On Your Next Weekender

The ultimate staycation for a Sunshine State of mind

Although it’s typically—and, in our opinion, unfairly—dismissed in favour of the flashier Sydney or buzzing Melbourne, Brisbane is one Australian metropolis that’s well and truly deserving of a look in for your next staycation.

A burgeoning hub for travellers seeking sun, culture and style, the Queensland capital has everything its sister cities have to offer, from beautiful views to delicious food and beyond—without the frenetic pace many of us are looking to escape.

Moreover, you don’t need to spend a long time in Brisbane to have a good time, cementing it as an excellent candidate for a mini break that delivers on all fronts. And to help you out, we’ve done the hard work of heading over there to handpick the best places to eat, drink, sleep and play to make planning your Brisbane weekender a breeze. Read on to see it all.

STAY: W Brisbane

Serving up sweeping panoramic views of the Brisbane River, it doesn’t get much better than the W Brisbane when it comes to choosing a staycation location in the Sunshine State capital. Brimming with eclectic art, elegant architectural curves and eye-catching interiors, it’s an urban oasis that offers up world class hospitality with a uniquely Australian riff. It’s also ideal for those whose idea of a holiday involves staying put in one place and having everything at your fingertips, think: delicious in-room dining, vibrant bars and restaurants, spacious tubs for indulgent soaks, relaxing spa treatments and an incredibly Instagrammable pool. Honestly, with amenities like these, you might not venture out at all (and we wouldn’t blame you).   

Make a reservation here

W Brisbane
(Credit: W Brisbane)
W Brisbane
(Credit: W Brisbane)
W Brisbane pool
(Credit: W Brisbane)

BRUNCH: Three Blue Ducks

If you do get a tad peckish and find yourself following your morning hunger pangs, it will likely lead you to the beloved Australian culinary institution that is Three Blue Ducks—which, fortunately for your starving stomach, is located within the W Brisbane. Offering the picturesque backdrop of South Bank as you dine, the restaurant chain’s famous farm-to-table philosophy very much underpins the menu, with an emphasis on local produce, laid-back ambience, and familiar foods tweaked with a bold twist. A personal favourite? Consider the kingfish ‘pastrami’ atop sourdough toast with a heaped smearing of sweet potato hummus, a side of house pickles, poached eggs and za’atar if you’re after something a little different with a lot of flavour.

See the menu here and make a reservation here

Three Blue Ducks Brisbane
(Credit: Three Blue Ducks)

VISIT: James St, Fortitude Valley

A veritable haven of upscale boutiques, cosy eateries and lively bars, James St in Brisbane’s hip Fortitude Valley is a mecca for the epicurean at heart. Boasting a mélange of local and international designer flagship stores, including Gail Sorronda, Scanlan Theodore, Silk Laundry and Camilla and Marcamong many others—luxury-inclined shoppers are especially spoilt for choice. For a literal one-stop shop, be sure to pay a visit to Calexico (pictured below), an icon of the Brisbane fashion scene that stocks clothing and accessories from over 100 international designers, such as Isabel Marant and Ulla Johnson.

More about James St here

Calexico boutique in James St, Brisbane
(Credit: Calexico Boutique in James St)

VISIT: Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery Of Modern Art (QAGOMA)

If an afternoon spent amongst art is more up your alley, you’ll find your heart’s content right on the river. Although ‘siblings’ of sorts, with both housing a globally significant collection of contemporary art from Australia and around the world, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art have distinct personalities and feature different rotations of renowned local and international exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. Once you’ve had your fill of wandering? Head to the gallery shops brimming with art books and cultural curios to find a take-home treasure. If you find yourself in need of a little rest before returning to the hotel, the galleries’ art-inspired alfresco cafes and award-winning restaurant offer great respite for weary legs, hungry bellies and stimulating discussion.

More about QAGOMA here

Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art
(Credit: Queensland Art Gallery)

VISIT: Away Spa at W Brisbane

For those inclined to unwind in style, the Away Spa, once again conveniently located within the W Brisbane, is at your blissful beck and call. Their curated menu offers treatments that focus on ‘inner’, ‘outer’ and ‘after’ glow, running the gamut from revitalising gemstone massages to rejuvenating body scrubs and so much more. Fair warning: the place is very popular with locals and visitors alike, so be sure to make a booking well ahead of your trip to ensure you won’t miss out.

See the spa menu and make a reservation here

Away Spa at W Brisbane
(Credit: Away Spa at W Brisbane)

DINNER: ZA ZA TA Bar & Kitchen

Transporting you to Tel Aviv from the heart of Fortitude Valley, ZA ZA TA is a soulful feast for all five senses. Inspired by the Israeli city’s bustling bar scene, its kaleidoscopic interiors and funky music create the ultimate after-hours ambience, while the menu, a vegetarian-only blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist, takes you on a flavourful journey from your first artisinal cocktail through to dessert. Not to be missed? Their chili haloumi savoury doughnuts with pomegranate and chili jam. Thank us later.

Make a reservation here

ZA ZA TA Bar and Kitchen
(Credit: ZA ZA TA Bar & Kitchen) (Credit: ZA ZA TA Bar & Kitchen)
(Credit: ZA ZA TA Bar & Kitchen) (Credit: ZA ZA TA Bar & Kitchen)

DRINK: Living Room Bar

Perfect for a pre- or post-dinner tipple, the Living Room Bar inside the W Brisbane has your evening aperitif covered. From the moment you step inside, the bar staff are warm and inviting, and particularly adept at preparing personalised cocktails that are guaranteed to please your palate if you’re in the mood to be surprised. And if you fancy a nibble with your bespoke beverage, their delectable menu of charcuterie and indulgent takes on classic comfort foodsthink gourmet toasties and truffle friesare sure to hit the spot.

See the menu and make a reservation here

Living Room Bar at the W Brisbane
(Credit: Living Room Bar)
Living Room Bar at W Brisbane food
(Credit: Living Room Bar)

DRINK: Wet Deck

Bask in Brisbane’s eternal summer with a curated cocktail or two on the Wet Deck, a bar located right next to the W Brisbane’s picturesque poolside (we did say you wouldn’t even need to venture outside!). The place to be as the sun goes down, the terrace’s relaxing lounges and spacious settees ensure every drink comes with a spectacular riverside view, while the live DJ spinning tunes and mouth-watering menu means both your ears and your appetite will be more than satisfied.

See the menu and make a reservation here

Wet Deck at W Brisbane
(Credit: Wet Deck)
Wet Deck at W Brisbane
(Credit: Wet Deck)

You can find more information on any of the above locations and activities at Visit Brisbane.

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