A local’s guide to South Bank

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After living in Brisbane for almost a decade, I would love to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve discovered in my favourite part of the city, South Bank. I’ve got to warn you though, this day is packed full with things to do, so I would recommend starting your day early.


Welcome to South Bank! Many would say South Bank is Brisbane’s heart & soul, filled with excitement around every corner and chock full of places that are only waiting to be discovered. No morning is complete without a good breakfast and lucky for you, there is an amazing full buffet breakfast option right here at the hotel. The full buffet breakfast at Novotel Brisbane South Bank impresses with ‘Eggs cooked your way’, fresh bircher muesli & fruits, an extensive hot breakfast section as well as barista made coffees to start your day in the best way possible. After breakfast, step outside into Brisbane’s semi tropical weather and make your way to the South Bank Parklands, bypassing the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Take a moment though to admire the huge man-made waterfall running along the side of the complex.


Soon you will find yourself on Grey Street, South Bank’s main street. Grey Street comes alive at night with dozens of diverse restaurants luring you in to dine and discover cuisines from all over the world. When following straight ahead towards the Brisbane river you will also discover Little Stanley Street, which is just a little version of Grey Street. Here’s where your eyes will land on the beautiful Bougainvillea Archways ahead signalling that you are close to reaching your destination. The Archway is a vertical garden adorned with beautiful magenta Bougainvillea blooming almost all year and provides a pedestrian way, running the entire length of the South Bank Parklands. Once you have reached the iconic Wheel of Brisbane, hop into one of their 42 gondolas and see Brisbane from 60 metres above the river below. Its magnificent views will give you a great understanding of the river city.


Following your adventure in the air, you can either choose to explore the exhibitions and shows at the Queensland Museum or at the Gallery of Modern Art. While you are in Brisbane’s cultural forecourt, and after you’ve snapped a photo with the iconic ‘Brisbane’ sign, take the time to discover if the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is playing any shows that you would enjoy watching in the evening.


South Bank is also a great vantage point to admire our city’s skyline from. The many skyscrapers provide a great photo backdrop in the evening, a great time to capture all of your favourite memories. Now it’s time to enjoy a coffee at one of Brisbane’s most unique cafes: The Goodwill Bridge Café. Located right in the center of the Goodwill Bridge, this “Local’s Favourite” offers sparkling views of the Brisbane River in every direction. Alternatively, check out Brisbane’s Street’s Beach, a glistening blue oasis in the middle of the city. Complete with real white sand, palm trees and plenty of sunshine you are invited to relax, read a good book and enjoy the cool of the water. If you’ve planned it well, grab a bite to eat at the South Bank Collective Markets. These markets are on every Friday – Sunday and are a beautiful opportunity to organise any gifts for loved ones. Find locally made artwork, clothing and all-round artisanship as well as delicious food stalls and live music.


After spending all morning beside the Brisbane River, it is now time to take a ride on a City Hopper. This free, small ferry offers great views of the Brisbane River and takes you from New Farm Park to the Brisbane CBD and back, as it is running in a constant loop. Feel the wind in your hair and sit back while enjoying a ride past the City Botanical Gardens, the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and underneath Brisbane’s Story Bridge.


Once you are back in South Bank, take the time to unwind from your very eventful day with a pre-dinner drink somewhere. Spice Central Kitchen & Bar at the Novotel Brisbane South Bank offers an exciting cocktail menu, many are infused with spices from all around the world and the open plan ambiance really makes the perfect destination to get ready for the night ahead.


It is up to you if you would like to stay at Spice Central and keep exploring the world’s spice market’s over a delicious dinner or visit some of the nearby West End restaurants like Nostimo at the Greek Club, just across the street from Musgrave Park, which offers authentic Greek food and a Mediterranean atmosphere. You have to try their Pork Belly Baklava and their Saganakis.


One of my favourite things to do after dinner in South Bank is wandering through its many laneways and admiring the street art on every corner, like in Fish Lane. If you do feel like creating art yourself, you will most likely find yourself in Cork & Chroma’s South Bank studio. Paint while sipping wine and re-discover your inner Picasso. Classes are on every weekday at 7pm, with earlier afternoon classes on the weekends.

What a day! I sincerely hope you enjoyed your day in South Bank and are falling into your bed tired but happy. Novotel Brisbane South Bank’s central South Bank location makes it the perfect base to explore all that Brisbane’s premier cultural and lifestyle district has to offer. Enjoy an amazing full buffet breakfast and modern rooms with both a City & Park View option. View all accommodation offers here. Thank you for taking this tour with me and I hope I will see you soon in South Bank!