A bite-sized guide to Brisbane

A hotel that embraces the BrisVegas moniker, the city's burgeoning cultural precinct, and laneway culinary haunts - this is our mini travel guide to the Queensland capital.

By Sarah Bristow
Brisbane River and Brisbane's skyline.

Where to stay

Rather than shy away from the BrisVegas nickname cast on the capital of the Sunshine State, the W Brisbane has unabashedly embraced it. The first of the W Hotel series to open in Australia since W Sydney closed its doors more than a decade ago, the Queensland incarnation, which nuzzles the Brisbane River in the CBD, has upheld the group's reputation for quirk and colour.
An eclectic concoction of sweeping water views, Australiana paraphernalia and a psychedelic colour palette welcomes guests to each of the 312 rooms (including 32 luxury suites) – think oversized pineapples, neon lighting, and fixtures plucked from traditional Queenslander homes.
An army of facilities will further tempt you to linger a while, from the spa and gym to an outdoor pool, nestled next to the all-important WET Deck bar. It's certainly tongue-in-cheek, but this vivacious addition is as vibrant and sunny as its new hometown, and (refreshingly) doesn't take itself too seriously.
W Brisbane's Extreme Wow Suite overlooks the city. Photo: Ralph Tooten

What to do

With Brisbane's burgeoning cultural precinct just a short stroll away, take advantage of the W's handy location and head for the Victoria Bridge, towards the cluster of buildings that houses the creative pursuits of the River City. On the south side of the river, among a gaggle of theatres and museums, you'll find the creative power couple, QAGOMA. Consisting of the Queensland Art Gallery and the celebrated Gallery of Modern Art, the duo offers a number of compelling exhibitions.
Get better acquainted with Brisbane's most famous resident – the river – with a ride aboard one of the 22-strong fleet of high-speed CityCats transporting residents from one bank to the next. Commence your cruise from the city terminal (one sits just outside the W Brisbane), winding your way around the waterway's famous curves until you greet the iconic New Farm Park. Make like the locals and spend a leisurely day picnicking on the grass in the rose garden, while snacking on treats gathered at the Saturday morning markets, held at the nearby Brisbane Powerhouse.
Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland

Where to eat

While café-heavy West End sits just across the river, you don't need to leave the grounds of the W Brisbane for your morning meal. The hotel is home to the first Queensland outpost from the Three Blue Ducks family, which caters to the morning crowd on weekends. A local twist on laidback breakfast fare forms the bulk of the menu, including a sumptuous spanner crab scramble topped with papaya and bean shoot salad.
A treasure trove of fresh eats await at Fish Lane, a revamped laneway opposite the Queensland Museum. Relaxed eateries sit alongside bars and a pub, with more additions set to open soon. Among them, Town Square is expected to arrive – a Richards & Spence-designed public space bursting with new venues, including the Chinese-centric Southside and the casual Kiki – from the group behind Rick Shores on the Gold Coast.
Make wine and snacks the order of the night in South Brisbane, where you'll find a number of intimate wine bars in and around Fish Lane. Long-time resident La Lune Wine Co is always worth a visit, as is the more recent arrival, Maeve Wine, which sits in a 90-year-old heritage building and serves up European-inspired small plates alongside a dynamic selection of wines from small producers around the world.