As both our first and fourth stops on the trip, we ended up spending a total of six nights in Brisbane. On our first four nights we stayed in Brisbane City Backpackers, a hostel on Upper Roma Street which is around a 20 minute walk to the centre. The hostel had its own bar with plenty of seating areas, a cinema room, a pool and free parking. In terms of facilities it was great, but we made the mistake of staying in a 20-bed dorm. Between people getting in late from drinking and getting up early for work, it wasn’t a peaceful place to stay, however I’m sure we would have really liked the hostel should we have stayed in a smaller room.
One important point to note, is that any hostel with a bar will generally ban you bringing your own alcohol on the premises, and that was the case here. However every night they had discount drinks vouchers available, so it wasn’t expensive to have a couple in the evening.
On our second visit we stayed in Gonow Family Backpackers on Vulture Street, near the Southbank area. We chose this one as it was closer to where our activities were for the next day. It seemed like a great hostel to settle in longer term, as it was quieter, allowed you to bring in your own drink (no onsite bar), and was filled with longer term working backpackers. It’s that sort of hostel I’d be interested in staying in should I settle down somewhere later on in the trip. One minor incident though, was that the day before we arrived there had been a shoe theft. Turns out a homeless girl had walked into the hostel, grabbed some shoes and bolted out the door. The next day she attempted it again, and was caught and the police were called, so hopefully it was just an isolated incident (we were assured by our room-mates it was).
In terms of activities in Brisbane, there is plenty to do to keep you occupied. The Botanic Gardens makes for a nice afternoon walk, as is a trip to see the Brisbane sign as pictured above. On both visits we also went to a few museums; the Brisbane Art Gallery and the Museum of Brisbane. Both are free, so worth a visit if you’re looking for something to do. Museum of Brisbane I found really interesting, as it had information on the history of how the city was founded and they also offer a ride up the bell tower where you can see right out across the city. The art gallery is split into two buildings, traditional and modern art. I preferred the modern art personally, but as arty people both Emma and I enjoyed both overall.
Food and shopping options are abundant in Brisbane. Emma and I had both been on a hunt for sketchbooks since arriving in Australia, but had been struggling to find anything appropriate with poor quality paper and boring covers everywhere else we’d checked. We eventually came across a shop called Riot, which to our luck had a 50% sale on every item in store, and this is where we hit jackpot. In terms of clothing, there seemed to be all the popular shops in the UK (H&M, Zara, Topshop) and more, so plenty of choice there.
We ate out a few times in Brisbane, but definitely need to go back again to experience more of the local delicacies. Highlights include a small sushi place called Mamas on Mary Street with delicious Teriyaki salmon and Tofu broth, and a vegan cafe on Browning street that did the best samosa for only $2. Browning street was full of cafes and small restaurants so it would be a good choice for a lunch out.
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