Things to do in Brisbane when you're [at a conference]
June 25, 2006 8:15 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any tales of joy—or woe—concerning hotel accommodation in Brisbane? And what might I do while I'm there?

I'll be heading to Brisbane next month, and, typically, have left all my accommodation planning to the last minute. Can anyone recommend some decent hotel accommodation in (or walking distance from) the CBD? (By decent, I'm thinking quiet, comfortable, and reasonably priced, although, of course, plush, amazing, and under $AUD150.00 per night would be good as well!) Is there anywhere I should really just avoid?

I'm going to be conferencing most of the time I'm there, but I'd also really appreciate any tips on restaurants, cafes, day spas, CDs, and secondhand books that anyone might have. Thanks!
posted by Sonny Jim to Travel & Transportation around Brisbane, Australia (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I honeymooned in Australia and spent one night in Brisbane. I don't remember the hotel or anything much about the city, but I do remember the reason I arranged to spend a night there and here it is. It's a bus ride, not a walk, from downtown but if you have any desire to spend an afternoon feeding and interacting with kangaroos, dingoes and other Aussie wildlife, and even holding a koala, do not miss this place. It's once in a lifetime.
posted by The Bellman at 8:22 PM on June 25, 2006

Depends what you want to do. It's not the most exciting city in the world, but parts of it are very beautiful. Off the top of my head, you could:

- go shopping or grab a feed along the Queen Street Mall in the city;
- try out Fortitude Valley on a Friday or Saturday night. It's the nightlife district on the southern edge of the city full of bars, clubs, restaruants etc.
- catch a game of rugby-league or aussie rules football at the nearby stadiums (Suncorp Stadium for rugby-league, the Gabba for aussie rules);
- grab a great feed at the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel, just south of the city;
- stroll around Southbank Parklands (on the other side of the river from the city), or the Botanical Gardens (city centre);
- take a ride up and down the river on the City Cat;
- drive around the scenic western suburbs, up to the top of Mt Coot-tha;
- try out one of the big suburban pubs;
- take a day trip south to the Gold Coast or north to the Sunshine Coast. The Gold Coast is more touristy/commercial and has a heap of big theme parks (Dream World, Sea World, Wet 'n Wild, Movie World). Both places are around an hour away.

As for hotels, nothing beats the Stamford Plaza in the city, especially if you get a good view of the river and the Story Bridge.
posted by Jase_B at 9:07 PM on June 25, 2006

Check out the city council site here - it has an accomodation guide which, being a local, looks pretty good to me. The city itself is not that big - 10~20 minute walk across - so any place that says they're in / adjacent to the city should suit your criteria.

You could look at places around Southbank / South Brisbane, a quick ferry ride or 5~10 minute walk from the city - Rydges comes to mind but (a) is likely over $150, and (b) there's a lot of work going on around there at the moment.

For under $150, you're not going to find much in the city itself (though the old Explorer's Inn & Hotel George come to mind - both nice old places, if a little small). Best bet for a quiet-ish place under $150 would be around Spring Hill, preferably along Wickham Tce (somewhere like the old Astor, maybe?). That area is ~5 minute walk (downhill!) from the city itself.

There's a few places down along Alice St, near the Botanical Gardens, though I suspect they'd be way out of your price range ;-)

What to do? Hell, I don't know, I only live here ;-) Your profile doesn't give too much away. Most of the touristy things - wildlife / theme parks and other tourist traps - are an hour or more drive away, well outside the city. Things like day spas are generally out there too, mostly in the mountains down towards the Gold Coast (Mt. Tambourine, etc). There's the usual plethora of restaurants and coffee shops / cafes in the city, though a surprising lack of decent CD & second-hand book shops.

Wander around the city centre, peer into the oldest-looking arcades you can find, and I'm sure you'll find something interesting...
posted by Pinback at 9:11 PM on June 25, 2006

on preview:
Jase_B : the Breakfast Creek Hotel, south of the city? My Northsider heritage is ashamed of you ;-)

It's also over-rated, in my opinion, though I haven't been there in years. They do/did good steaks though...
posted by Pinback at 9:17 PM on June 25, 2006

Why, welcome to Brisvegas! Where abouts are you conferencing? The convention centre? Or a hotel in the CBD?

For books: you might like to check out The Archives in Elizabeth Street, in the CBD, for second hand books. It's apparently Australia's biggest second hand bookstore. I didn't know that, but it's a bit of a Brisbane institution and well worth a look-see.

Or there's Bent Books at West End. And you might like Avid Reader too - new books, but super cool. They're both on Boundary St - about 10 mins walk from the Convention Centre or 10 mins bus ride from the city.

For restaurants and cafes: go to Southbank – especially along Grey Street. It's right next to the Convention Centre. West End has lots more restaurants and cafes.

New Farm is well worth a look too. Catch the City Cat down the river from the city or South Bank to New Farm Park. Stop in at the Power House and see what’s on, have some chips at Watt on the river…

Loads more foods in The Valley (Fortitude Valley) as well - especially in China Town... mmm. Try The Vietnamese restaurant on Whickham St. Yummo. Or Kuan Yin? Also on Wickham.

For CDs have a look at Rocking Horse in town - it's on Albert St.

To find your way to any or all of these, try and/or the WhitePages. Oh, and Brisbvegas public transport stuff.

One more thing! If you're looking to find out what's on in the time you'll be here, try the events guides in OurBrisbane, or CitySearch.
posted by t0astie at 9:32 PM on June 25, 2006

Best place to find cheap accom -- And -- what the others said ;)
If you're in town for a bit, it's probably worth hiring a bicycle and going for a ride -- best way to see the city, IMHO. Lots of bike tracks down by the river, and if you've got time you can even take the train out to Redcliffe and cycle around the bayside. Very pretty.
posted by coriolisdave at 11:28 PM on June 25, 2006

the Breakfast Creek Hotel, south of the city? My Northsider heritage is ashamed of you ;-)

It's the nightlife district on the southern edge of the city full of bars, clubs, restaruants etc.

Oh man I'm getting my north-souths mixed up today!
posted by Jase_B at 12:26 AM on June 26, 2006

I've always like the Inchcolm hotel in the city. You can get a room with a queen bed for @ $AUD153.00 on special. Definitely request one of the original rooms (it used to be a doctor's surgery and the old rooms are wonderful). There's even one of those cage elevators in the middle of the staircase.

It also has one of the best restaurants in town, Armstrongs.
posted by qwip at 5:13 AM on June 26, 2006

Thanks, everyone! A booking has been made, and Mrs. SJ has decreed that there will be koala hugging at some point during our stay.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:28 AM on June 27, 2006

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