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How to Add Wow to Your Brisbane Escape

From vintage martini bars to chef-hatted restaurants and winery tours by helicopter – these are the most out-of-this-world things to do in Brisbane.

Travel is back with a bang and Brisbane, with its kaleidoscopic cityscape and vibrant culture, is beating the drum for unforgettable experiences. Under an almost constant glow of sunshine, the capital city is a jigsaw of colourful, design-led hotels, food so enticing you’ll be spoilt for choice with where to eat next, and experiences that’ll get the adrenaline pumping and jaw dropping. Don’t simply visit; grab the city by the horns and discover the best, most wow-factor things to do in Brisbane for an escape that rivals all others. 

Ready to explore? Check out our handpicked Queensland escapes

Stay

W Brisbane

If you’re after a statement hotel, look no further than W Brisbane. Punchy colour schemes, eclectic furniture and a signature ‘Whatever/Whenever’ service make a stay here a cut above the rest. In addition to the hotel’s innovative design and impressive service, its unbeatable location along the banks of Brisbane River places you in the heart of it all, with Queen Street Mall and South Brisbane’s culinary scene at your fingertips. For riverside dining you don’t have to travel far for, the Three Blue Ducks signature restaurant on the ground floor serves up nourishing, paddock-to-plate dishes – a must-have dining experience. 

The Inchcolm by Ovolo

Seeking flawless charm and award-winning luxury? The Inchcolm by Ovolo is a winning combination of neo-Georgian design and edgy artwork. The result? A space where sophistication and coolness converge. Revisit the glory days of a bygone era at The Inchcolm Bar, a sultry martini bar bringing back the golden age of bistro dining with timeless classics and a carefully crafted cocktail menu. Indulge during its Signature Martini Hour – held every day between 5.30pm and 6.30pm – which transports you back to a time when famous writers, artists and bohemians would’ve sipped martinis and shared their tales.

Capri by Fraser

Blackfire at Capri by Fraser.

For lush, rainforest-inspired design with the convenience of inner-city living, Capri by Fraser is the design-led hotel dreams are made of. Think lush vertical gardens and contemporary art installations, alongside high-tech facilities and an indoor heated swimming pool. The hotel’s stylish and intimate atmosphere continues through to its award-winning restaurant – Blackfire – which offers Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired fare crafted using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. An extensive wine list with over 50 varieties including a Canberra-based vineyard selection is tempting, while a tasty jug of sangria is hard to beat. Tapas dishes are bites of heaven: crispy pumpkin arancini, tuna tartare and suckling lamb – just to name a few. 

Eat

One Fish Two Fish

One Fish Two Fish. As seen on Luxury Escapes TV.

If there’s one way to ramp up the wow-factor on your escape, it’s through a top-tier seafood restaurant. One Fish Two Fish is an inner-city eatery that prides itself on incredible food and great booze. Whether fresh oysters served with an oak-aged chardonnay mignonette and lemon tickles your fancy, or half a kilo of Mooloolaba banana prawns dipped in a lime aioli (or if you prefer plant-based, there’s even vegan fish and chips on the menu), you’re certain to find a tantalising dish to satisfy your deep sea cravings. We’re hook, line and sinker for this restaurant. 

Elska

Image courtesy of Elska.

A knockout dining experience awaits at Elska. This intimate, 12-seater degustation restaurant in New Farm has been awarded three Chef Hats by the Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) – so you know you’re in for a treat. The menu simultaneously spotlights Australia’s incredible produce and Nordic cooking methods (like fermenting and preserving), all while working closely with local farmers, foragers and producers to create a sustainable experience. The menu is ever-changing and hyper-seasonal, but you can expect mouthwatering courses like golden beetroot with preserved kumquat, whole Coominya quail and preserved cherry.  

Gerard’s Bistro

Tucked away behind James Street is Gerard’s Bistro, a hidden gem that combines the flavours of the Maghreb and the Middle East to create soul-stirring, shareable meals. If there’s one thing to order from the menu, we especially recommend the Westholme Wagyu, served with a pepita tapenade. If choosing is too much a task, opt for a set menu where all the decisions are made for you. Highlights include fresh potato bread dipped into spiced, nutty muhammara, Abrolhos Island scallops cooked in brown butter, and Shirazi salad with Persian feta and sumac. For classic cocktails with a twist, go wild with an Egyptian Peppermint Southside with mint-infused gin, or try a Za’atar Martini with za’atar gin or vodka and Dolin Dry.  

Experience

Helicopter winery tour

Nothing says ‘wow’ quite like a helicopter flight – add a couple of handpicked winery stops and a few glasses of wine, and you’ve got yourself a truly epic experience. Just a short drive from the CBD is Elite Helicopters, where you can embark on your spectacular sky-bound journey. Your helicopter winery tour begins on the ground with pre-flight drinks before setting off to see the dramatic landscape of undulating mountains, glistening rivers, and green vineyards from the air. Each leg of the journey is marked with a different winery visit and wine tasting session. How could this experience possibly get any more ‘wow’? A decadent three-course lunch is the cherry on top. 

Island adventure to Moreton Bay 

For a pocket of paradise not far from Brisbane’s CBD, take an island adventure boat cruise to Moreton Bay, home to humpback whales, strawberry fields and the famous Moreton Bay bugs. Departing from the Northshore Harbour in Cleveland, your sailboat traces the coast towards Moreton Bay, stopping at Horseshoe Bay and Peel Island for fun-in-the-sun moments. Splash about in sparkling clear waters, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, relax on the boat’s aqua net with your favourite holiday read, or take a break from your cruise and venture out to try the local food like freshly picked strawberries at Rolin Farms.  

A heart-racing indoor sky dive

Want to experience the adrenaline rush of sky diving but can’t handle heights? Indoor sky diving may just be the perfect activity for you. At iFLY Brisbane, soar weightlessly above a high-powered wind tunnel and feel the exhilaration of a real skydiving jump, minus the 10,000 feet drop. This thrilling experience is suitable for everyone (ages 3+), making for a unique experience during a family escape. Regardless of expertise, all flyers will receive guidance from highly qualified instructors in a personalised training session.  

It’s time to make travel memories again – so why not add a TravelShoot photoshoot onto your escape to capture the spirit of your adventure? 

Looking for more Brisbane inspiration? Check out our favourites. 

Ready to explore? Check out our handpicked Queensland escapes

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A keen traveller and a margarita enthusiast, Felicia is all about getting to the nitty gritty of each destination she visits and discovering its hidden gems (and then running home to write about it).