You can poke your toes into the water, or you can dive right in. The first five years of living with Brisbane, I poked my toes in, shuddered, and declared that I hated the water. The last year, I threw on my most flamboyant swimming suit, grinned to my friends, grabbed their hands, and jumped in. Yeah, I might of sunk to the bottom for a little while but I’m floating happily now. If I lost you at that analogy, even though me and Brisbane didn’t get along before, we do now! It’s sunshine-y, full of gardens, and is the deliverer of good coffee. Here are my favourite bits:
The Succulent Garden, Mt.Cootha Botanical Gardens
Giant succulents, teetering cacti, and a Nevada-vibe, this prickly section of the Botanical gardens makes me want to get a tan, wear a lot of white, and spend my days making musical montages in the desert. It’s a confusing feeling but it usually passes once the last cacti has left my line of sight. Situated next to the cool geometric dome thingy in the Mt Cootha Botanical gardens, this little squidge of spiky garden is my favourite.
The Tiller, Newmarket
It has to be said that I go on, and on, and on about The Tiller. It’s partially because two of my friends own it and therefore I love shamelessly plugging it for them, but it’s also because I genuinely love the cool ambience, the sprouting lime tree in the corner, and the stream of friendly faces that make up this little shipping container cafe. Also, hands down the best coffee in Brisbane.
Have you ever had one of those days where you want to throttle the next person who utters something along the lines of ‘oh, I have a green smoothie for breakfast every morning’ or ‘I just need to pop into lululemon quickly’. Well, I sometimes have five laminations for breakfast and yesterday I struggled to scrounge for enough coins to buy a $2 scarf at the thrift store, so there! The cure for these potentially murderous days is to take that frustration out into the wilderness. And by wilderness, I mean outer Brisbane. Just 30 mins out of Brisbane, Mt Nebo is a woodsy escape perfect for a deliciously long walk.
The Epicurious Garden, South Bank
There is just something about the little neat lines of sprouting lettuces, tumbling pumpkin vines, and sprigs of fragrant herbs that just make me so calm. If your attempts at a vegetable garden spur results that are a little more ‘plant graveyard’ than ‘lush kitchen garden’, then you can use this South-Bank patch of fruit and veg to play some serious make-believe.
Delicious, heart-shaped gluten free brownies. yum. yum. yum. This candy pink store tucked down Bakery Lane in Fortitude valley dishes up the MOST delicious brownies.
n o o k, West End
GOODBYE all my money (that’s if I had any to start with, I’m a struggling writer yo). This cute store is full of things you don’t need but really, really want. Think: hand made ceramics, multiple things with cute cats on them, illustrations, and teensy little leather wallets. This place gives me the same feeling I get when I want to squish my cat’s cute little squishy face in between my hands.
Caudan Street Kitchen, West End
I’m a bit biased with loving the Caudan Street Kitchen because most people would look at the menu and be like ‘Dholl Puri, whaaa’ or ‘wtf is gateaux piment’. Serving up the cuisine of my African Island home, this market stall serving up Mauritian food gave me a small coronary upon first encounter. Totally unexpected but wildly awesome; the gateaux pigments (chilli cakes) are particularly good for $5.
Mappins Nursery, West End
Oh heavenly Mappins, you steal all my money and make my room look like a well-potted jungle. Like crawling into a Narnia-bound wardrobe, this nursery looks small and unassuming from the outside but on the inside it sprawls further and further inwards. Fiddle tree figs mingle with charismatic cacti, which flirt with sprawling succulents and bouncy air plants. It’s beautiful.
I have plenty of things to say about this West-End cafe. The food is fresh, local, and unique; even their breakfast staple of avo on toast is a bit special with buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. The industrial, loft vibe is pretty unique in it’s spaciousness too.
The Junk Bar, Ashgrove
There are few greater things in life than having a passable bar within walking distance of your house. Luckily, The Junk Bar is not just passable but actually super cool. Yes, there is a reason why it is very dimly lit (because I’m sure it would be a litttttllee grimy) but it has stag heads! and forest wallpaper! and table service!
My last wish on earth would be to stroke my cat, hug my mum, and eat a flippin’ delicious cinnamon roll. Thank goodness someone in Brisbane has had the wonderful ingenuity of starting a market stall dedicated selling these delicious treats. By the same dudes who are behind Artisan Bread Basket, these scrolls don’t quite come close to their American counterparts, but they are pretty good.
State Library Queensland, South Brisbane
If you can’t dish out 100+ dollars a week on a co-working space, the SLQ makes for a great alternative. The Library has lots of workspace, views of the Brisbane river, and a good collection of magazines to browse through in your breaks.
The End, West End
My favourite bar in Brisbane; The End never lets me down. Dimly lit with a quirky vibe and long share tables, this teensy bar is often teeming with people that look a lot cooler than you.
Like a Frankie magazine come to life, the Finders Keepers markets take over the Old Museum with twee stores selling dainty ceramics, cute art prints, and as many knick knacks as you can get your hipster hands on. You will want everything. Some food trucks trundle up for the event too.
Peaceful. The Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art is peaceful. It has a strangely calming influence on my frazzled, churning brain. Taking a stroll through GOMA is a lot cheaper than therapy; I go here often.
My friend’s backyard, Newmarket
When it comes down to it, my happiest times are spent laughing with my friends in the sunshine of the backyard. Find some friend with a cute backyard and spend some serious time mooching around talking about nothing.
Do you have a favourite Brisbane spot? Share it with me! Leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.