Luxury Escapes

Luxury Escapes Guide to Brisbane (North of the River)

Whether you come for the sub-tropical climate, river views or alfresco lifestyle, there is much to discover north of Brisbane River.

A city in rapid flux, Brisbane — divided by its mighty river — is a cosmopolitan hub heaving with outstanding eateries, bustling nightlife and a well-documented independent community. North of the river you'll find the bustling CBD, Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Queen Street Mall, venture a little further and you’ll discover hole-in-the-wall cafés and micro distilleries tucked along colourful backstreets.

The CBD itself is far more than just a business precinct — it is alight with new energy, an array of shopping districts and sophisticated culinary experiences. Creativity abounds in Fortitude Valley, with a thriving nightlife and live music scene on par with its southern neighbours. Self-confessed foodies are in luck in Bowen Hills with celebrated edible offerings swaying between artful fine dining and top-notch interpretations of Greek, Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine.
Beer enthusiasts will be delighted to find the craft breweries around Newstead, while distilleries well worth a visit sit alongside Instagram-worthy cafes. Increasingly cool neighborhoods such as Teneriffe and Paddington boast bountiful heritage buildings and boutiques while New Farm is an enclave of raised Queensland houses and gourmet takeaways.

Take full advantage of the city’s sun-soaked days by people watching on James Streets’ tree-lined shopping boulevard or relaxing with a drink in hand in a sprawling beer garden. Long summers also make alfresco afternoons at Howard Smith Wharves the perfect way to while away a few hours. If you're feeling active, the iconic Brisbane Riverwalk is a must, as is hiking through eucalypt woodland and vine forest in Mount Coot-tha.

After dark, eat under the stars along bustling laneways or inside refurnished shipping containers, before securing seats at Suncorp Stadium or bar hop your way through the city.

Please note that due to current restrictions some operators may be temporarily closed. Check their websites for the most up-to-date information

Keep your eye out for businesses displaying the 'Good to Go' stamp — this means they have the required COVID Safe documentation in place to ensure a safe travel experience for visitors.

Featured escapes

Things to see and do

Kayak through Brisbane River at sunset with Riverlife Adventure Centre, Kangaroo Point

Often regarded as ‘the ultimate watersports playground’, Brisbane’s wonderful waterways, river reaches and subtropical sand islands are all best explored from sea level. Introduce yourself to the city’s ‘Brown Snake’ as you meander down the Brisbane River by kayak, past dramatic cliff faces, soaring cityscapes and luxurious waterfront homes, before slowly drifting under Story Bridge — the highlight of the tour. Twilight tours in illuminated kayaks are also available.

Learn of Mr Fourex at the XXXX Brewery, Milton

There’s only one thing more ‘Brisbane’ than the Brown Snake itself and that’s the mighty Milton Mango — better known as XXXX Beer. Experience the inner workings of what goes into creating this delicious staple at the historic XXXX Brewery. Don the yellow high-vis vest and walk the floor of this iconic building to gain an insight into the 140-year history of Queensland’s greatest drop. You’ll get to touch, taste, smell, pour and sample the end product, as well as a selection of other famous brews.

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Eat and drink your way through Howard Smith Wharves

Nestled at the bend of Brisbane River, between the iconic Story Bridge and New Farm cliffs, sits Howard Smith Wharves — Brisbane’s shiny new dining and lifestyle precinct. Constructed in the 1930s, this once-neglected, now heritage-listed piece of land has been transformed into a bustling boardwalk lined with some of the city’s best breweries, bars, restaurants and even a hotel. A visit should include a meal overlooking the water at Ciao Papi, a gelato from Goodtimes Gelateria and a schooner from Felons Brewing Co. under the bridge — in that order, preferably.

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Take in the views from Mount Coot-Tha

There are very few inner-city landscapes that can compare with Mt Coot-Tha. Rising 287 metres above sea level, Mt Coot-Tha is best known for its panoramic views of Brisbane and surrounding regions. However, there’s a lot more to be discovered in the 1,600 hectares adjoining the south-eastern section of D’Aguilar National Park – including restaurants, an open eucalypt forest, countless rainforest gullies, creeks and 31 kilometres of bushwalking tracks. The nearby 56-hectare Brisbane Botanic Gardens are also worth a visit, for a meander through the many themed exhibitions and attractions.

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Enjoy a dose of retail therapy at James Street, Fortitude Valley

Designer boutiques, Australian flagship favourites, wellness-focused ventures and high-end homewares — there is no denying James Street is Brisbane’s most fashionable precinct. A blossoming talent pool of eclectic stores, eateries, and boutique hotels, James Street has also paved the way for local designers and brands such as Gail Sorronda, Natasha Schweitzer and Molten Store. Those who work up an appetite after perusing this treasure trove of fashionable offerings won't be disappointed when it comes to wining and dining either, with delicious restaurants around every corner.

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Shop local at one of North Brisbane’s outdoor markets

Brisbane’s bustling market scene is unmatched, buzzing with the flavour and style of the many communities and passions that make up this riverside city. For locally made and imported clothing, arts, crafts and delicious snacks, Riverside at the Gardens Market showcases the best of Brisbane every Sunday. An icon in the scene, Jan Powers Farmers Markets is an unmissable, vibrant mini-village that promises farm-fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat Street Northshore is Brisbane's very-own riverfront shipping-container dining hub, while The Market Folk at Gasworks Plaza host unforgettable locally sourced art and fashion coupled with live music.

Top places to eat and drink

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Agnes, Fortitude Valley

Once an old brick warehouse, Agnes has been transformed into Brisbane’s finest woodfired kitchen. With its moody, dramatic interiors, sleek black furnishings, exposed brick and polished concrete, Agnes is a sophisticated venue where the ancient skill of cooking over fire is perfectly paired with contemporary hospitality. Nestled in a hidden corner of Fortitude Valley, its eclectic menu is season-dependent and doesn’t tend to stick to one cuisine or style.

sAme sAme, Fortitude Valley

Situated in Ada Lane, next to newcomer The Calile Hotel, sAme sAme is Brisbane’s sizzling take on street-inspired Thai food. Spread across two levels, this artfully designed dining destination is striking and precise – blending a sense of effortless grandeur and intimacy throughout. Although the location is stunning, sAme sAme delivers on more than just aesthetics, with engaging service and unrivalled dedication to Southeast Asian cuisine and contemporary Australian flair. Our picks include the soft-shell crab bao, twice-cooked lamb shank massaman curry and half-shell Hervey Bay scallops with chilli, garlic and black vinegar.

City Winery, Fortitude Valley

Set in a lovingly restored warehouse in Fortitude Valley, City Winery is the first micro-winery to open in Brisbane since 1860. Featuring an expansive, double-height ceiling, which houses an enormous stack of French and American oak barrels, a 70-seat restaurant, 20-seat private dining room, handsome tiled bar and festoon-draped front patio, City Winery is a European-style haven for wine enthusiasts. Tastings take place daily onsite, as well as winemaker meets and wine-blending workshops.

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Industry Beans, Newstead

After great success in Melbourne and Sydney, brothers Trevor and Steve Simmons have finally brought their statement-making single origins, barista blends and picture-perfect breakfasts to Brisbane. Housed in a split-level, bright and minimalist Newstead warehouse, this 150-seat café-restaurant is bound to become the next inner-city hipster hangout. Drop by for a boozy brunch, weekend lunch or degustation-style coffee tasting experience you’ll not soon forget.

Montrachet, Bowen Hills

As one of Brisbane’s most acclaimed restaurants, Montrachet has held a special place in the hearts of Queensland Francophiles for more than a decade. An exercise in lovingly crafted Gallic gastronomy and seductive self-assuredness, this popular restaurant displays an unrivalled brasserie atmosphere and elegance that ensures diners have never felt closer to France. Delectable dishes include baked rack of lamb with tarragon sauce, double-baked soufflé with crab meat and gruyère and silky dark chocolate with cognac ganâche and crème anglaise.

At Sixes And Sevens, Fortitude Valley

Housed in a gabled 1878 weatherboard cottage on James Street, At Sixes and Sevens is a uniquely Queensland-style Public House. Perfect for Brisbane’s council of cool, this slinky gastro-bar embodies low-key industrial charm and see-and-be-seen vibe, featuring a summer-perfect terraced deck with AstroTurf, rough wood tables, pitched tin roof and white-painted weatherboards. An everyday local, this neighbourhood stop-off is ideal for a light feed and sophisticated cocktail.

Cloudland, Fortitude Valley

Nestled among the urban landscape of Fortitude Valley, Cloudland is a has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed garden oasis. Named for a much-loved, controversially demolished 1940s dancehall, this opulent, multilevel bar, club and restaurant is home to over 5,000 climbing plants, birdcage booths, lush foliage, vast chandeliers and a sparkling waterfall. What’s more, a retractable glass roof is a fitting addition for Brisbane’s balmy climate.

Lux moments

Get a bird’s eye view of Brisbane by helicopter

A city on the rise, Brisbane’s picturesque landscapes, surprising wonders and beautiful weather are all best explored from helicopter vantage point. Departing from Archerfield, Bekaa Air will take you high across Queensland’s gorgeous capital, from the University of Queensland at St Lucia to South Bank and the western side of Brisbane City, in complete style. Looking for something more? A one-hour flight to Moreton and North Stradbroke Island will see you soar over gold-sand beaches and picturesque waterways, while a Scenic Rim exploration will take you to the western part of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, including the Glasshouse Mountains.

Discover Brisbane by hot air balloon with Hot Air

Getting up early isn’t always easy but there is no better way to discover Greater Brisbane than by hot air balloon in the morning sun. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the serenity in slowly floating among the clouds as the world awakens offers unmatched, unobstructed views of Scenic Rim, Somerset, Ipswich, Flinders Peak, The Great Dividing and McPherson Ranges, Mount Tamborine, Moreton Bay, and the winding Brisbane and Bremer Rivers.

Scale Story Bridge with Story Bridge Adventure Climb

As the largest steel bridge designed, fabricated and constructed in Australia, Brisbane's Story Bridge has dominated the sunburnt skyline since its installation in 1940. From Kangaroo Point, walk north, where you will ascend through the road level onto the anchor arm on the eastern side of the bridge. At its highest points, breathtaking 360-degree panoramas of Brisbane and its surrounding natural beauty can be enjoyed. For the more adventurous, a cantilever lean-out, walk the plank or climb and abseil options are also available.

Tailor your escape to Brisbane

Immerse yourself in Brisbane with Luxury Escapes’ hand-picked Experiences. We’ve curated a selection of cultural activities, adrenaline thrills, food adventures and luxury add-ons to help you discover your destination. These Experiences are bookable when you purchase your next escape. Simply select your travel dates and number of travellers for any package and opt to tailor your escape by selecting the available Experiences.