With only one day in Brisbane on my way back from the Whitsunday Islands, I still was eager to get a good sense of the city. If you’re looking for ideas to explore this sunny Queensland city on a tight timeframe, read on.

After flying into the Brisbane Airport, catching the train is super straightforward. I headed to Central Station, located 200 metres from my hotel. Speaking of hotels, I checked into the New Inchcolm Hotel, the most beautiful boutique accommodation I’ve ever experienced. The small property has 50 rooms, all elegantly designed in relation to the neighbourhood’s rich heritage. My suite featured a bookcase, a spacious workstation and a gorgeous table overlooking the city. Ordering room service is done via an iPad, so I didn’t have to leave the comfort of my bed. The New Inchcolm is home to an intimate restaurant, Thomson Reserve and Socialites Bar. If you’d like to venture further afield, downtown Brisbane is only a short walk away or they have bikes available for hire. Nothing is too hard for the team and they went out on a limb to accommodate my requests (including a late checkout, so I could shower before my evening flight!)

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After a restful night’s sleep, I was ready to take on the day. First off, I walked along the bridge to New Farm, a trendy neighbourhood full of cafés and shops. I was excited to try breakfast at newly-opened Miss Jones. The minimal interior features pastel pink furnishings accentuated by lush greenery and an eye-catching neon sign. The menu is quite extensive. I tossed up the eggs benedict on potato waffles, but ultimately decided on the green option – poached eggs, halloumi and sweet potato on a bed of legumes and leaves. It was the best way to begin my day of exploration (and walking!)

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There are plenty of cool shops in the New Farm neighbourhood. Wander along James Street and you’ll discover plenty of Australian and international designers, Calexico, Wolf & Ordnance, Zimmermann, Mecca Cosmetica, Aesop and Dinosaur Designs, to name a few!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

After breakfast, I was ready for a coffee and ventured to Greenhaus Coffee. The takeaway coffee shop of dreams, I swear the tiled floor, pink door and pink espressomachine were designed for Instagramming purposes. 

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After a bit more shopping and walking, I stopped in for a light lunch at Nodo Donuts. Along with baked (not fried) treats, they have some of the best smoothie bowls. I opted for their winter specialty, a dragonfruit variety and it did not disappoint! The corner café issurprisingly spacious with lots of outdoor seating. I lingered here for a while in a sunny spot on the terrace. 

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After lunch, I was determined to cover a few more kilometres and decided to walk along the river to Eagle Street Pier. Recently revamped by the city council, the boardwalk is a great place for people and boat watching. It offers the best views of the Story Bridge and access to a plethora of other neighbourhoods. Ferries run throughout the day to South Bank or the West End. Plenty of restaurants line the walkway, if you’re looking for a meal with a view. Short on time, I decided to carry on walking to the botanic gardens to explore the native flora and fauna. The expansive gardens are great for lounging or a leisurely stroll. I found myself getting lost among the greenery and almost forgot I was in the middle of a major metropolis. They also play host to concerts and events throughout the year (the weather is always good in Brisbane!)

Afterwards, I popped into a store I had heard a lot about, Showroom Brisbane. The independent boutique aims to showcase and sell the work of local and Australian designers. It’s a curated event space that’s always changing, so no visit is ever the same!

Noising around the CBD, I wanted to venture to one more neighbourhood before my flight back home. I decided on Chinatown, which is one of Brisbane’s oldest neighbourhoods. Lined with Chinese restaurants and shops, the vibrant, centrally-located district is a hive of activity. The architecture and traditional Chinese gates are worth seeing. Sweltering from the heat, I decided to pop in for an ice cream Mister Fitz. Desperate for a break from the heat, I was also keen to see the traditional ice cream parlour in person. The massive pink storefront (are we sensing a theme here?) lends itself to a gorgeous, old school ice creamery. Known for their ice cream sandwiches, I opted for a single scoop instead.

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Sadly, my time in Brisbane was nearly up and I had to pack my bags and catch the train to the airport. I know I’ll be back to visit the other great neighbourhoods that comprise this sunny city.

Have you ever been to Brisbane? Tell me, what are your favourite spots?

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