Tourist in my Town: South Brisbane Cultural Precinct

With holiday traffic more often than not heading in the other direction, we decided it was high time to drive south to north up the M1, take a day and night trip to Brisbane – South Brisbane specifically – and enjoy everything the cultural precinct of Queensland’s capital city has to offer.

First off was our painless check-in at the new luxury property Novotel Brisbane South Bank, a modern and elegant structure with a cool, welcoming interior, high ceilings and top notch service. We left our bags at reception, parked underneath and grabbed a map of the local sights. We didn’t end up needing it as it turned out, with a few quick lefts and rights taking us straight to our first stop at the Queensland Museum.

After wandering through the ANZAC displays and marvelling at the Lost Creatures exhibit (dinosaurs of Australia – fascinating), we strode by the rushing fountains, twinkling river and random modern sculptures of South Brisbane towards Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), only to accidentally stumble into the lobby of Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) instead. As we arrived during the 9th Annual Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary art (APT9), all galleries had free entry, so we decided to check it out. Fortuitous timing, indeed!

GOMA gets a great deal of attention, but we were floored by the quality of art on display at QAG and would most definitely return. The gallery showcases some of Australia’s finest Indigenous pieces as well as a range of delightful contemporary works, lovingly curated. Due to APT9, there were many stunning examples of Asian art on display as well. The APT9 runs until 28 April 2019, and is well worth the visit.

Finally we made it to GOMA, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring every nook of the sprawling building. Of particular note was the colourful moving wallpaper video work by New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana, entitled ‘in Pursuit of Venus [infected]’. It alone would have made the trip worthwhile, and you need to see it.

After our epic day we strolled back to the Novotel and enjoyed a couple of hours lying in air conditioning on the single most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept in. We struggled to get up for dinner, but ended up being extremely glad that we did, as the hotel’s restaurant Spice Central Kitchen and Bar was definitely worth the effort (if you can call catching an elevator downstairs an effort). Our mussels, calamari, steak and chicken were cooked to absolute perfection; seasoned beautifully, tender and fresh, well portioned and with colourful spring twists that delighted the eye. My frozen nougat with candied orange was very nice, but the dark chocolate crème brulee definitely won the dessert round. We thought we probably wouldn’t eat again for two days, but there we were again at the breakfast buffet, plates in hand, stuffing our faces with bacon, sausages, eggs, cheese and crackers, granola, fresh fruit and yoghurt. Hey, it was a holiday!

Check out the Accor Hotels website for bookings at Novotel Brisbane South Bank, and be sure to hit up Brisbane’s cultural precinct before the APT9 ends on 28 April 2019.

Disclaimer: Blank GC were guests of Novotel South Bank

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