30 things to do this winter in Brisbane
The closest Brisbane gets to freezing point is the ice in our drinks – so raise ‘em high and celebrate crisp, clear days of winter sunshine, our all-seasons event line-up and the joys of wearing a jacket for those three weeks it is possible.
In the depths of winter Brisbane’s overnight temperature may dip below 10 degrees, so pack your walking shoes as being outdoors is always on the agenda.
Read on to discover 30 ideas for things you can do, places to visit and where to eat in Brisbane this winter.
1. Go on a hike somewhere within 30km of the city
Finally the weather is cooler so you won’t work up too much of a serious sweat while trekking these paths. Put your walking shoes on and hit the road – you’ll be surprised by how many bush walking and hiking trails fall within a 30-minute drive of the city.
2. Turn the heat up on your food
Image credit: @benjaminroach
Winter weather makes us think of hot curries, spicy soups and mouth-blazing sauce. Hardcore heat seekers you’re in luck – we’ve done the research to give you our list of the spiciest dishes in Brisbane that will get you hot under the collar and reaching for tissues.
3. Uno, dos, tres … catch the blockbuster triple threat at the Cultural Precinct
Just when we thought Australia’s largest modern art gallery couldn’t get cooler, it throws out a massive exhibition bringing to life our favourite superheros. Queensland Museum is playing host to an Australian exclusive that reveals who gladiators were, where they lived and how they trained. And heating the stage at QPAC, one of the world’s top ballet companies returns to Australia for the first time in 15 years with not one but two productions. Read more about Brisbane’s top winter events here.
Forget the cover band playing Wonderwall at your local pub, pass on the soundscape artist at the nearest gallery space, and don’t bother with underground indie band – it’s time to get your groove on and put those jazz hands to good use.
Get up close and personal with majestic humpback whales as they pass by the South East Queensland coast to the warm, tropical waters of Queensland. Brisbane Whale Watching and Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruises offer tours in Moreton Bay Marine Park and guarantee a sighting.
Ding ding! Suncorp Stadium will become the centre of the boxing universe for one night only when Brisbane’s own Jeff Horn takes on global sporting icon and reigning title holder, Manny Pacquiao.
7. Chase cosy fireplaces
Mate, what’s better than kicking back when the temps drop beside a log fire with a glass of shiraz and your favourite people? There’s a few options. Inner-city gastropub Statler & Waldolf has two working fireplaces, or make a weekend of it with a romantic stay on Mt Tamborine at Pethers or gather some friends and set up camp at Lake Moogerah Caravan Park. There are plenty of fire pits and the lakeside location is pure bliss.
8. Fashion is back on the agenda
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival is back this August. Join the city’s most fashionable from 27-31 August. Right now it’s all hush hush – the program is released on 1 June.
Scenic Rim Eat Local Week is back until July 2. From long table lunches, to country markets, to hands-on classes and producer meetings – this is a chance to get back in touch with the food you eat and the people who make it. Between events follow this self-guided producer trail through the Scenic Rim area. The fruitful region is filled with lakes, mountains, rich soil and large plains. Stacks of food producers are harvesting and growing everything from pecans and beetroot, to sheep cheese, free-range eggs and olive oil.
‘Tis the season to layer on your winter woollies (a.k.a that one light jacket you own) and seek refuge from the elements in a dimly lit and enclosed watering hole or basement hideaway. Make the time to sneak off and put away a couple of heavy reds or shots of whisky in these bars.
11. Support your favourite sporting teams
Winter is when footy fever takes over Brisbane. Get your fix of rugby league, union and AFL with a heap of games from local and international favourites. State of Origin will be turning mate against mate with the deciding match at Suncorp Stadium on 12 July.
12. Discover the foodie offering at Fish Lane
Brisbane’s coolest laneway just keeps getting better. Drop in to newcomer La Lune Wine Bar, or pop by the ever-adventurous Gauge for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Julius Pizzeria for quick, high-quality Italian cuisine, Maker for incredible bespoke cocktails, Saccharomyces Beer Cafe for arcade games and craft beer, Fish Lane Bistro for pub bites and Wandering Cooks for its weekly food truck event. Discover Brisbane's other laneways here.
Putting the best Queensland has to offer on a plate, Regional Flavours is a free food and wine festival held in South Bank each year. Over two days from 15-16 July you can taste, sip and listen and learn about the food we eat, meet the makers and celebrity chefs, and sample treats.
14. Dive into a warming bowl of cocoa
Bitter or sweet, classic cocoa or fancy coverture – resisting the urge to drink hot chocolate in the cooler months is tough, especially if it has been spiked. Rather than waste calories on disappointing warm cacao, we’ve tested and tasted our way through to present the best in this list.
15. Shop 'til you drop
Queen Street Mall is the heart of shopping in Queensland. Stroll down the open-air mall dropping into big-name brands Zara, H&M and Uniqlo; luxury brands Paspaley, Louis Vuitton and Chanel; and shopping centres QueensPlaza, The Myer Centre and Wintergarden to find boutique stores. Read our complete guide to the mall here, and find a $5 parking deal here.
16. Spot fish and turtles without getting wet
Winter is here. Yes, 24 degree days, endless sunshine and short shorts for days. Some would call it an English summer! Head over to Moreton Island with Australian Sunset Safaris. They have a fleet of clear kayaks that allow you paddle over the old Tangalooma Wrecks, spotting fish, turtles and marine life below without getting wet. Go one better and stay overnight – paddling out again by night.
17. Musical to your ears
Two blockbuster musicals will be gracing the stage at QPAC this winter. Pencil in The Bodyguard – on from 19-29 July. The stage production is based on the smash-hit film and starring Australian darling Paulini. Following closely behind will be the heart-warming Kinky Boots. Inspired by a true story, catch it from 22 August.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on our social media channels lately you’ll have noticed them light up in a sea of purple, pink, yellow, orange and red. We’d hate for you to miss the city looking this pretty, so we've gathered together some of our favourite photographs to show you.
19. Embrace a spot of history
The weekend of 9-10 July will see Abbey Medieval Festival present a carnival of performers, craftsmen and jousting. Don't miss the annual medieval spectacular.
The Berry Patch at Chambers Flat will let you pick your own strawberries each season starting around June and finishing in November each year. Check its Facebook page to find out more.
21. Play a spot of beach volleyball
Popping up for just six weeks, the Wynnum Wading Pool will be filled with sand and turned into a beach volleyball court until 13 August. It's free to use, just head down to the bayside.
22. Escape to Brisbane's backyard
Relax by a log fire in a heritage homestead with a glass of red and your favourite person. Lead a llama around 85 acres of bushland. Walk along a seemingly endless island beach and dive into the refreshing ocean. You can do all this and more with a weekend away at an iconic stay not too far from Brisbane.
23. Lick a strawberry sundae at the Ekka
Strawberry sundaes debuted at the Royal Queensland Show in 1950 and have been a firm favourite since. Annually Brisbane eats through 10 tonnes of strawberries, 1800 litres of cream and 18,000 litres of ice-cream at the Ekka. Tick off this city must-do, drink tins of XXXX with cowboys, get tickets for an amusement ride, buy up big in showbag alley and watch prized stock parade around the arena.
24. Start training for a race
The Bridge to Brisbane on 27 August has a reinvigorated course that covers 10km, and the big Brisbane Marathon Festival on 6 August has it all with a full 42.2km marathon, 21.1km half marathon, and a 10km, 5km and 2.2km kids run.
25. Eat along the street
Eat Street Northshore is a feast in every sense – the sights, smells, tastes and sounds come to life in this container food village every Friday and Saturday night from 4-10pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm.
The terrace at Customs House has been taken over with a pop-up Absolute vodka igloo bar. Sit on fur rugs inside the geometric dome and sip specially made cocktails with heart-warming food. Cheers to the view!
If you are looking for a hot bowl of soup on a cold, brisk winter’s day, these eateries in Brisbane City serve up bowls of comfort guaranteed to warm you to the bone.
28. Let’s go fly a kite!
Yes, the colour and fun of Redcliffe KiteFest is back on the bay this August. Head to Pelican Park in Clontarf 26-27 August for a weekend of family fun, kite flying, music, roving performers and more.
There’s a new secret whisky den in Brisbane, and if we told you where it is we’d have to kill you. So here’s a clue. Woolloongabba’s new wine bar and bistro Electric Avenue is an ode to the antique precinct it sits in. Head upstairs and through the rabbit hole to find winter’s favourite spirit.
Nicknamed "The Paperclip" due to its six-turn design and lack of elevation, Queensland Raceway is a thrilling track to watch V8 supercars sprint around the course. Grab your tickets now to take a seat trackside at the Ipswich V8 SuperSprint competition from 28-30 July.