In Brisbane for the Rugby League semi final or Ashes test?

Sports fans unite! It's a huge weekend in Brisbane, and if you've scored tickets to the Rugby League World Cup semi final and the Ashes test you'll be in for a treat. (If not, there are last minute tickets available).

The city will be pumping with people and events from 23 to 27 November – so here’s how to make the most of the extra long weekend here. Below we've gather the best ideas on what to do, plus check out these great accommodation deals.

First things first – find a bed

Stamford Plaza Brisbane Superio rRoom LGA_20160119_wide

If you’re here from out of town, you’ll need a spot to drop your bags. Wanting to be central? No problem, we’ve gathered some of the best accommodation available around the city. Check it out, and check in.

Thursday 23 November

It's either day one of the Ashes test, or you've just arrived in town with time to kill. Drop your bags, and get out there.

For the #BarmyArmy among us, Pig 'N' Whistle at Eagle Street Pier is your safe home turf. The pub is serving breakfast from 7am during the test, with free buses heading to the match at 8.45am.

Lunch: Fuel up

Nothing fills a hungry stomach better than Brazilian barbecue and nobody does this better than Navala Churrascaria on Eagle Street in the CBD. Sit yourself down for the all-you-can-eat barbecue with unlimited grilled meat and sides as you overlook the iconic Brisbane River.

Afternoon: Get cultured

Two women walk through GoMA

It’s time to ward off the meat sweats with a walk. Head over the bridge to South Bank and enjoy an afternoon brew at one of Brisbane’s historic bars, The Plough Inn, before or after a trip to the city’s cultural heart. Follow the blooming bougainvillea Arbour to the Queensland Museum. Here, stick your head, hand and whole body into a bit of history at the Gladiators exhibition

If there’s still time, drop into GOMA and check out the legendary and Instagram worthy work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Grab a sheet of coloured stickers, and leave your mark in the interactive Obliteration Room. Hashtag #brisbaneanyday, am I right?

Dinner: Time to eat 2.0 

Look, all-you-can-eat meats won’t stop you from eating again, but it might slow down your appetite. Call ahead and pre-order an Italian picnic basket from Popolo to enjoy with wine and a sunset view by the river. The casual grazing feast includes antipasto, pizza, fries and a mixed leaf salad – the good company is up to you.

If the cricket has finished, it will leave you in downtown Woolloongabba. It's the first night, so treat yourself to an Italian feast at 1889 Enoteca. The gnocchi is out-of-this-world good.

Evening: Let's go down to the tennis court...

And by tennis court we mean the Riverstage, where New Zealand pop singer and song writer Lorde will be rocking out beneath the stars. If you’d rather something more low key, indie darlings San Cisco are playing at The Triffid in Newstead.

Friday 24 November

It’s a big day for all sporting fans. Cricketers are ready for a second day in the sun (don't forget the zinc) while rugby league fans are getting revved up and ready for the game tonight.

Brunch: Game face for game day 

Lemon ricotta hotcakes Little Loco

Cricket supporters will be up bright and early to catch the first ball of the day, but no need for the rugby fans to rush out the door – take it easy and plan where to brunch. Finding a big breakfast in Brisbane is easy, and we like to think we do it better than anyone. There’s a great café on practically every street corner, but check out our guide to Brisbane’s best breakfasts and take your pick.   

Midday: Photo opportunity

The League of Giants are taking over Reddacliffe Place at the river end of Queen Street Mall. Fourteen larger than life giant rugby league players in team kit will stand at more than 3m tall - making the perfect photo op. FInd your team, get snapping, and tag your pics #brisbaneanyday.

Afternoon: Late lunchin’ and pre-game/post-match bevvy

Fritzenberger

We’ve all got different pre-game rituals, and as a spectator the most popular place to be is Caxton Street. Head to the strip for a late lunch – perhaps burger and brew bar Fritzenberger will sort you out, or the menu and hundreds of beers at Brewski are what’s needed to line your stomach for the night ahead.  

Whet your whistle before the real whistle blows at one or three of the watering holes on Caxton Street. The energy will be gearing up as we lead up to kick off for the semi final, so enjoy a cold one at Streetside Bar, Hotel LA or the Caxton Hotel. Chase down good vibes further down the road at Yard Bird or The Paddo, or on the Milton Road side of the stadium at Newstead Brewing Co, Aether Brewing or The Scratch.

Finish a long day at the cricket with a visit to one of Woolloongabba’s best bars. Pincadia just opened and is a ball of fun so down a few brews and get into the arcade games, or rock over the road to Electric Avenue and try and find the hidden whiskey bar. Want more? Check out all the best places for your pre or post-game at The Gabba.

Kick off: Semi final time

Rivalry vibes will be at an all-time high, so follow the bobbing crowd down to Suncorp Stadium and find your seats (front row, naturally?). 

Kick on: Celebratory brews all round

Caxton Street on game day

Now well acquainted with Caxton Street, rugby fans can head back here for post-game brews and competitive banter. Double the Aussie support and get cricket fans involved to show off our true blue spirit. No matter the sport, we’ve all got one thing in common – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! 

Ashes supporters may need 10 hours of beauty sleep, while the rugby crew will go late into the night celebrating their obvious win. Lucky for both, Caxton Street is central so it won’t be hard to find your way home. 

Saturday 25 November

Five full days of cricket really soaks up your time, but for the rugby fans among us a day exploring Brisbane is ripe for the taking.  

All day: Day Trippin’

Broaden your horizons and your views of Brisbane on a day trip around the wider region. Leave the mainland for dead and cross to the world’s third largest sand island, Moreton Island, with Australian Sunset Safaris. They’ll take you sand boarding down giant dunes plus kayaking and snorkeling around the rusty Tangalooma Wrecks.

Alternatively, charter the car for Tamborine Mountain and walk among the treetops with a flying fox course like no other before popping into a few local wineries and finishing at Fortitude Brewing. For nature closer to home, try one of these hikes and walks up the endless mountains surrounding the city.

If budgets allow, blow out on a helicopter pub crawl with the legendary Captain Mike of Pterodactyl Helicopters, hopping between classic country pubs, or scoot around the CBD at sunset or over to an island with S&S Aviation.

Really, the possibilities are endless – check out more ideas for day trips here.

Evening: Saturday night jives

Netherworld

After a long day exploring or watching the boys smash a few sixes, kick back with live music in Brisbane’s vibrant and raw Fortitude Valley. Tonight British India are taking over The Triffid with what will be an epic set, and The Foundry will be running two stages to celebrate ’10 years of Subtrakt’ with Fred P. and Simon Caldwell.

If you’ve got energy to burn, drop a coin in the slot of a pinball machine at Netherworld – add fries and old school video games for a good time. Nearby, a historic church turned mini golf course, Holey Moley is anything but ordinary – can you guess where the nine iron throne came from? More on Brisbane’s nightlife here.

Sunday 26 November

Cricketers get two more stadium filled days in Brisbane, while our rugby friends could be soon saying goodbye. Either way, there’s still plenty to do on your Sunday. 

Morning: Just keep swimming 

A quick, refreshing dip at the indoor Spring Hill Baths will wake you up and cool you off. As Brisbane’s first in-ground pool built in 1886, you’ll be swimming through history in this classically built and styled aquatic centre.  

Lunch: Hungry?

Red Hook

We’re keeping it local for today in the city, and why would you travel far when fantastic burgers are on your front door? A big Saturday night calls for a big Sunday burger, and lucky for you, Red Hook is serving up the goods all afternoon. For the cricket fans, if you’re sick of stadium food head across the road to Ribs & Burgers to grab a bite to eat and power you on for the afternoon of sun, cricket and Milton mangoes (that's local speak for a tinnie of XXXX beer).  

Afternoon: Put your learning hat on

Before the rugby fans hit the road, air or railway home, check out the CBD’s most interesting museums. Learn about World War II at MacArthur Museum, political history at Old Government House and Brisbane’s past, present and future stories at Museum of Brisbane – from here you can take a free tour up the City Hall clock tower for a birds-eye view of the city. 

Evening: Sunday seshin’ 

The Stock Exchange Rooftop

After a long day at The Gabba, there is nothing better than a relaxing Sunday sesh at one of the many bars around Brisbane. If you want to stay close to the stadium, Brewhouse is only a short stroll, The German Club is across the road or head to the Stock Exchange in the CBD for a rooftop experience. A Sunday session usually starts early and finishes early (generally), so you can still be fresh for Monday morning. Check out all the best places to spend a Sunday afternoon in Brisbane

Monday 27 November 

The last day of the Ashes calls for a big blowout when the Aussies take back the trophy (Oi oi oi!). In case they win early, here’s a few ways you could spend your Monday. 

Lunch: The last foodrah 

Kettle & Tin

Adventure out of Woolloongabba and take a gander through the nearby suburbs. Head to West End for a cultural experience and tuck into a range of international eats. Greek influence can be found all through the hip riverside suburb so grab some of the best Greek food from Little Greek Taverna or Lefkas.

Alternatively, head to the worker’s cottage suburb of Paddington for a bite to eat from Hai Hai RamenRemy’s for burgers, or Kettle & Tin for all day eats before embarking on the infamous XXXX brewery tour

Afternoon: Finish with a Monday tipple

XXXX Brewery Tours

You most likely tried a XXXX Gold during your visit to the sunshine capital (probably at the game), so why not find out how it’s made, how it got its name, and most importantly, what it tastes like when its poured fresh at the brewery. Brewery tours run throughout the day and allow you to try Brisbane’s most famous beer, XXXX Gold – locally known as Milton mangoes.  

Pig 'N' Whistle Riverside are hosting an end-of-test party with a smoker in the backyard and live music from 3pm.