28 things to do in Ascot & Hamilton

The neighbouring suburbs of Ascot and Hamilton are a story of old meets new. Ascot is steeped in heritage with old grand homes, large blocks of land with city views and Brisbane’s historic racing club, whose first race was in 1865. Meanwhile, trendy Hamilton is booming with new apartment towers that fringe the Brisbane River. Beneath them restaurants, shops and amenities have the area pumping with things to do.

Catch the CityCat up to Brett’s Wharf and set about on foot to enjoy the two precincts of Portside Wharf, Hamilton, and Racecourse Rd, Ascot.

1. Eat everything you can manage at Eat Street Northshore


This street food market 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. Take the family and stuff your face with every cuisine imaginable.

2. Eat Brisbane’s best ramen at Taro’s

Perhaps even Australia’s best – it depends who you talk to. Taro’s Ramen took out the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2017 Best Cheap Eat for good reason. Taro himself is dedicated to the art of ramen, from the broth to the handmade noodles to the free-range eggs.

3. Attend a race meet

Eagle Farm Racecourse

Did you know that the first race meet at Eagle Farm Racecourse was in 1865? Throwing back to its historic roots are the beautiful entrance gates and old train departure times still displayed on the wall beside a bell. On race days, don your best frock and head along to Eagle Farm or nearby Doomben racecourse.

The Brisbane Racing Carnival is a highlight of the balmy Brisbane winter, with some of the best horses in the country hitting the track in preparation for the Melbourne Spring Carnival – keep your eye on the winners.

4. Drink up at The Stables

Aptly named given its location, The Stables is Racecourse Road’s answer to craft beer. The petite and rustic bar is the spot to stop for local brews and tasty eats. If you’re not a beer lover, don’t fear – The Stables is open for breakfast on weekends too.

5. Catch a flick at the Dendy Cinema

Dendy Portside

Home to five state-of-the-art digital cinemas, Dendy is the place to watch the latest blockbusters and smaller arthouse flicks. Even better, the cinema is licensed so you can purchase drinks at the bar to enjoy with popcorn.

6. Take friends to One Fifty

One Fifty Ascot

With a slick fit-out and fresh, simple menu, it’s undeniable that One Fifty is Ascot’s hottest place to drink and dine. The building’s renovations have added a glass atrium to the roof, making this spot perfect for a long Sunday lunch with wine.

7. Drink XXXX and eat steak at Breakfast Creek

Breakfast Creek Hotel rib eye on the bone

Towards the city fringe of Ascot, Breakfast Creek Hotel is a Brisbane institution. The historic pub pours Queensland’s classic XXXX ale “off the wood” and serves a large selection of premium steaks. It was built in 1889 in French renaissance style by a former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, William MacNaughton Galloway. He fell drunk from a second-floor window in 1895 and died. Legend has it that his ghost is still seen in the original parts. 

8. Dine out at Portside Wharf

Gusto Da Gianni
Gusto da Gianni

Brisbane’s Portside Wharf is a hub of multicultural dining opportunities. Gusto da Gianni is great for classic Italian, Atalanta serves up Greek, Byblos is for Lebanese, Bamboo Basket does Chinese cuisine, and Sono is for fine dining Japanese, while Ginga offers casual Japanese. Belvedere Bar N Grill specialises in steak, while Fresh N Wild offers casual dine-in or takeaway seafood. There is also Aamaya for Indian curries, Hello Harry for gourmet burgers and Max Brenner for a sweet chocolate hit afterwards. Arrive hungry.

9. Taste local beans Fonzie Abbott

Fonzie Abbott Espresso Ascot

Brisbane-based Fonzie Abbott Coffee Roasters is passionate about coffee, and great quality at that. The Racecourse Rd venue is a café and espresso hub, with a wine bar next door at Vagelis, all packaged up into an inviting bundle that would make anyone cross the road to have a better look.

10. Shop at the Eagle Farm Markets

Eagle Farm Markets

Every Sunday the Eagle Farm Markets pop up at the race track for the morning. Entry is $2 and inside you’ll find locals doing their weekly fresh produce shop, picking up seafood and meat direct and buying local artisan sauces, spices and goods. Expect to also find hot food stalls with tasty treats for breakfast and retail stalls selling clothing, candles, towels and more.

11. Kayak on the river at Northshore Hamilton 

One of Brisbane’s little-known secrets is the river beach at Northshore Hamilton. Nearby to where the CityCat pulls up, there is a cafe where you can rent out kayaks to paddle on the river. It’s a relaxing way to spend the morning of afternoon.

12. Sunday sessions at Byblos

Byblos

Byblos bar is the place to be on Sunday afternoon for drink specials, cheap cocktails, live music and good vibes. Watch the sunset from its riverside location and be sure to order some Lebanese tapas to ward off hungry stomachs.

13. Have breakfast along Racecourse Road

Journey Cafe & Bar

Racecourse Road is the area’s original promenade, shopping street and dining hub. In the morning hours, drop into Petrichor & Co for breakfast with a Colombian twist, Le Bon Choix for a French bakery experience, and local favourite Journey Café & Bar.

14. Fly a Boeing 737 without leaving the ground

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to fly a plane? Air Combat Centre is the answer. The leading airline pilot training centre has opened the Boeing 737 simulator to the public.

15. Eat ALL the cheese

Emile and Solange

Over on Fox St near Fonzie Abbott, find artisan fromagerie Emile and Solange. The cheese shop stocks every variety along with fancy crackers, quince paste and everything you need to make a killer cheese board. Or, you could leave it to the experts and they’ll create you a hamper.

16. Go for a bowl

Drop in for an Aussie classic – lawn bowls and a pub feed. Gallopers Sports Club on Lancaster Rd has crisp, green bowling greens ripe for a barefoot bandit to roll a bowl. Afterwards, stop for a brew and bite to eat. Barri Munday is our pick of the weekly specials. 

17. Shop Racecourse Road

Racecourse Road is dotted with a number of clothing boutiques and homeware shops. Try Hacienda for flowers, Joli or Flash for clothing, Savida for shoes, Lorna Jane for activewear, and Lyle & Bank, Soho Interiors and Ascot Living for homewares and design.

18. Race track of a different kind

Slideways Go Karting Centre is the spot to hit the racetrack with you at the wheel. Whizz around the indoor and outdoor tracks in Sodi European racing karts. Using a digital timing system you can race friends over bridges, under tunnels and around tight corners.

19. Pop into the pilates studio 

Have you tried reformer pilates? Over 40 minutes you’ll get a full-body workout using specially designed machines. The classes at Studio Pilates, Portside Wharf, are designed to reshape your body, sculpt abs and give you the ultimate physique.

20. Eat ice-cream at Milany

Awards won by Milany Caffe e Gelato

Any night of the week, local ice-creamery Milany is packed. The artisan gelato store has won plenty of awards, especially for its chocolate flavour. Dine in and order a banana split or simply get a scoop to go.

21. Catch the CityCat to New Farm

Jump on the CityCat service at Brett’s Wharf near Portside Wharf and cruise along the Brisbane River past the old woolstores at Teneriffe towards New Farm. It will drop at the park where you can have a picnic by the river or wander over to the Brisbane Powerhouse to catch a show at the arts theatre, dine at the two restaurants or catch the Saturday morning market.

22. Treat yourself at Ella Bache and Tigerlamb

Ready to be pampered? Yes! Check yourself in to beauty salon and day spa Ella Bache at Portside Wharf. If you’re short on time, go for the express facial. Otherwise, one of the indulgent packages definitely has your name on it. Nearby Tigerlamb salon will have your tresses looking chic too.

23. Tee off at Golf Central

Golf Central

Take a date or the family to Golf Central for a round of putt putt, smack balls at the driving range or book in private tuition to improve your swing. The centre has giant floodlights so you can plan day and night.

24. Visit the suburb’s 24/7 cafe

Speaking of day and night, in the centre of Racecourse Road, Café 63 serves hot meals, cold drinks and warm hospitality around the clock. It means that anyone heading to the airport for an early flight doesn’t need to go without a hearty breakfast or caffeine hit.

25. Buy groceries at 3am

Yes, also at the Skygate shopping centre on the way to the airport is Brisbane’s only 24/7 supermarket. It’s super handy to know that you can drop into the Woolworths here to do your weekly shop at 3pm or 3am.

26. Indulge in a Japanese degustation at Sono

Located upstairs at Portside Wharf, the tucked-away, fine-dining Japanese restaurant offers a tasting course for $88 per person that includes an appetiser platter, three tasting dishes, a main course and dessert. Alternatively, you can order a la carte or opt for teppanyaki.

27. Visit DFO

Ascot and Hamilton are two of Brisbane’s closest suburbs to the airport, and also to the biggest discount shopping centre. DFO, which stands for Direct Factory Outlet, is home to Australia’s favourite brands at cheaper prices. Score bargains with up to 70 per cent off the retail price in air-conditioned comfort here.

28. Head along to the telecommunications museum

Home to the largest collection of telecommunication memorabilia in Queensland, the Queensland Telecommunications Museum (or Telstra Museum as it is often known) has plenty of interesting artefacts, hands-on exhibitions and information. Note, the museum is only open Wednesdays 9am to 3pm.

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