Guide to Brisbane's western suburbs - Visit Brisbane

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Guide to Brisbane's western suburbs

Venture beyond the inner city this season – out in the west the grass is greener, the coffee stronger and the people friendlier. Out in the western suburbs of Brisbane – from Taringa and St Lucia to Kenmore and Brookfield – the overlooked and underrated 'burbs have been going through a quiet renaissance. 

Now there are cool bars, a world class spa, great spots to hike, interesting history and more wildlife than you can poke a stick at. Take it from us when we say, the west really is best. 

Where to eat and drink

Coffee shops and cafes

Wild Canary
Wild Canary

Excellent coffee outside the inner city? Believe it. Between coffee at The Single Guys in Kenmore, and local produce on the plate at Wild Canarythe western suburbs of Brisbane are hot contenders for the city's best. The Single Guys keep it simple, roasting single origin coffee for the cafe, while Wild Canary makes the most of its huge kitchen garden – supplemented by produce from local farmers that chef Glen Barratt visits himself. Do save room for one of the ridiculously good looking cakes.

Nearby, step back to another time at Brookfield General Store  where grocery staples fill the shelves and cafe eats fill the plates in rural surrounds.

Abode Cafe
Abode Cafe

In Taringa, excellent coffee is accompanied by classic and Vietnamese-style dishes at Scatter Bean, while nearby Abode Cafe bakes all its cakes onsite and Clay Coffee offers a welcome addition to the classic smashed avo – maple bacon. 

South of the river in Graceville, the super chic Hunter & Scout looks like it could be straight out of an interior design magazine, while down the road Three Girls Skipping is best known for cakes and the dinner served from Thursday to Saturday. A quaint cottage turned café, Goodness Gracious changes the menu regularly to incorporate seasonal and unusual dishes.  

Further south in Sherwood, you'll spot Gas Espresso thanks to its astro turf exterior. Locals love the wholesome breakfast selections here. While Ananas Espresso is another favourite that makes everything in house using local ingredients. 

Piggyback Cafe
Piggyback Cafe

Jindalee has two hidden gems. Bare Bones Society is run by award-winning chef Kym Machin, who uses only locally sourced ingredients and hosts Friday and Saturday night dinners too, while Piggyback Café is an Instagrammers dream serving rainbow coffee and unicorn hot chocolates.

Bars in the 'burbs

Two bars come to mind – the first, Suburban Social in Chapel Hill lets the casual vibe of the leafy west shine through. Tuck into Szechuan peppered calamari, a smoked brisket burger, craft beer and a range of cocktails. In Kenmore, The Retro Bar captures the minimalist '60s and the psychedelic '70s with live music, a tapas-style menu plus plenty of beers, wines and cocktails. Relax into simpler times on the groovy armchairs.

For those with a rumbling stomach 


Neighbourhood

When did Kenmore get its cool cred? What matters is that you get yourself along to Neighbourhood Pizza for casual eats and a cheeky wine or two with friends. Try the mushroom pizza with truffle oil, or the speck pizza with red onion and Gorgonzola. Also in Kenmore are the original outposts of Stavros The GreekSichuan Bang Bang  and sister store Pizzeria Violetta

Sichuan Bang Bang is no regular Chinese restaurant. Prepare your taste buds for local delicacies including pan-fried shredded crispy beef, wok fried eggplant with minced pork and beef or fish ‘hot hot hot’ pots. Next door Pizzeria Violetta offers authentic woodfired pizza and on the corner Stavros The Greek is serving Greek delights and cocktails.

In downtown Graceville, Boucher French Bistro serves traditional French cuisine with a wine list to match. Neighbouring Roman restaurant Il Viale shows a love of seafood through the menu. 

Little Beirut Bistro
Little Beirut Bistro

For a quick grab'n'go, NKB Express at Indooroopilly proves a milk bar diner with gourmet burgers, frosty milkshakes, fries and onion rings is still cool, while Little Beirut Bistro serves authentic Lebanese share platters, dips and pizzas, signature shisha and belly dancers on weekends. Gojo Ethiopian is another good oneCome prepared to share, and eat traditionally off a large platter with your hands.

One of the best restaurant views in Brisbane can be found at Hundred Acre Bar in St Lucia. Enjoy weekend brunch, bar bites and seasonal meals while overlooking the golf course. Tocco Italiano turns into a bustling Italian joint by night with woodfired pizza, pasta and desserts – a trip to Italy on a budget in Chelmer. 

Sweet Treats

Lick Ice Cream

Craving an Ekka sundae? Look no further than Lick! Ice Cream in Graceville, the store has been providing delicious ice cream for Brisbane's iconic Ekka sundaes since 2012. Stick with award-winning vanilla bean or try cookies and cream, licorice, salted caramel and passionfruit lemon. 

For a slightly healthier sweet choice, try innovative juice bar Charlies Raw Squeeze  or the Acai Brothers in Kenmore. Both serve fruit topped acai bowls.

Things to do

Lone Pine

Brisbane’s favourite native animal sanctuary is located in the west – it also happens to be the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary. Head to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket to cuddle more than 130 koalas, hand-feed kangaroos without barriers and encounter other Australian wildlife.

St Lucia Golf Links

Whats better than golf on a Sunday? Golf with beer on a Sunday. Grab a few bevvies from the bar and head down the St Lucia Golf Links course with your esky in hand. Each hole is unique, so good luck getting below par on this 19-hole course - the 19th hole being a revisit to the bar. 

If golf isn't your thing, a short trip along Gap Creek Road through the back of Mt Coot-tha will take you to Wattle Creek Riding School in The Gap. It offers private and group sessions for kids and adults. Who knew you could find horse riding bliss in the heart of suburbia?

One Wybelenna

Start your day with a yoga class at Urban Yogi in Kenmore then head into the country feel and quiet suburb of Brookfield for a day spa. One Wybelenna is a boutique health and wellness centre built into an architectural masterpiece. Start in the magnesium spa and pool with a glass of sparkling before heading in for a chocolate scrub or 24kt gold facial – heaven has been found in the west.

Close to One Wybelenna, and home to Wild Canary Cafe, the Brookfield Garden Centre is a gardener’s utopia stocking everything needed for a backyard makeover. Horticulturalists onsite give expert advice or attend one of the workshops to become the expert yourself.

Once a year, the Brookfield Show opens its gates to the public for a countryside fair filled with rides, animals, live music, performances, competitions, food and more. Be stunned as riders brave the bulls in the rodeo event on Friday night – ya’ll better not miss it.  

Nature, wildlife and history

Wander through nature

Located in the hills of Upper Brookfield, Gold Creek Reservoir is the perfect location for your next picnic, bushwalk or inner city dam swim. Discover the bushland with a challenging 5.5km trip around the dam through thick bush before cooling off with a swim – bring a GPS as the hike isn’t well signed.  

Mt Coot-tha walking track

A quieter track up Mt Coot-tha can be found leaving from Chapel Hill. This 2km round trip can be taken at pace for a thigh burn or a leisurely stroll with the family to take in the scenery. 

If hiking through dense bushland isn’t your thing, then a stroll along one of the most beautiful streets in Brisbane sure might be. Laurel Avenue runs through Chelmer to Graceville and with giant camphor laurel trees lining each sidewalk, it’s as pretty as a picture. Riverfront properties and mansions alike make this picturesque street a pleasant walk for the afternoon. 

Rocks Riverside Park
Rocks Riverside Park

There are great parks to visit out west. Families flock to the riverside Sherwood Arboretum to enjoy the natural ambience, playgrounds and picnics areas. Let the kids run wild and roll down the hill as you sit back and enjoy the peaceful nature and wildlife surrounding. 

On the edge of Corinda in Seventeen Mile Rocks lies Rocks Riverside Park, the largest riverfront park in Brisbane. Abundant with nature and picnicking families we suggest making the trip so kids can enjoy the adventure playgrounds, amphitheatre, riverside promenade, bikeways, half-sized basketball court and all around greenery. 

Jacaranda trees
St Lucia jacarandas by Lee Hasking (@imlee_)

The St Lucia area erupts in a sea of purple flowers every October. Walk the streets and take pictures of the fallen flowers that cover the ground in a purple blanket. 

History time

Walter Taylor Bridge
Walter Taylor Bridge

Discover the history behind one of Brisbane’s most unique bridges with the Brisbane Greeter's Walter Taylor Bridge Tour. Operating as a toll bridge for 29 years, the northern tower was originally built to hold the toll keeper and his family, the Greens. After the last of the Greens moved out in 2009, the tower was refurbished and open for tours to the public. 

Afterwards, follow the Indooroopilly Heritage WalkStarting at the Indooroopilly war memorial and finishing at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, the trail map takes you past 17 points of interest. It’s just a 2.7km trip. In Brookfield, delve into life behind the suburb’s devoted pioneers of yesteryear at the Brookfield District Museum. Book ahead and enjoy an old fashioned morning tea. 

Glance into the past at antique and vintage stores Vintage etcetera in Kenmore and Bazaar  and Turn O’the Century antiques in Sherwood. 

By Camilla Coaldrake

Brisbane born and bred, Camilla is a passionate westsider who spends her days finding dogs to pat and dishes up hot Brisbane tips via social media. By night find her running around a field, slurping dumplings or ranking Brisbane’s best cocktail bars. Her favourite cheese is triple cream truffle brie, FYI.

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