Meet a greeter and get a local's introduction to a city, writes Christina Campbell.

This world is full of people like me — complete novices when it comes to Brisbane.

However, there are plenty of ways to get the best from this evolving, vibrant city.

The Greeters Programme operates in 66 cities around the world, based on the idea that your experience of a place is better if you know someone who can show you around.

Brisbane Greeters Tour


My guide Blair Allsopp met me in front of City Hall, just as clock tower bells were chiming. He paused for only a moment when I told him I knew nothing about Brisbane, before rubbing his hands in glee.

He started off by telling me about the first settlers, and that the most recalcitrant of Sydney's convicts were sent to Brisbane.

We stood in front of City Hall, a stately building dating back to 1930, made from sandstone, and with bells from the same foundry as Big Ben. In 2009 it was forced to close for renovations as the roof was leaking, which was set to cost the council $200 million. They called on the public for help to save this much loved landmark, giving residents the option to "over-pay" their rates to contribute to the cost of the refurbishment. More than $20 million was raised, which to date remains the largest fundraising campaign in Australian history for a non-natural disaster... and is Allsopp's favourite story to tell.

An excellent guide, he couldn't walk 20s without an interesting story about Brisbane. His tales ranged from the effort in 1970 to beautify the city, to the Blu Art Xinja — Brisbane's version of Banksy, who climbs buildings and installs blue artworks, much to the fascination of locals and visitors alike.

Gallery Of Modern Art

Allsopp told me a lot about the art and culture change this fantastic gallery has seen over the past 20 years and it was great to get a chance to see its superb collection of international paintings, sculptures and objects. My favourite permanent work was From Hear to Ear (v.13) 2010, by French artist and composer Celeste Boursier-Mougenot — it's a room in which a number of musical instruments have been constructed and finches are able to fly around freely, feeding and making music. Animal lovers need not worry, the birds are checked daily by the Queensland Finch Society. The work is captivating.

If you can make it to Goma before the start of September, the Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe exhibition is a must-see. It explains the transformation of Marvel heroes and adversaries from comic books to the cinema screen, featuring more than 500 artworks from Marvel's archives and private collections. There are more than 60 original costumes, 150 props and some never-before-seen set pieces from the upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok.

If Goma whets your cultural appetite, the Museum of Brisbane and Macarthur Museum are also worth checking out for rainy — or searingly hot, as the case may be — day activities.

Food, Drink, Shopping

When it comes to dining, Brisbane has something to tickle everyone's taste buds. Gerard's Bistro on James St is the place to eat — the atmosphere is relaxed, the staff knowledgeable, but not pushy, and the food will blow your mind. Tip: if you make it to Gerard's for dinner, order the beef brisket for two. Your life will be changed.

With almost 300 days of sunshine every year, it's not difficult to see why rooftop bars have become a "thing" in Brisbane. Sixteen Antlers Rooftop Bar on top of the Mercure Hotel is a great place to have a beverage and take in impressive views of the city.

And for icecream lovers, Mister Fritz in Fortitude Valley is home to a number of handcrafted treats made from fresh milk and free-range eggs, including icecream and brownie sandwiches. Surprisingly refreshing in the heat.

For shopaholics, there's a variety of outlet stores in the greater Brisbane area, and the Queen St mall in the heart of the city is home to more than 700 international and local retailers. Certainly an easy way to spend a day.


There are plenty of events making Brisbane a hot destination this winter, writes Stephanie Holmes.

When: Until June 10.

Starting with the James Boag's Premium Doomben 10,000 Day, the BRC is billed as the biggest racing and social event of the year, with fashion, food and celebrities.

When: June 1-11.

International and Australian performers take the stage at the Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC and Queensland Multicultural Centre, including Paul Kelly, Bill Frisell and Alan Cumming.

When: June 24-July 2.

A festival showcasing the food and wine producers in the Scenic Rim, a foodie destination in Southeast Queensland, featuring free and low-cost events including farm tours, cooking classes and producer dinners.



June 29-July 2.

From London's Covent Garden, The Royal Ballet returns to Australia for the first time in 15 years, as part of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre's 2017 International Series, performing two original works — Woolf Works and The Winter's Tale.

When: July 7-30.

A state-wide celebration of international, national and local musical excellence, with its home base in Brisbane.

When: August 11-20.

Formerly known as the Royal Queensland Show, Ekka began in 1876 attracting 17,000 visitors. It's now Queensland's most celebrated event with annual crowds of about 400,000.

When: September 9-30.

Three weeks of theatre, music, dance, circus, opera and major public events such as Sunsuper Riverfire.

Getting there: Emirates flies a daily A380 service between Auckland and Brisbane.