While we've had our eye on other things over the past 12 months, something big has been happening in Brisbane.
A degustation of chefs, a muddle of mixologists and a mash-up of brewers have come to the party with new craft and casual, luxe and louche eating and drinking spots – many found in the city's re-wired lifestyle precincts.
Says Adam Penberthy, owner of City Winery, which turns grapes into vintages at a micro-winery in urban Fortitude Valley: "There's no better time to be coming to Brisbane, to be honest. The landscape's changed – some really exciting openings of new restaurants, new bars, new concepts."
Penberthy says the best way for Kiwi visitors to enjoy Brisbane is to wander its intimate and accessible neighbourhoods.
"A really interesting day out for visitors is to stay in the city, walk to Howard Smith Wharves, have a beer or a wine at Felons (brewery and gastropub), take the elevators up the cliffs, cut down to Fortitude Valley and taste some wine at City Winery, then head down to the heritage area at Newstead and try one of the wine bars or breweries there."
Penberthy and winemaker Dave Cush opened City Winery last year, Brisbane's first inner-city winery since 1860. They have just opened their fourth venue at the Eagle Street Pier.
"We're one of only two urban wineries in Australia that has a food offering along with the wine-tasting. Consumers can get involved with the wine, they can come down and stomp on the grapes, taste the wine while it's fermenting in the tank and be part of the entire process from the grape all the way through to the glass.
"We also offer experiences like a wine-blending workshop, food and wine pairing masterclasses, cheese and wine pairing masterclasses. Kiwi visitors can have a really interesting food and wine experience in Brissie."
The city also has its first grain-to-glass artisan distillery, creating gins, rums and botanical vodkas, and you also know it's a great beverage scene when one beer-fanciers' website lists "the 23 best craft breweries in Brisbane".
The new openings and respected favourites underline Brisbane as one of Australia's most exciting places to dine. Right now it feels someone's opening a new bar, restaurant or café every week. Names like Maya, La Costa Bar and Restaurant, La Valle, Agnes and Bianca are on everyone's lips - or Instagram feed.
Over the past few years Brisbane has re-invented itself, a makeover only likely to get bigger and better with Brisbane named "preferred host" for the 2032 Olympics.
Once-unloved riverbank warehouses beneath the Story Bridge have been transformed into the hot Howard Smith Wharves dining and lifestyle precinct. It's much more than bars and restaurants – though there are plenty of those, plus a boutique arts hotel and brewery – as it hosts event venues in heritage buildings, outdoor spaces for pop-ups, weekend markets and concerts. Cycling, kayaking and walking are common pursuits.
Cleverly, its cliffside elevators take visitors to and from Fortitude Valley and marvellously made-over James Street. Formerly used car yards and decayed buildings, it's now a tree-lined, vine-laden boulevard of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars and new hotels.
Away from the high streets, many of the CBD and Fortitude Valley's lanes bring new meaning to the word "liveliness". In Fish Lane, running from South Bank deep into original suburbs, cafes, bars, artisans, street art line the cobblestones; Wandering Cooks is a kitchen, outdoor dining-room and venue for food entrepreneurs and wandering musicians.
Seek out Burnett Lane near Queen St Mall, Gresham and Albert Lanes near Central Station for a caffeine kickstarter or a late-night bar hop. In Fortitude Valley, Winn, Bakery and California lanes are home to boutiques, art and artisan food and drink.
Penberthy says Kiwi visitors must check out Eagle Street Pier, another revitalised spot: "There's a whole bunch of new openings and the whole precinct is alive. There are people everywhere, restaurants are full, you're out on the river, blue sky, no cloud – it's great."
Boasting almost 300 sunny days a year, Brisbane is home to an impressive line-up of al fresco rooftop bars. In Fortitude Valley is Limes, Turkish-inspired street food and cocktails in a pastel shisha lounge at Dirty Sultan; Cielo, Elixir and newcomer Iris – a bar and 200-seat restaurant atop the new Hotel X. On the ground floor, the same folk have French-inspired Bisou Bisou; in the CBD, the superb fusion eatery Donna Chang is housed in a heritage bank.
Whatever your taste, it's clear Brisbane should be on your to-do list.