Two weeks ago I shared my first article for the #PaintTheTownFord Challenge, a rural escape to beautiful Maleny with two of my best friends. This week I’m showing you around my hometown of Brisbane, with a driving tour in the Ford EcoSport Titanium and some on-foot sightseeing too! Making the below video I imagined you were my guest visiting Brisbane and I was showing you around in the EcoSport, the video captures the heart and soul of our pretty little city and the vibe that beats through it at this time of year. So, hop in and enjoy!
There are so many things to love about Brisbane, to start with it has a big heart and feels like an overgrown Queensland country town. The Brisbane River wraps around the city like a ribbon, a pulse winding from the south-west to the north-east and out to Moreton Bay. In spring and summer we all flock to the riverside for food, drinks and to catch up with friends in the warm sunshine.
In Brisbane, everyone knows each other one way or another which seems frustrating at first, but ends up being great because you always see someone you know and when there’s a large event on, like a food festival, all your friends are there.
While most people are quite happy living in big cities, I love living in Brisbane and know it’s where I’ll always base myself. I love how close everything is, you can always jump in your car and get to where you need to be quite easily. I love the way houses are built to accommodate the warm weather, with huge verandahs for barbecue lunches with friends and timber floors to keep you cool in the scorching summer months. I love how we all hide when it’s cold or raining, everyone retreats indoors and if you venture outside you feel like you’re in a ghost town. I especially love the buzz that starts to build around this time of year, when the days are getting longer and warmer and all you want to do is jump in your car and head to the beach with your mates.
If you drive through the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and over the Story Bridge in the afternoon, the warm sunlight bounces off the CBD buildings, throwing crystal blue and copper reflections across the water. Driving through Fortitude Valley and the James Street Precinct you’ll find bright, bold street art taking up the sides of buildings or cheekily nestled on the side of a cafe or down an alley way.
At this time of year everyone can’t wait to get outside, so we line the streets in the afternoon, sitting at sidewalk settings at pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes enjoying the crisp evening air with ice-cold beers and food inspired by fresh spring produce. Heavy, stodgy meals are replaced with zesty salads, fresh seafood and tart desserts. The end of winter also brings with it the Brisbane Festival, running from early September to late September.
The festival includes live music, theatre, dance, circus, comedy, cabaret, visual arts, talks and more, events which are spread out across Brisbane, drawing people out of their winter slump and gearing them up for a great summer. It culminates in SunSuper Riverfire, one of my favourite events of the year. It’s a 30-minute fireworks extravaganza on the last night of Brisbane Festival, supported with flyovers from the roaring SuperHornets and Helicopter displays. The fireworks go for so long I usually have to sit down and have a break, then get back up and keep watching. Families and friends line SouthBank and the Cliffs all day, staking out a good spot for the main event. It’s more than a once-a-year event, it’s a community celebration.
Living in Brisbane comes with an outdoors lifestyle I adore and missed dearly when I lived abroad. Every Saturday we drive to the Rocklea Markets for locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers and organic/free-range meat. Weekends also bring a whole host of other outdoor activities, like strolling down to SouthBank for drinks overlooking the water, perusing the night market or enjoying an event like Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema with live music from bands like Husky and free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream on Sundays!
When the weather gets really hot in December and January, we wait until the sun goes down then ride our bikes along the bike paths which wind along the river. At 8pm there’s a cool breeze that sweeps off the water and there’s hardly anybody else around, we ride for a while then stop at a cafe at SouthBank for an ice-cold fruit frappe then ride home again, laughing and talking the whole way.
Sometimes, on a Sunday afternoon, it’s nice just to go for a drive. We all pile into the car and head out to Redcliffe to catch the last of the light and be near the water. Other times we drive up to Mt Coot-tha to watch the sunset and remind ourselves how small our CBD is and how vast the rest of Brisbane is compared to it. I like how small the CBD is, it means the ‘work’ side of life is much smaller in comparison to our living space, which I hope means we enjoy ourselves more than we work.
Taking myself and you on a driving tour of Brisbane gave me a chance to really test the Ford EcoSport Titanium out on the Brisbane lifestyle, a mix of urban living and outdoor adventures. It was essential the car be zippy enough to weave through small streets, into tight car parks and hold its own in heavy traffic but also be able to open up and remain comfortable on longer drives to the beach, winding up to Mt Coot-tha or loaded up with my purchases from the markets.
How did it stand up? Well, it nailed it! The little demon is business on the outside and comfort on the inside, meaning hidden inside its sporty exterior is luxury and comfort. The leather seats are comfy and easy to adjust and everything you need is just a touch of a button away, including the ignition. SYNC technology means you can hook up your phone and stay connected while buzzing around town, without having to take your eyes off the road, and you can play your music straight off your phone without an adaptor.
The car easily whipped around the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, through Fortitude Valley and the city then zinged up Mt Coot-tha with ease. It really made getting around easy, by being nimble moving through traffic then comfortable on longer, winding journeys. For someone like me who prefers to drive a smaller car, but still wants the big car space and features, it’s the perfect mix! The EcoSport stood up to every test I put it through and transitioned smoothly from inner-city to adventure mode without skipping a beat.
In case you couldn’t tell, I absolutely loved writing this post and want to say a huge thank you to Ford for giving me the platform to share my love of Brisbane and show you around too.