Given Brisbane is a pretty small place, you’d probably think it’s pretty straightforward to pick a spot to stay. Having lived here my whole life I tend to go on auto-pilot and don’t really think about the best locations for travellers to base themselves until one of my out-of-town friends asks me. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some insight on the best places to base yourself in Brisbane and the best hotels to stay at during your trip to Brisbane.
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If you don’t have a car, the best place to base yourself in the first instance has to be Brisbane CBD. If you stay in the city you can catch the AirTrain to Central Station from the airport, which may save you money in place of catching a cab. Staying in town gives you easy access to most of what there is to see and do in Brisbane itself. You can catch the free City Hopper along the river to help you get around and walk pretty much everywhere else you need to with great ease, including to South Bank, West End, Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point.
Best places to stay in Brisbane CBD
I’ve stayed at the Meriton Apartments before and really enjoy them, their rooms are always clean and modern with everything you need. The units are fully self-contained which gives you more space than a traditional hotel room and you can save money by preparing a few meals in your room using the kitchenette. It also gives you a chance to catch up on your laundry if you’re travelling for a while. Meriton has two Brisbane CBD locations, one on Adelaide Street and the other on Herschel Street. What I also like about these places is you get great views of the city, Southbank or the Storey Bridge and beyond, depending on which location you stay at.
If a serviced apartment isn’t your thing, check out NEXT Hotel. I spent a night at NEXT earlier this year and reviewed it, which you can read here. The hotel is very modern and comfortable and is smack bang in the middle of everything, set right above the Queen Street Mall. It gives you easy walking access to Southbank and all the big shops and you can easily walk in the other direction to access Fortitude Valley and all the fun, food and bars of Eagle Street.
If you want to avoid staying in the middle of the city, then Southbank could be the spot for you. It’s a slower pace and, in my opinion, a little bit warmer as you don’t have the buildings of the city nearby. Also, if you’re the kind of person that likes to look at a city line this is a good spot for you as you will be able to see Brisbane city better. Southbank has a great night and day scene, there are loads of restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes to choose from and heaps of fun to be had during the day along the river. It only takes 10 – 15 minutes to walk into the CBD and you can catch the free City Hopper too or get on board a City Cat to go further.
Best place to stay in Southbank
Mantra Southbank offers great self-contained apartments, giving the chance to spread out and, again, save money by preparing meals in your room. Some rooms have fantastic views of Brisbane city all lit up at night, the perfect place to have a glass of wine and watch the city go from day to night. All the action of Southbank is right on your doorstep and easy walking distance, including the great restaurants and bars nearby.
If you’ve been to Brisbane before, are visiting on business or just want to stay somewhere that doesn’t have that ‘big hotel’ feel to it, then a stay in New Farm might suit you. It’s a chance to stay somewhere and feel like a local for a few days, rather than getting lost in the city. New Farm is a more quiet, chilled out part of town that is still right near the city. There’s a fantastic food and cafe scene in New Farm and you can access Fortitude Valley on foot or catch a 10-minute cab ride, or less, to the heart of the city.
Best place to stay in New Farm
As a huge fan of all the Spicers Hotel groups, I have to recommend Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm as the best place to stay. The hotel isn’t like a hotel at all, it’s really cosy and comfortable but completely luxurious too. The restaurant is absolutely incredible, serving amazing food and wine. There’s so much to do and see around the area, you can walk down to New Farm Park, stroll along the river or up to Moray Street to see Brisbane from a different angle. I go here from time to time just to meet someone for a glass of wine or food, it’s really comfortable, cool and enjoyable.
Useful travel resources for your trip to Australia
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Agoda – for booking hotels
Booking.com – for booking hotels
Airbnb – for booking apartments
Skyscanner – for booking flights
RentalCars.com – for car rentals
Motorhome Republic – for booking RVs
TourRadar – for booking tours
Uber – for ground transport
SCTI – for travel insurance