Brisbane has been thriving with things to do in 2022. We’ve seen a slew of new venue openings, events popping up around the city, and hidden gems uncovered. Out of all the places we went to this year, a bunch stood out to us. Let’s take a look at the best spots we visited in and near Brisbane in 2022.
The Enchanted Garden + Staycation at Pullman King George Square
The Enchanted Garden has got to be one of Brisbane’s most spectacular events, and this year was no different. The light display enveloped the plants, trees and gardens in a kaleidoscope of colours and light for an incredible trip.
Visitors were guided through the parkland via a narrative journey that celebrates the Eastern Water Dragons of the parkland. To showcase the theme, the Roma Street Parkland came to life as we experienced over 22,000 square metres shines, sparkles and twinkles in the evening.
For the 2022 event, we treated ourselves to a night’s stay at Pullman King George Square.
River to Bay brings the bar to you on their boat tours. You can cruise along the Brisbane River on their cocktail or brewery cruises, taking in the city skyline whilst stopping at some of Brisbane’s best venues. Or, if you really want an escape, we recommend hopping aboard their Champagne and Oyster Tour. Eat freshly shucked oysters straight from the sea, sip on champas, spot wildlife, and enjoy the views out to Moreton Island and beyond.
Pink is always in, and Kusuka Corner is all over it. After becoming a cult favourite in Sydney, this Indonesian-inspired café/eatery has moved to Brisbane, opening its doors in Sunnybank’s Market Square. Instagrammable food and drinks, pretty pink interiors – what more could you want on your next dining date?
Kusuka Corner’s food and drinks are as vibrant as the venue’s interiors. Some of our favourite foodie delights were the crumbed risoles packed with pastrami and creamy egg, the Nasi goreng, cassavaganzas with truffle mayo, as well as a drink named Somewhere In The Clouds, which is an iced blend of taro, coconut, and almond milk.
When it comes to a beachside escape from Brisbane, a hot favourite is heading south just a couple of hours to the idyllic Byron Bay. When summer comes rolling in and we want to be as close to the coast as possible, luxury resort Crystalbrook Byron becomes an ample mix of forest and sea. A spot to relax and reflect, all the while beating the crowds.
Crystalbrook Byron gives you the chance to be still, let go, eat quality local ingredients, and enjoy a reset in nature. The resort is located just outside of town, close to Broken Head, with a restaurant, bar, gym, and wellness activities all on-site.
When it comes to Brisbane city rooftop bars, Sixteen Antlers is a given on any list of sky-high drinking holes. As the city skyline is lit up with sunset hues, you can sink into one of the many booths with views of the cityscape and beyond and order cocktail jugs to share with your favourite people.
The wine and beer list is succinct but serves up enough variety to satiate everyone’s tastebuds and the food menu offers a range of grazing plates to share, more substantial offerings to tuck into and plenty of tapas to nibble at. Expect to hear live acoustic sounds on Fridays from 5pm and DJs on the ones and two from 6pm on Saturdays.
Out of all the venue openings this year, Soak Bathhouse came out on top for the Secret Brisbane community. And with good reason: it’s Brisbane’s first ever rooftop bathhouse. We love our rooftop bars, but we’ve never gotten a rooftop bathhouse before, so we were all excited about that.
Soak Bathhouse changes the way people visit the spa, transforming the experience into a social activity you can make part of your wellness lifestyle with friends and family. Soak’s new outlet boasts epic views of the city, a rooftop sundeck to lap up the rays, and lush relaxation gardens. Take a dip in one of seven mineral pools, sweat it out in the sauna and treat yourself to a range of pampering offerings such as massages and LED facials.
Developed in partnership with NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Space and Rocket Center, Neighbourhood Earth takes a look at our place in the universe, looks back at past exploratory missions and looks toward what’s on the horizon for us human beings in space.
Spark your imagination, satiate your curiosity and take a selfie in front of a Mercurian double sunrise or a blue Martian sunset as a memento of your visit.
A trip to the cinema and an art exhibition in one, Neighbourhood Earth is an interactive activation for anyone interested in learning more about space exploration.
Maho Magic Bar was a surprising sparkle to our social calendar this year. During the Brisbane Festival period, we were transported to the bright lights of Tokyo in a neon-tastic bar that doubled as a magic show! Performed by a magnificent ensemble of Japan’s finest master magicians – all of whom bring their own unique flair – the Maho Magic Bar show was an astounding spectacle that had our jaws on the floor.
Out of all the new restaurant openings in 2022, Mediterranean pop-up restaurant Besitos from the Bellissimo coffee crew has been a favourite in the Brisbane dining scene. And with good reason. Small plates that pack a flame-driven flavour hit, delicious wine to pair, and friendly service – you can’t go wrong. We’re hoping for another Besitos pop up in 2023 *fingers crossed*.
Fridays have been getting a whole weirder thanks to Westoria, the new night market that’s landed in West End. Prepare to escape the city (mentally) and step into a world way more bizarre and unexpected than the one you’re used to.
Two themed spaces, interactive roving entertainers, live music, fire twirlers, and stilt walkers to set the scene. There’s also a dance floor that runs until midnight, for the night owls.
Za Za Ta
When it comes to vegetarian and vegan eats, Za Za Ta in Fortitude Valley. The Middle Eastern-inspired dishes are both creative and delicious, the dining atmosphere is immaculate, and the wine and cocktail list is curated to perfection. Trust us when we say, you need to try the halloumi doughnuts and the pumpkin dumplings!
Za Za Ta was also named Queensland’s best vegetarian restaurant in the 2022 Delicious. 100 list, and we think it’s absolutely deserved.
Toscano Bar & Kitchen
If you’re looking for authentic Italian cuisine, look no further than Toscano Bar & Kitchen. Inspired by the traditional culinary traditions of South Italy, this sophisticated bar and restaurant boasts gorgeous dark green interiors to backdrop your dining experience.
We started off with some cocktails, our favourite being the Tooth Fairy: a tasty mix of Tanqueray gin, absinth, peach, and lemon thyme. The food is of high quality, from the starter bites to mains. The mushroom and truffle arancini is a must-try, as is the Nonna’s recipe Polpette meatballs and spicy pork Nduja Ravioli.
The Italian wines paired perfectly with our mains too. We highly recommend Toscano for an Italian lunch or dinner in Brisbane!
Plant Vibes Café in Bowen Hills is one of the loveliest vegan eateries we’ve ever been to. Delicious plant-based food, brunch cocktails – you really can’t go wrong. Our favourite savoury dish was the Big Breakfast served with tofu scramble, potato chive cake, avo, mushrooms, grilled tomato and hollandaise sauce. Their vegan chocolate doughnut is also a must-try if you’ve got a sweet tooth!
Set in a Queenslander with pretty pink interiors, Plant Vibes is the perfect spot for brunch with the gang.
Maggie May is the new 70s-inspired supper club that opened up at Gasworks in Newstead this year. A casual dining experience complete with delicious eats as well as cocktails and wine to pair. The interiors are simply gorgeous too, paying homage to the 70s with warm hues of mustard, golden brown and teal.