After a frenetic few weeks in New Zealand, we figured Brisbane was our chance to kick back and relax a little. Alright, alright, I can hear the heckles already. Yes it’s a five month holiday, but it’s hard work getting up for all those sunrises, traversing all those beautiful landscapes, and being all-round intrepid explorers (!).

As soon as we landed, we knew we’d entered a new phase of our trip. Bye, bye chilly mornings and snowy mountains, hello sunny days and glorious beaches. The Sunshine State definitely lives up to its name.

In Brisbane we pottered, drank a lot of coffee1, and, somewhat unexpectedly, salsa danced. We exhibited zero inherent talent, but it was rather fun! On Thursday nights, local nightspot Cloudland hosts free salsa lessons. After a minor diversion to a suburban part of town to visit Cloudland Apartments (not the right place), we found the slick bar, complete with chandeliers, bird cage bars and an array of indoor shrubbery. Undeniably jaw-dropping when you first walk in – it somehow managed to be completely over-the-top without looking over done. All praise to their interior designer.

Then, on Friday nights, Brisbane’s central square sashays to latin tunes as a hundred people display their fancy (or not-so-fancy) footwork a deux. After our practice-run in clubland, we got to show off our steps in front of the whole town. Fortunately, everyone was far too busy giggling at their own footwork to notice ours. Just as well.

Brisbane is a lovely place. It has all the features I look for in a city – water, hills, shops and bustle. It has all the good bits of any cultural capital – decent museums, theatre, music, events. Only it’s all scaled down and squished together into this wonderfully compact, liveable city. It oozes with normal life. Oh and the sun shines all the time. Even in winter. Take that Sydney.

  1. Having now drunk pretentious coffee in a number of continents, I have come to the conclusion that exposed brickwork, steel rafters, chill-out-early-morning-at-a-rave soundtrack and hipster baristas have been rather over done. I anticipate a return to builders tea, chintsy china and paper doilies – you heard it here first.