October 02, 2018

South Bank - Brisbane's Vibrant Cultural Heart

South Bank is loved by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, but there are many things only locals know about! This guide is designed to give you a Mercurious insiders guide to South Bank, and help you plan your day out while staying with us at Mercure Brisbane!

South Bank is the beating, thriving cultural heart of Brisbane City.

Located directly across the river from Mercure Brisbane, South Bank’s fabulous dining, entertainment and arts precinct is just minutes away!

Getting there

Turn left out of the hotel towards the Casino. Cross the Victoria Bridge to reach the heart of South Bank, 17 hectares of lush parklands, world-class eateries and fantastic River Views, all graciously watched over by the famous Wheel of Brisbane. Views from atop the 60 metre tall Ferris wheel allow a fantastic perspective of the river and Brisbane City.

Wheel of Brisbane


Arts & Entertainment

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is unmissable, positioned directly behind the Wheel of Brisbane, where you can catch world-class performances in a spectacular location. Check out what's coming up soon at QPAC's website: www.qpac.com.au.

Nearby is the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), which hold over 17,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art. Both galleries also stage dynamic programs of Australian and international exhibitions. Visit here to see QAGOMA's current exhibitions: www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

Within the same precinct, the Queensland Museum & Sciencecentre welcome visitors to connect with Queensland, its people and its place in the world. The Sciencecentre provides fun, innovative and educational public programs, especially for the kids! Check out the latest public, early child-hood and school-holiday activities currently running: www.qm.qld.edu.au


Food & Drink

South Bank is home to some of Brisbane's most exciting eateries and bars. Explore Little Stanley Street and River Quay Green for a plethora dining options, including cheap quick bites, fine dining and a huge range of international cuisines. 

Here are a couple of places to try, which the Brissy locals are loving right now!

Don't let the smelly connotations of the name mislead you from this hidden gem - Fish Lane is home to some of Brisbane's most inventive and creative fine dining. Wander along the lane to find an eclectic mix of fine dining, craft beer bars, Asian fusion and delectable desserts. A great night at Fish Lane starts at Saccharomyces Beer Café for a fantastic local brew or two, before strolling along the lane to Julius Pizzeria for authentic pizza, pasta and Italian cocktails. Keeping on the Italian theme, the famous Gelato Messina is a must for a couple of delicious scoops before turning in for the night. Best of all, a restful and comfortable night in your wonderful room at Mercure Brisbane is under 10 minutes walk away!

fish lane


Mercurious Local's tip:

Walking away from South Bank towards the western end of Fish Lane, you will find a relatively hidden gem...

The Wandering Cooks is a hub for Brisbane's food community, providing a platform for local artisan food producers, buyers, chef and suppliers to provide the public with fantastic, inventive culinary creations. The relaxed atmosphere of the Wandering Cook's kitchens hosts regular pop-up events, all accompanied perfectly with locally produced wines, spirits and craft beers, and a rotating food roster featuring over 13 different small food business'.

Wandring Cooks


Owned and operated by popular Australian craft brewers James Squire, The Charming Squire is a local's favourite, and is perfect for a great meal before catching a show across the road at QPAC. The Charming Squire 'features a venue design that evokes a sense of history and storytelling, an inspired menu and the full range of James Squire craft beers and ciders on tap.' They even brew a few exclusive and limited edition beers onsite!

Tipplers Tap has made a name for itself amongst locals through being 'the answer to every craft beer lover seeking a new local haunt.' The bar is set with a rustic backdrop, and showcases an impressive rotation of local beers. The menu is inspired by the Chicago street food scene, featuring hotdogs and sliders. Tipplers Tap offers a relaxed and warm environment, complete with a Pacman and Pinball machine. Definitely make this place a stop on your night exploring South Bank.


Local Stories

  • South Bank's Parkland Gardens features the iconic Arbour, which is made up of 403 curled posts that follow the path of an old stream that used to flow through the Parklands site, from its original landscape design in the 1990s. The Parklands horticulture team trim sections of the Park every month, so its stunning pink flowers bloom all year round.

  • Streets Beach might be a man-made phenomenon, but it’s geographically accurate! The 4000 cubic metres of sand that make up the shoreline and base of the pool is sourced from the Rous Channel in nearby Moreton Bay, so is very like the sand you’d find on the ocean shores of other parts of Brisbane, like Wynnum and Sandgate. 

  • The Plough Inn is one of Brisbane’s oldest watering holes! Built in 1885, The Plough Inn was originally a hotel and eatery before becoming one of the two preferred drinking sites for the wharfies who worked on the docks (the other being The Ship Inn, at the southern end of the Parklands). The pub was retained during World Expo '88’s festivities and still operates as a prominent bar, restaurant and function space right in the heart of South Bank. 


At the end of your day exploring South Bank, returning to the Mercure Brisbane offers beautiful views of the cultural precinct, accompanied by the bright and colourful lights from the new permanent art exhibit at GOMA.