ANGELA SAURINE reveals the best things to do and places to eat with kids during a stay at Brisbane Hilton
Things to do in Brisbane with kids
On the southern banks of the Brisbane River, the appropriately named South Bank is a great place to start. It’s home to Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach, Streets Beach, which is ideal for children. There’s also a pool, which is also free, the Aquativity Water Park and the Riverside Garden Playground. The Wheel of Brisbane Ferris wheel also offers a great family experience in the area, as does Queensland Museum, which explores the worlds of natural history, science and human achievement. You can also book a kayaking tour or go abseiling or rock climbing with Riverlife Adventure Centre at nearby Kangaroo Point and discover art and history at the Museum of Brisbane in the CBD, which also has some great activities for kids, baby-friendly tours, and school holiday programs.
As well as the riverside City Botanic Gardens, which has some lovely walks and an all-abilities playground, you can drive around 15 minutes from the CBD to Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha at Toowong. The 56-hectare attraction includes a Japanese Garden, Tropical Dome, a playground and the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which has an observatory and hosts entertaining and informative shows.
Where to stay in Brisbane
Located in the Queen Street Mall shopping precinct, Hilton Brisbane makes a great base. It’s walking distance to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including South Bank and the City Botanic Gardens. My four-year-old son Oliver loves riding in the glass elevators, which take guests from the lobby in the Harry Seidler-designed Atrium to their room or suite. I love waking up to a view of the sun glistening on the glass windows of surrounding buildings and seeing the river a few blocks away. Interconnecting rooms are available, and the concierge valet parking offering is a huge plus. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, a 24-hour gym, and the only tennis court in Brisbane’s CBD.
But the main reason we chose to stay here was because of the hotel’s sustainable features. It’s won Best Environmental Practice in the Queensland Hotels’ Association Awards Excellence three times and is committed to Hilton’s global goal of cutting its environmental footprint in half and doubling its social impact investment by 2030. The honey we have on our toast at breakfast comes from one of five hives on the level nine rooftop. The hotel’s bees produce around 500 kilograms of honey each year, which is served in food and drinks, as well as being bottled and given to guests and clients as gifts.
Family-friendly restaurants in Brisbane
The hotel’s Vintaged Bar + Grill is the most convenient place to grab a bite during a stay at the hotel. I feel a bit apprehensive walking in for an early dinner as it doesn’t exactly look family-friendly, but my fears are allayed when the waitress, Yumiko, runs towards Oliver and gives him a big hug and patiently listens as he shows her items from his Paw Patrol showbag from the performance we’d been to that afternoon. Watching the aforementioned glass elevators go up and down provides endless entertainment for Oliver, while I enjoy watching the staff at work in the open kitchen… and fantasising about returning to dine at the chef’s table one day.
The Pancake Manor, which is in a former cathedral built in 1904, has everything from burgers, steak and Greek salad to caterpillar and funny face-themed pancakes for kids. In South Bank’s River Quay dining precinct, check out The Jetty, which also offers hampers for riverside picnics.
Eat Street North Shore is held at a former container wharf in the riverside suburb of Hamilton, around 15 minutes’ drive from the CBD, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Grab a bite from one of the eateries that occupy the repurposed containers and settle in on the fake turf to enjoy the live music and entertainment. There’s also a great bistro in the Victoria Park entertainment precinct, around 10 minutes’ drive away, which has a playground, old farm tractor to sit on and a large wooden cubby house.