If you love art, music, and mellow city life, then make your way to Brisbane, Australia, one of the country’s most underrated destinations. The city has great restaurants and cafes, a humming nightlife scene, and is just a stone’s throw away from incredible beaches, National Parks, and outdoor adventures. Brisbane is easily one of Australia’s most exciting and livable cities. It’s such a great city that we chose to base ourselves here for over 3 years during our stint living in Australia.
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For us, it’s home, but for many travelers, it is a common stopover before venturing further north to explore the rest of beautiful Queensland.
While planning your trip, you’ll certainly wonder where to stay in Brisbane, Australia since there are so many diverse neighbourhoods and accommodation options. This post breaks down our top recommendations for places to stay in Brisbane city and why we love them.
Where to Stay in Brisbane, Australia
West End & South Brisbane
The West End and South Brisbane are two neighbourhoods located on the south side of the Brisbane River. They’re both essentially surrounded by the river, making them suitable areas to stay in Brisbane, Australia if you want to be walking distance to the city.
West End is alternative and edgy. It is known as the artist and student neighbourhood in Brisbane. This is our favourite neighbourhood in Brisbane and its where we used to live for over 3 years. The neighbourhood’s main drag, Hardgrave Road, is filled with cheap restaurants, alternative shops and plays host to a number of markets depending on the season. This area is also where you’ll find Brisbane’s biggest market – West End Market.
South Brisbane is closer to the center of town and has amazing views of the city across the river. This area is more upscale compared to West End and features lots of green spaces and great places to eat. One of the best things to do in this area is to visit the Southbank Parklands, 17 hectares of riverfront land, that features free swimming facilities, walking tracks, licensed picnic areas and more.
Best Hotels in West End and South Bank
- Luxury: The Emporium Hotel is a boutique luxury eco-hotel located in South Bank, right on the river overlooking the city. It has an excellent restaurant and bar, as well as a rooftop infinity pool.
- Mid-Range: If you’re looking for a clean, modern, and affordable choice on the south bank, choose the Riverside Hotel. It offers rooms, apartments, and suites, and it’s right next to a number of museums and theatres.
- Budget: Brisbane Backpackers Resort is a fun hostel in the center of these two neighbourhoods. Aside from all the usual hostel amenities, it also has an outdoor pool, basketball court, a computer lab, and ping pong and pool tables.
Perhaps the coolest part of town, Fortitude Valley is just where to stay in Brisbane, Australia if you’re looking for some fun and excitement. The best nightlife can be found here thanks to countless cool bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Fortitude Valley is considered the cultural centre of Brisbane. It’s home to Brisbane Chinatown, a European section, and many other multicultural venues. There are often markets here on weekends, as well as a fun music scene. Generally, this neighbourhood draws a young crowd and has plenty of shopping areas and quirky boutiques, too.
Where to Stay in Fortitude Valley
- Luxury: The Fantauzzo is an art series hotel located right under the Story Bridge in Fortitude Valley. The design is dark and striking with plenty of art and edgy statement pieces.
- Mid-Range: Self-described as a “luxury bed and breakfast,” One Thornbury Boutique Bed & Breakfast is an awesome place to stay if you’re looking for something a bit different than a standard hotel. You’ll be staying in a cozy room in a cottage-style house surrounded by a garden.
- Budget: Bunk Brisbane is a modern hostel with an eye for design. It’s right in the center of the nightlife in Fortitude Valley.
Spring Hill and CBD (Central Business District)
Spring Hill, also known as the CBD or the Central Business District in Brisbane. We’ll be honest, there’s not too much going on in Spring Hill as far as nightlife or culture. However, if you want to be close to transportation links with easy access to other parts of the city and of the greater Brisbane area, then staying in Spring Hill can be a good option.
The Brisbane CBD is the business area just to the south of Spring Hill. The neighbourhood’s main attraction is the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and the Mayer Centre shopping area. There are also a number of decent restaurants and a few pubs and bars that are particularly lively on Friday nights with the Brisbane 9-5 working crowd.
Where to Stay in Brisbane CBD and Spring Hill
- Luxury: In what was once a doctor’s office, you’ll now find the Ovolo Inchcolm, a quirky and sophisticated design hotel. The museum-like interior is sure to impress you while you enjoy their bar and restaurant. They offer rooms, suites, and lofts.
- Mid-Range: Next Hotel is everything you could ask for in a clean, modern hotel at an affordable rate. Stay for the awesome bar, timeless charm, great food, and rooftop pool.
- Budget: The Pacific Hotel is a surprisingly affordable 4-star hotel located right next to the park in Spring Hill. It’s a simplistic and lovely place to stay, all while being easy on your wallet.
This small, triangle-shaped neighbourhood just to the west of Spring Hill is an excellent option for where to stay in Brisbane, Australia. Its main claim to fame is Caxton Street, an especially fun place to be on weekends. Here, you can go to the Suncorp Stadium for a game, eat at a boisterous pub, or stroll in one of the many nearby public parks.
Where to Stay in Petrie Terrace
- Luxury: The Gambaro Hotel is a luxury accommodation located right next to the stadium and within close proximity to awesome local restaurants. The interior is elegant and the rooms are huge.
- Mid-Range: Ibis Hotels are a great option for a business hotel, and the one in Petrie Terrace is no different. It’s classy and modern and has its own bar, restaurant, and meeting rooms.
- Budget: YHA is one of our favourite hostel chains in Australia. YHA Brisbane is pretty luxurious as far as hostels go, and it boasts great views of the river and city skyline.
Brisbane is one of our favourite cities in Australia and is sadly overlooked by many travelers in Queensland. It may not be a city with a ton of tourist attractions, but it has a great atmosphere, lots of art, awesome food, and stellar weather. If it’s not on your Australia itinerary, we highly recommend you add it!