Slip on some sports shoes, sip on a macchiato or sup on some of the finest food in Brisbane. The neighbourhood of New Farm is where you'll find the good life.
By Jac Taylor
One of the most exclusive and sought-after of Brisbane's inner city suburbs, New Farm makes the most of its incredible riverfront location with a wealth of open spaces and an obvious love for the good life. This enclave of tree-lined streets, elaborate raised Queenslander houses (recognisable for their breezy wraparound verandas and ornate timber detailing) and gourmet treats in cafés and delis has long been known as Brisbane's Little Italy. But its history as one of the city's oldest precincts, its spot nestled in the bend of the river, and a rich arts scene mean there is much more to New Farm than meets the eye.
- Admire the famous Queenslander architecture (and stay in a Queenslander at Spicers Balfour hotel)
- Take some time out in New Farm Park, one of Brisbane's favourite picnic spots
- Enjoy a dining scene that ranges from the precinct's traditional Italian to fine contemporary cuisine
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Top things to do in New Farm
Indulge your sweet tooth
Right next to the famous New Farm cinemas, you’ll find the sweet spot of New Farm – literally. On one side, New Farm Confectionery serves up sugary treats such as homemade nougat, Belgian chocolate-coated honeycomb and an impressive range of milkshakes, from salted caramel to raspberry and chocolate, best enjoyed in the sunshine out the front. On the other side, the buttery smells emanating from the ovens of Parisian-style boulangerie and patisserie Chouquette hint at authentic breads, flaky pastries and seasonally flavoured eclairs.
Shop for a little local style
A piece of chic New Farm style to take home with you is only a shopping trip away. Visit the showroom of renowned interior designer Anna Spiro, Black & Spiro, for inspirational homewares, textiles and antiques. For provincial-style furnishings, lamps and cushions, French and English is a must visit. New Farm Editions is packed to the rafters with books, homewares, gifts and keepsakes, while the Edwina Corlette Gallery curates some of the best contemporary local art in the city – with plenty in the stockroom for sale.
Take a perfume masterclass
The scent of luxury lingers throughout Libertine Parfumerie, New Farm's beautiful perfume boutique, and the experience doesn't end with simply buying a fragrance. This very specialised emporium works hard to stock some of the rarest perfumes and associated scented products in the world. But guests can also try a one hour masterclass that takes a journey through the history of perfume and the complicated and fascinating business of choosing a scent that most perfectly complements you. A glass of champagne completes the experience in appropriately stylish fashion.
Dine in fine fashion
As the brilliant Queensland sun strengthens, breakfast out is a popular local activity. Eat colourful, flower-strewn fruit salad at Pablo, or smashed avocado and roasted beetroot at funky and health-loving Little Loco. All-day breakfast can turn seamlessly into Italian-style lunch and excellent coffee at New Farm Deli, or settle into the traditional European dining room of The Continental café for chilli-salt cuttlefish or a pork belly, apple and blue cheese sandwich. Get cosy with contemporary Australian share plates and a local microbrew at Bitter Suite as the day wears on, or relax in classic alfresco style with classic cocktails alongside cheese and charcuterie boards at the airy Gaslight Bistro.
Stay at Spicers Balfour hotel
For those who want to add a local vibe to their luxury stay, Spicers Balfour is a breath of fresh air. On the outside, this is one of the area's most beautiful Queenslander houses. On the inside, each of the boutique hotel's rooms is exquisitely styled, from the Art Deco finery of the Balfour suites to chic designer furnishings in the queen and king rooms, with cutting-edge artworks throughout. Dine alfresco among the frangipanis in the courtyard or on the veranda –the sophisticated Balfour Kitchen serves three meals a day inside and out. Don't miss enjoying a cocktail up in the rooftop bar.
Enjoy the Brisbane Powerhouse
This old power station has been transformed into an active, contemporary arts venue that stages everything from live comedy and music acts to community festivals and visual arts exhibitions. Combine your visit with a drink or an Italian bite to eat at the much awarded Bar Alto, or across the road in the Powerhouse complex at the slick, neo-industrial Watt. Every Saturday morning the famous Jan Powers food markets take over the front of the complex. Open-air Moonlight Cinema does the same each evening throughout summer.
Get active in the great outdoors
A picnic beneath the vibrant, purple jacaranda blossoms of New Farm Park is almost a local institution. There's also free tai chi, and families will love the adventure playground among the iconic Moreton Bay fig trees. The equally iconic 870 metre (951 yard) Riverwalk is a wide pedestrian and cycling "highway" that overlooks and even juts out over the river all the way into the city from New Farm. Join Brisbane's CityCycle bike hire network for free half hour bike hire to enjoy the waterfront areas on two wheels. There are more than 10 CityCycle stations in New Farm alone, including Sydney Street ferry stop and New Farm Park.
How to get there
New Farm is a five minute drive from the centre of Brisbane by taxi, or a 35 minute walk via Fortitude Valley (head up Ann Street and then turn right and walk down Brunswick Street). You could also hire one of the city's CityCycle bikes from Albert Street mall in the city and cycle along the water's edge – it's a 20 minute bike ride to New Farm – or take the number 199 bus from the city centre. Arguably the most scenic way to get here, however, is on the CityCat ferry. Board at North Quay 1, South Bank 1, QUT or Riverside ferry stop, and alight at Sydney Street or New Farm Park.