I pull back the heavy curtains to reveal the million-dollar sweeping views across the Brisbane River – her centrepiece lit up in all its glory.
The Heritage-Listed Story Bridge is a magnificent landmark and from here, I can truly appreciate the magnitude of Australia’s largest steel bridge as it twinkles and shines against the dark night sky.
The street below appears to almost be alive as people of all ages swarm the narrow sidewalk, weaving in and out of the bars and restaurants.
I can hear soft beats drifting from above and I know that the evening is well and truly underway in the glamorous urban oasis that is Fiume Rooftop Bar.
I was lucky enough to while away a couple of hours there earlier in the day – spoilt by the views and terrific cocktail menu. This is Brisbane’s hottest precinct – the ever-cool and stylish Howard Smith Wharves, home to one of Queensland’s most sought-after hotels.
The five-star luxury and sustainable Crystalbrook Vincent hotel is the shining crown in the precinct. Score a room here and you will be envied by many.
Crystalbrook Vincent (formerly called The Fantauzzo, has more than 500 stunning prints by famed artist Vincent Fantauzzo on display) is sophistication in a nutshell. With its wide range of accommodation options and an environmentally conscious philosophy, the hotel appeals to a variety of guests ranging from the older, more-established couple to the fashionable Insta influencers. Then there are the families, such as us, who crave a little luxury with at-home comforts.
The best part? This show-stopping hotel is located a little over an hour’s drive from the Sunshine Coast.
There are 166 rooms and suites on offer, all decadently designed, including the exceptionally spacious family
room, which consists of two separate sleeping spaces, a lounge and those amazing views.
So, where else should you visit?
- Resort mecca Palm Cove receives endless praise and publicity, but its quieter and less glitzy cousin is one of our favourites. Port Douglas, a 40-minute drive from Palm Cove and only an hour from the Cairns Airport, is the place to rest and rejuvenate. It offers a range of accommodation options from five-star resorts to beachfront self-contained villas. The gateway to the 135 million-year-old Daintree Rainforest also boasts restaurants, markets and boutiques.
- Crave a beachside paradise without all the tourists? Yeppoon is the town for you. The coastal enclave has evolved in recent years with the esplanade now playing host to funky cafes, boutiques and the scene-stealing Yeppoon Lagoon, which stretches to the size of around 13 tennis courts. Located on the Capricorn Coast, Yeppoon provides direct access to the picturesque Great Keppel Island and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Tip: We recommend setting up camp at the modern and resort-style Salt Yeppoon, which has one-, two- and three-bedroom beachfront apartments.
- Rounding out your must-do short stays for 2023 is the NSW beach village of Yamba to completely switch off. Not much has changed in the past 20 years in this quaint piece of paradise. Chances are, you will find yourself enjoying an evening meal at the local bowls club. That said, there are plenty of areas to explore, including neighbouring Angourie, which boasts striking beach scenery. This is not a swimming spot, but nearby Blue and Green Pools are an idyllic place to cool off. Yamba has plenty of holiday units that are ideal for families.