The Wonderland Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse will include burlesque performances.
The Wonderland Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse will include burlesque performances.

River City makes its mark as a must-see destination

There's an undercurrent of hype about the city once known only as Australia's biggest country town. The fusion of arts, music, food and fashion has forged Brisbane to the front of must-see destinations for travellers, bringing to life its old charm and heritage-listed buildings with a new vibrancy. And, if you're expecting an imitation of its sister cities in the south-east corner, you won't get it here.

The riverside city is making its mark by capitalising on its best asset - its people - to create a lovable personality. Upon arriving in Brisbane I quickly realised that getting acquainted with this place is a journey that can't be rushed to truly take it in, so my advice is to stay a while.

BRISBANE FASHION MONTH

Born out of a desire to support and grow Queensland's fashion industry, Brisbane Fashion Month has fast become a calendar item not to miss, and what stands out most is its appeal to everyone.

Presented by Wintergarden, the month-long event transforms the city's most iconic buildings into boutique runways to showcase the latest season's trends and local designers.

The Brisbane Quarter was host to Brisbane Icons: Boutique and Bespoke Runway Show which showcased a range of Brisbane and Australian designers. What stood out most was the individual styles and sophistication of garments.

Take for example bespoke designer Wil Valor who used the event to launch a women's range. It's uncharted territory for the brand, which is widely known for its custom men's suits using fabrics from high-end Italian and English mills, handmade leather shoes, bags and watches.

Other designers included Article, Astille with Helena Rose, Isabella Longginou, Lindsay Ridings, Living Silk, Lucia Josephine, Sonia Stradiotto Couture, Tengdahl and Toscano.

The fashion trends for the season ahead are based more on getting your wardrobe staples right with investment pieces rather than following a particular craze but if I had to pick one thing to watch for the season ahead it would be big sleeves, and the bigger the better. Block colour splashes of pastel are also a given.

There is no event that is above or below anyone, all that's needed is a love of fashion to attend the various panel discussions, workshops and networking events.

The Brisbane Fashion Month is both engaging and inspiring as it's providing a launching pad for future designers who belong to Queensland.

BRISBANE POWERHOUSE

There's no such thing as too weird or too wacky at Wonderland Festival with a line-up of 30 events to spread across nine nights at the Brisbane Powerhouse from November 21. Burlesque dancers place you front seat in an up-close and intimate performance that will keep you guessing as they uncover the sensual sophistication of burlesque through theatre and dance. Check them out on November 29, 30.

Then there's the inaugural Brisbane Portrait Prize, which felt more like a warehouse party than any art exhibition I've been to. It's clear this event was long overdue for artists and enthusiasts alike providing an opportunity to showcase their work in a major competition on home soil for the first time in Queensland's art history.

HOWARD SMITH WHARVES

Only a short drive from Fortitude Valley, I find myself sitting on a bend of the Brisbane River with 180-degree views of the city skyline and river, completely forgetting the concrete jungle behind me. Built in the 1930s to provide residents with work during the depression, Howard Smith Wharves was abandoned in the 1960s when the port moved down stream. The untapped potential of its location and charm has been brought to life after work began in 2017 to transform it into the city's hottest lifestyle and dining precinct.

SHWE travel brisbane Kate bonville
FV by Peppers, with a great inner city location, has luxury warehouse styling.

STAY

Living up to its intention of bringing a slice of New York to Brisbane, I felt like I was in midtown Manhattan when I opened my apartment door at FV by Peppers. The luxury warehouse styling is fitting for its inner city location, complete with a designer kitchen and European laundry tucked in the bathroom as well as large windows that provide the perfect viewpoint to overlook the hustle and bustle of the streets below.

SHWE travel brisbane Kate bonville
There are plenty of fine dining options in Brisbane.

EAT

Stokehouse Q - Hidden away at the water's edge of South Bank, Stokehouse Q is the definition of intimate fine dining. There is no bad seat in the house inside this open-plan restaurant which provides stunning view of city lights reflecting of the Brisbane River.

Mr Percival's - Nestled beneath the Story Bridge, with towering cliffs behind, this open-air bar is as Instagram-worthy as it gets. The menu spotlights quality seafood across a range of specially crafted and sophisticated light meals with the lobster roll and stuffed zucchini flowers a must-try.

The writer was a guest of Brisbane Fashion Month, Brisbane Portrait Prize, Brisbane Marketing and Brisbane Powerhouse.