Student Flights


What to do during the G20 in Brisbane

Published November 5th, 2014

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is that if you find yourself in Brisbane on Friday, November 14, it’s a public holiday – yay! The bad news? Locals and visitors to Brissie will find there’s restricted access to the CBD, South Brisbane and Valley areas due to the presence of around 4,000 delegates from the world’s top 20 countries economically and up to 3,000 national and international media at the G20 (Group of 20) Leaders’ Summit. The actual summit will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at South Bank on November 15 and 16. To find out where you can hang to avoid the throng, here’s our tips on what to do and where to go during the G20 in Brisbane.


For a shop and a food fest

There’ll be road closures on Adelaide Street and Queen Street in the CBD, so if you’re after a fast fashion fix or some retail therapy, head to the high street precincts. Take a bus to Paddington to check out the range of chic boutiques and vintage shops along Given and Latrobe terraces, and refuel with a latte at any of the cafes with outdoor seating.

Also away from the G20 scrum you’ll find the refined shopping area in and around James Street in New Farm where you can buy locally (Tom Gunn, Blonde Venus, Pistols at Dawn), nationally (sass & bide, Camilla, Zimmermann) and internationally (Calexico, Samantha Ogilvie, Camargue) and stuff yourself silly with everything from freshly squeezed juices to juicy pork sliders and dumplings.


To cool off

With Brissie’s manmade beach in the middle of South Bank across the river from the CBD, you’ll be wanting to find somewhere less crowded to cool down during the G20. Who wants to see Tony Abbott in his red DTs or a topless Putin? If you yearn to dip your toe into some chlorinated water, seek out the public pools for some sweet relief. The Newmarket Olympic Swimming Pool is close to Newmarket Train Station and will be open from 9am to 5pm on the public holiday, and you can take a bus to the Ithaca Pool in Paddington, also open from 9am to 5pm on November 14. Both pools also have carparks if you have wheels.


For some culture

The G20 may be taking place right in the middle of Brisbane’s South Bank Cultural Precinct (where the carparks for multiple sites will be closed from November 14 to 16), but you can still take in some high-brow intellectually stimulating fare at other cultural hotspots around town. Get into the performing arts at La Boite Theatre Company in Kelvin Grove (Or Forever Hold Your Peace is on) and Brisbane Arts Theatre at Petrie Terrace where the Wyrd Sisters bring their dastardly deeds.


If you like it live and loud

If you’re not keen on braving the crowds on the Valley Mall to get your gig fix, set your sights on West End. Take a bus across the Brisbane River (William Jolly Bridge will be closed to southbound traffic on Saturday, November 15 from 5pm to 12am) to the vibrant bohemian ‘burb of West End where you can get your fill of live and sweaty gigs at spots, like The Hi-Fi (Katchafire plays on November 14, Lanie Lane gigs on November 15 and heavy metal rockers Accept are on November 16). There’s also plenty of after-hours establishments to launch a bar-hopping expedition post-gig.




Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.