Tired of the classic movie and dinner date night combo? Us too. That's why we're always on the hunt for new things to do, scouring the city for not-boring Brisbane activities — ones that are guaranteed to take your next date way beyond done-before beers at the pub. Whether you're taking someone on a second date or doing your 100th with your significant other, we've got some killer (and, yes, cute) ideas for dates to go on this week, no matter how much money you've got to spend. Just think of us as your cultural wingman. You're welcome.
WATCH A LIGHT, LASER AND WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW ON THE RIVER
Every year, when Brisbane Festival rolls around, two things happen. Firstly, the city explodes with an array of arts, culture and music performances. Secondly, it explodes with colour and light thanks to a big riverside light show.
In 2018, the latter is called #CelebrateBrisbane River of Light — and while hashtags in event names deserve the cringes that they instantly inspire, this actual combination of water fountains, lights and lasers will inspire awe. A free 10-minute show taking place at 6.30pm, 8pm and 9.30pm each night until September 29, it's designed to spin the traditional story of the dreaming serpent that created Brisbane's brown snake of a waterway.
Catch it from the Arcadia precinct, on the South Bank Cultural Forecourt — or from wherever you and your favourite person can find a good vantage.
EXPLORE THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WORLD OF CZECH ANIMATION
Walt Disney and Hayao Miyazaki might be the biggest names in big-screen animation, but they're really just the tip of the iceberg. If you're eager to delve beyond the usual suspects, the Gallery of Modern Art has just the program for you — three weeks dedicated to the Golden Age of Czech Animation.
Until September 30, GOMA's Australian Cinematheque is highlighting the work of Czech animators Hermína Týrlová, Jiří Trnka and Karel Zeman. Týrlová has been called the mother of the country's animation, Trnka was dubbed 'Disney of the East' and Zeman was labelled the 'Czech Méliès', which speaks volumes about their respective work and impact.
In free sessions, Brisbanites can watch Zeman combine live action and animation in the dinosaur delight Journey to the Beginning of Time, catch Trnka's puppet-filled take on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and see how Týrlová worked her magic with rags, yarn and wooden toys. The list goes on, with sessions playing on Wednesday and Friday evenings, plus Saturday and Sunday during the day, until the end of the season.
Take your date, and don't forget to grab a few snacks on the way.
EAT DUMPLINGS, MAKE LANTERNS AND WATCH LION DANCERS
On Saturday, September 22, Fortitude Valley's Chinatown mall will be glowing — under the moonlight, and while making lanterns and just generally being luminous.
Running from 4–9pm, the Chinese Moon Festival harks back to Chinese tradition, and is timed to coincide with the moon at its roundest and brightest. It was originally a harvest fest, but has grown and evolved to become an all-round celebration, which is exactly what's on the cards in Brisbane.
You and your partner can learn how to make your own lanterns, pick up some calligraphy skills and browse the markets — or check out the lion and dragon dances, catch some V-pop and K-pop, and keep an eye out for other wandering entertainment. And, if you're feeling peckish, you're in the perfect place for dumplings, Peking duck and yum cha, thanks to the surrounding restaurants.
WANDER THROUGH A FIELD OF FLOWERS
Every year, when spring hits Toowoomba, the regional city becomes the brightest place in southeast Queensland. Blooms blossom, greenery sprouts and flora reaches towards the sun — that's right, it's Carnival of Flowers time.
Running from September 21 to 30, the annual event showcases all of the gorgeous florets, growths and gardens around town, including everything from park tours to ikebana displays to specific shows for orchids, bonsai, clivia and bromelaids. Outdoor dwellers will also find daily live music at Picnic Point, Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park, while pub and dinner walks are also on the agenda — and events that combine petals and pups.
It all kicks off with a three-day food and wine festival across September 21–23, and features an illuminated night garden between September 26–30, so there's no bad time to visit — and you and your special someone might want to make the trek more than once. Indeed, when it comes to scenic spring sights, there's no prettier place to be. And, given it takes less than two hours to head up the mountain from Brisbane, it's perfect for a weekend day trip. Make a playlist, take a picnic and there's your Saturday or Sunday sorted.
Image: Tourism and Events Queensland
TREAT YOURSELVES TO LOBSTER AND CHAMPAGNE
Finally, the lobster pop-up our bank accounts have been waiting for. Y'know... relatively speaking, anyway. It's all happening at Lobster Shack, which is taking over Petrie Terrace — across from the Barracks and right near Fritzenberger — for a very limited period. And, there's even proper Champagne to go with it.
For $35, you can experience Maine lobster confit in a freshly baked roll with buttermilk and fennel slaw. The lobster tails are slow poached in butter before being placed inside a brioche bun. You'll also receive parmesan-dusted truffle fries on the side. If you and your date still don't feel like ballers, you can step up the fancy factor with a glass of Veuve Clicquot on the side for an extra $15.
They'll be serving from midday between Thursdays and Sundays until September 23. Drop by until 3pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and then again between 5–9pm the same day. Or, head along from 12–9pm on the weekend. Just remember: the lobster is only available until sold out each day.