Five Romantic Brisbane Date Ideas for This Week From Budget to Blowout
This week, you and your plus one can swoon over 'Moulin Rouge! The Musical', knock back mulled wine under fairy lights and see South Bank all aglow.
June 07, 2023
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.
BASK IN THE GLOW OF LUMINOUS LANTERNS
Maybe you and your special someone will see a glowing giraffe. Perhaps you'll spy a dazzling koala. Or, you might find yourself peering at the sun — but much closer than usual. They're just some of the lanterns that could be brightening up the inky night sky at the 2023 Luminous Lantern Parade, with the event making its return to South Bank Parklands from 5pm on Friday, June 9.
The parade doesn't just give the riverside spot a new glow for the fun of it. It celebrates multiculturalism, and has for more than 15 years now. Over that time, it has grown to become quite the hefty — and radiant — event.
Crowds in recent years have been a little more spread out than usual for obvious reasons, but the parade champions diversity — and welcomes new Queenslanders, including migrants, refugees, international students and people seeking asylum — no matter how jam-packed attendees are.
As well as the main event — which is free to head along to — there'll also be live music and performances in the South Bank Piazza afterwards.
GET DANCING IN THE BRUNSWICK STREET MALL
Since 1997, Fortitude Valley has put itself in the spotlight with a huge street party, with Valley Fiesta taking a variety of forms over its quarter-century run so far. It's a celebration of hearing live tunes, checking out art and shopping your way around markets — and hitting up the inner-city suburb's bars and eateries, too — and it turns the Valley's regular haunts and activities into a festival. But, it's only a once-a-year happening.
Can't wait till 2023's Valley Fiesta, which hasn't yet announced its dates? Meet Brunswick Street Live, a day-long fest which is popping up this winter to tide everyone over — including you and your plus one — and give Brisbane another excuse to revel in the Valley and its main street. The name gives away where it's taking place, debuting on Saturday, June 10. And the lineup has the classic Brunswick Street experience all covered.
Artisan and vintage markets will run from 12pm, plus live street art by Stewart Shuker, John Smith Gumbula and Seana Clarkson, with music from 12.20pm. Leading the bill are Horrorshow and Monstera, alongside Danyon, Ghost Mutt, First Beige DJs, Zed Mero, and Nejmere and mumgenes.
The aim: not just to showcase the Valley, its venues and the city's talents, but to add another annual music festival to Brisbane's cultural calendar. Brisbane City Council is planning for the free fest to become a yearly event alongside Valley Fiesta and the Lunar New Year festivities.
ENJOY COB LOAVES AND MULLED WINE AT A TWILIGHT WINTER MARKET
When Christmas hits each year, the Nundah Markets stay up late, swapping one of its usual daytime events for a twilight shindig. That kind of fun isn't just for getting festive, though. In 2023, it's also for celebrating the beginning of winter.
Meet Nundah by Night, which will take place from 4–10pm on Saturday, June 10. On the agenda: shopping, eating, drinking and being merry midyear. There'll be quite the lineup of places to grab handmade items from — 120-plus stalls, in fact — with clothes, jewellery, art, homewares, soap, candles and all things edible available. You and your favourite person will find gourmet foods on offer as well (including bites to eat while you're there).
For your $3 entry fee, you can enjoy a stint of browsing and buying under the site's fairy lights at Nundah Markets' usual spot on Station Street. And, you can stop in at the Stone & Wood bar for a craft brew, too — or opt for a soul-warming mulled wine.
Live music is also on the lineup across two stages, as is a petting zoo and roving performers. And if you're wondering what you'll be snacking on, cob loaves, South American barbecue plates, steamed and fried Tibetan momos, karaage chicken and vegan pizza are just some of the dishes on the menu.
TRY PIZZA-, TIM TAM- AND RED FROG-FLAVOURED BEERS
On most weekends, somewhere in Brisbane is hosting a beer festival. They might not happen every single weekend, but they definitely pop up with frequency. Only one is called the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, however, and dedicates itself to weird, wild, wonderful and inventive varieties that are made exclusively for the booze-fuelled party. And that very fest is back for 2023.
If you're a newcomer to GABS, as the festival is known, it started off as a Melbourne-only celebration of ales, lagers, ciders and more. Then, it began spreading along Australia's east coast capitals, as well as to New Zealand. Now, its 2023 plans will see it return for its Brisbane event on Saturday, June 10 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
You and your significant other can look forward to an event that's considered to be one of the best craft beer and cider festivals in the Asia Pacific region. One big reason: it'll pour at least 1200 kegs — which in past years have been inspired by breakfast foods, savoury snacks, desserts, cocktails and more — from 240 taps. In 2022, peanut butter, coffee, earl grey tea, chicken salt, pizza, fairy floss, bubblegum and sour gummy bears all got a whirl. This year, there'll be pizza, Tim Tam and red frog varieties, and that's just for starters.
The event surveys both Australian and New Zealand breweries, plus folks from the US and UK, with more than 120 set to be pouring their wares this year. Also on the bill: other types of tipples, including non-alcoholic beers, seltzers, whiskey, gin, cocktails and wines. In fact, Archie Rose, Monkey Shoulder Whisky and Yellow Tail Wines will all be making their GABS debuts.
ONE BIG BLOWOUT
SWOON OVER A TONY-WINNING PARIS-SET MUSICAL
Back in 1999 and 2000, Baz Luhrmann's beloved movie musical Moulin Rouge! was filmed in Australia. Since 2021, the Tony-winning stage version of that hit feature has been doing the rounds of the country, too. And, in spectacular (spectacular) news, it's finally made it to Brisbane — playing until Thursday, July 27.
Right now, QPAC is standing in for the Montmartre Quarter of Paris — the backdrop for a heady romance between lovestruck young bohemian Christian and performer Satine, star of the legendary titular cabaret. The first-ever Aussie-produced production to win the Tony for Best Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is spinning that story in the Lyric Theatre. Yes, the show must go on.
As Luhrmann's award-winning, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor-starring movie did before it, the stage musical is heavy not just on star-crossed romance, but with a loaded soundtrack that celebrates iconic tunes from across the past five decades. Indeed, Moulin Rouge! The Musical backs up those favourites with even more hit songs that have been released in the two decades since the movie premiered.
Directed by Alex Timbers, the Australian production stars Alinta Chidzey as Satine, Des Flanagan as Christian, Simon Burke as club impresario Harold Zidler and Andrew Cook as The Duke — plus Tim Omaji as Toulouse-Lautrec and Ryan Gonzalez as Santiago, Montmartre's resident artistes; and Samantha Dodemaide as Nini, Olivia Vásquez as Arabia, Ruva Ngwenya as La Chocolat, and Christopher J Scalzo as Babydoll, aka the 'Lady M's'.
Top image: Michelle Grace Hunder.
Concrete Playground Trips
Book unique getaways and adventures dreamed up by our editors