The thing about Brisbane is that, whether you think of yourself as an indoor person or an outdoor person, you’re inevitably going to spend most of your time outside. As Brisbane is almost constantly blessed with the kind of weather you see on the classic Microsoft screen saver, we’ve naturally become an outdoorsy city. Nearly every café and restaurant has an al fresco area, every house worth its salt has a verandah and everywhere you walk has long green expanses that are perfect for soaking up the sun.
It’s no wonder, then, that when we spoke to Last Dinosaur’s bass guitarist, filmmaker and all-round cool guy Michael Sloane (above, right) about his perfect weekend in Brisbane, it was mostly spent outdoors and under the sun. The Last Dinosaurs are just about to release their second studio album “Wellness” and embark on a national tour, so Michael’s wholesome outdoor weekends may be something to do with the hectic schedule of touring band member.
"Coming back home to Brisbane after being away is like a moment of decompression, in a good way," he tells us. "It has a feeling of laid-backness."
The Last Dinosaurs are a Brisbane born and/or bred cohort and Michael (above, second from right) says for him the culture of comradery between Brissy-based bands is a huge influence on the music scene.
"You can't help but be influenced by the place you live and grow up, but I'd say our biggest inspiration from Brisbane is other Brisbane bands,' he says. "It's a cosy enough city to cross paths with other bands of the same mindset and it's always nice to share touring moments or shows with other Brisbane bands, even when we're not in Brisbane."
Indeed, much like the bar from Cheers, Brisbane is the kind of intimate city where everybody knows your name – and if you’re in an incredibly successful local band, they might just scream it at you as you walk past.
You can grab the Last Dino’s new album Wellness on August 28 or catch them on tour from September 25 to October 18. In the meantime, here are Michael’s five steps to the perfect Brisbane weekend. To experience them for yourself, head to the Visit Brisbane website and get booking.
TAKE THE CITYCAT TO SOUTH BANK
Brisbane has a good mix of city and bush, so my little tour of Brisbane would have a bit of both. Take a CityCat from wherever you are over to South Brisbane. (Yes, the CityCat is part of the experience if you can be bothered.) Choose your own adventure here.. Either you can wander through South Bank, eventually getting into the cultural precinct to check out GoMA and the museum, or you can venture deeper into West End and find a place for lunch along Boundary Road.
TAKE A CITYCYCLE RIDE ALONG THE BRISBANE RIVER
From there, get on a CityCycle and ride along the river until you reach a bridge; we have plenty of them to choose from. Ride across the bridge of your choosing and continue around the Riverside of the CBD until you feel like having a look at the city centre itself.
STOP IN AT WAGAYA
Straight from the city to Fortitude Valley for dinner in Chinatown mall. Wagaya is a favourite. It's a pretty authentic Japanese 'Izakaya', and you get to order off a touch screen. After that, you're in the centre of nightlife for Brisbane and, for good or bad, it's worth experiencing. There's a bar for every type of night you'd like to have.
CHECK OUT MOUNT COOT-THA
Maybe I'm biased living close, but I'm a big fan of Mt. Coot-tha state forest. The Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens at the base of the mountain are actually Botanic Gardens, unlike the CBD version. That means there's a huge array of environment types and plants. They also have a planetarium and library, if you're into that. From there, Mt Coot-tha has a lot of wood fire stoves dotted around, so cook up some grub on the barbie and get the Aussie out of your system. Slaughter Falls (don't be scared) picnic area has a bush track leading up to the lookout of Mt Coot-tha. It's actually a pretty great view if you don't mind a few tourists taking selfies.
Assuming you have a long weekend or can chuck a sickie, try to get the ferry from Cleveland to North Stradbroke. I'm always surprised when I go to Straddie that I don't go more often. It really does have awesome beaches, with campgrounds right on the edge of the beach.