This week it's Brisbane's turn for Getaway's Cheap and Cheerful series. It gets a big star as a tourist destination thanks to its hot summers and mild winters and it's a city that makes the most of being on the Brisbane River.
A great way to get the feel of the city is to visit RiverWalk, 20 kilometres of pathways, roads, bridges and parks connected to the city's network of bikeways. You can travel on the north bank between the University of Queensland campus at St Lucia and Teneriffe and on the south bank between the West End Ferry Terminal at Orleigh Park to Dockside at Kangaroo Point. There are good maps showing where you can walk or ride alongside the river as well as where you can hop on a ferry or a sleek, twin-hulled CityCat.
Thirty five metres from the riverbank is an 850-metre stainless steel floating walkway which gives you the feeling and appearance of walking on water.
One of the 'in' and cheap places to spend an afternoon is the Merthyr Bowls Club in the trendy inner suburb of New Farm. It's right on the river and an end or two of lawn bowls is great fun. They have introduced barefoot bowls on weekends which has proven very popular with younger players. So much so, you need to book way ahead. Traditional and professional bowls are still played there, of course, and everyone is happy to give tips to newcomers.
For a totally different bowls game, visit Strike Bowling Bar in the centre of Brisbane. It has the latest in interactive entertainment in an exciting environment. There are 12 bowling lanes which can be divided into three self-contained private bowling lounges for functions and parties. The concept has put a new face on the old bowling experience with giant lane-end video projections, special effects lighting, soft comfortable seating, computerised scoring and fantastic food and beverages. Not only bowling, but four pool tables, a cocktail bar, interactive games, karaoke, sports viewing, a dance floor and a Skybox private function room.
When you're ready for a great meal, head to the new Emporium in Fortitude Valley. Already a big hit in Melbourne, Mecca Bah is taking Brisbane by storm. It blends Moroccan and other Middle Eastern flavours, combined with Australian produce, all in a place of movement and colour. You could be stepping into an exotic location in Marrakesh.
Décor is rich and highly detailed and in the bar area, with its low brass tables and textured ottomans, you can enjoy drinks, pastries, Turkish delight and excellent coffee. The menu lends itself to ordering plates of food to share and there are plenty of things for children.
If you fancy some oriental glamour and sophistication, head for Jade Buddha. It has added a new dimension to the Brisbane bar, restaurant and music scene with décor approved by a leading feng shui expert.
The Shadow Lounge is an east-meets-west cocktail bar. It has sunken lounges, cedar lanterns and superb Asian artefacts. The deck is an al fresco venue with fabulous Story Bridge, Kangaroo Point cliffs and river views. It has its own bar and offers full service. The Jade Lounge is indoors and offers the same wonderful outlook. The Bamboo Room is ideal for intimate functions with private access, comfortable seating and relaxed surroundings. Music is non-commercial and supplied by DJs.
When you're ready for some seriously good shopping, head 10 minutes across town to Paddington. Latrobe Terrace is lined with beautiful old Queenslanders which have been converted into shops. Adornments specialises in vintage clothing and accessories and Thousand Island Dressing is an Aladdin's Cave of quirky and unusual jewellery and homewares.
Now, after all that walking, cruising, bowling, eating, dancing and shopping you will no doubt be feeling like repairing to your accommodation, kicking off your shoes and checking out your shopping!
Goodearth Hotel in the centre of Brisbane offers excellent value for money. It's surrounded by parkland and has views from private balconies across the city to the Mount Coot-tha Ranges. They offer a wide choice of bedding configurations and complimentary parking.
The Lobby Bar is a relaxing area to enjoy a drink and Teo's On Wickham serves modern Australian and traditional cuisine at very reasonable prices. The Terrace has views across Roma Street Parklands and service is warm and friendly.
Queensland's capital city.
CityCats cost $2.40 for a single ride or unlimited day passes are $3.60. They can be purchased on board. They operate every day between 5.50am and 10.30pm
Merthyr Bowls Club's barefoot bowling is $20. It includes bowls, two hours of play and a barbecue lunch. The Club is open every day from 10am until late.
Strike Bowling Bar prices start at $12.50 a game and $34 for two adults and two children. Open every day.
Mecca Bah is open every day for lunch and dinner. Main meals are $15-19.
Jade Buddha opens every day at 11.30am and closes from Monday to Thursday at 1am, Friday and Saturday at 3am and Sunday at midnight.
Adornments is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Merthyr Bowls Club
52 Oxlade Drive
New Farm Qld 4005
Ph: (07) 3358 1291
Strike Bowling Bar
Level 3 Wintergarden
Queen Street Mall
Brisbane Qld 4000
Ph: 1300 787 453
Mecca Bah Restaurant
19-21/1000 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley Qld 4006
Ph: (07) 3252 5299
Fax: (07) 3252 0815
1 Eagle Street
Eagle Street Pier
Brisbane Qld 4002
Ph: (07) 3221 2888
Fax: (07) 3221 2060
Thousand Island Dressing
137 Latrobe Terrace
Paddington Qld 4064
Ph: (07) 3367 8288
197 Latrobe Terrace
Ph: (07) 3369 2033
Goodearth Hotel Brisbane
345 Wickham Terrace
Brisbane Qld 4000
Ph: (07) 3831 6177, 1800 777 789
Fax: (07) 3832 5919