Green space in the middle of urban sprawl is always such a luxury after (or during) a day of shopping, gallery hopping or even between meetings. Brisbane's Southbank Parklands are a beautifully lush escape. A heavenly expanse of wide open spaces, grassy knolls and shady spots beneath soaring established trees that offer a perfect zen break right in the middle of the city. If you fancy a dose of vitamin D or a healthy balance to the busy pace of the day the wide open surroundings, people watching opportunities and food offerings at Southbanks' Parklands make it the perfect solo venture or friendly meeting place

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If, like me, you enjoy a lusty bit of window shopping, or dropping a modest penny on stunning locally made bling, the beautiful Natasha Schweitzer boutique in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley is a destination that will resonate on so many levels. Schweitzers unique jewellery designs are sculptural masterpieces that manage to hit all the right notes of statement, minimal cool and effortless style. It's definitely easy to justify a purchase here with the aesthetic and wearability meaning pretty much ANY piece has the potential to complete pretty much ANY outfit whilst sitting in a price point that makes them the ultimate wishlist item.

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As the name suggests, Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters is a haven of good food, good times and local flavor. Found to the west of Brisbane's CBD, in the suburb of Bardon, this cosy roastery offers a simple equation of good food + great coffee + backyard vibes which naturally equals a perfect little place to while away a late morning coffee and brekky with friends. The gorgeous courtyard really feels like your own backyard with its relaxing combination of haphazard potted plants and mismatched outdoor furniture. Sitting under the Queensland sun with the smell of coffee in the air and a plate of killer food in front of you is the best way to spend a good part of your Sunday.

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Brisbane's gallery of modern art - aka GOMA - is an amazing platform for some seriously world class contemporary artists. It's range of modern mediums will ensure a few hours spent here will satisfy wannabe art critics as well as those of us who love a good culture kick but aren't necessarily afficianados of the art world. With local and international offerings, GOMA sits perfectly within walking distance from Brisbane's city center as well as Southbanks' Parklands so can be a beautiful respite from the heat of the day after a city walk or a park date. It's cool concrete architecture and eclectic exhibitions on constant rotation mean this is a destination for every Brisbane vistor and local.

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A spot of Saturday shopping is well spent in Brisbane's inner city suburb of Paddington. Think colourful houses, independant boutiques, beautiful facades, stately palms and ample people watching opportunities. Many of the retail offerings in Paddington are unique, one-of-a-kind brands that you won't find anywhere else. Apart from the incredible fashion and killer retail finds, many of the people working in this gorgeous strip are so great to chat with. They tend to be very passionate about their work and have immense knowledge to share about the local area and where to find the next secret spot. Be prepared to spend a leisurely hour or two and a pretty penny - although even just window shopping here is seriously satisfying as well. 

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photography: michael hughes