If the weather is perfect and the sun is shining brightly without a cloud in sight, it is time to forgo the traditional movie date and immerse yourself in the wonderful outdoors. Surprise your date by asking them to slap on some sunscreen and then head to one of the following CityHopper Ferry Terminals. You can either space them out and have five separate dates on five separate weekends (if the date goes well and assuming she/he would like to see you again), or you can wow them and increase the spontaneity by visiting all five stops in one day. That, plus your sparkling personality will almost guarantee you another date).
The best thing about the ferry terminals below is that they are free. Thanks to a $6 million commitment by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, entertainment and dates are now even cheaper. Lauched in July 2012, the services run every half an hour, seven days a week and is slower than the City Cat. You can hop on and off whenver you feel like. Go up to the second level and it feels as if you are at the top of the iconic red London bus (but on water). The fresh air whips across your face as the boat chugs along the riverside, giving you the chance to admire and wistfully stare at the beautiful riverside homes.
To secure yourself a parking space on busy weekends, I suggest that you start your date at Sydney Street, New Farm and make your way to South Bank. Enjoy the sights as per below.
1) Sydney Street, New Farm
This is the first (or last) stop on the free ferry route depending on which way you choose to start. It is not too far from New Farm Park or Brisbane Powerhouse. New Farm Park is more of a family place but it may be a great place to go to break the ice and get to know each other a little better. If she/he loves morning markets, the Powerhouse markets is just a short stroll from the park where you can get a quick feed or a lovely cup of coffee to wake you up for the exciting day ahead.
Get off at Dockside and have a romantic walk along Kangaroo Point Cliffs. If you decide to visit during the night time, the area is lit with lights. If you have a larger budget and am feeling adventurous, you can try rock climbing or abseiling. Not for the timid, the 20 metre cliffs allow you to take in the beautiful scenery and best views of the city and river. You can book a session with Riverlife for two hours ($49) which is guided by experienced and qualified instructors. Each session includes instruction, a safety briefing and equipment. The rush of adrenaline may just be the thing you need to whip up the courage to ask for another date.
Hop off at Eagle Street Pier for lunch or for dinner (depending how long you spend at Dockside and New Farm). If the date is going particularly well, there a lot of riverside restaurants with a picturesque view of the river including Bavarian Bier Cafe and Aria. If it is a Sunday, check out the vibrant Eagle Street markets which has been going strong for 22 years. There is a colourful mix of street entertainers and electic mix of jewellery and hand-made arts and craft.
Get off at the Maritime Museum stop for a lovely stroll through South Bank. Again, there are markets on a Sunday or just sit down near the riverside and people-watch for a while. When I was there, I caught sight of a group of 'Ninja Turtles' off on an exciting day of adventure – you will never know what you see. If you are lucky, you may stumble across an event for the day. South Bank is popular for holding festivals such as the Brisbane Riverside festival and French festival. On some days, there are even free yoga sessions available. On a particularly hot day, bring out the inner mischevious child and jump into the water at the lagoon and Brisbane CBD's only little beach.
5) North Quay
You can walk across the bridge from South Bank to the CBD or if you fancy another boat ride, take the boat up to North Quay stop where you can get off and walk past the Brisbane Casino to Queen Street mall. There is usually some sort of street entertainment during the weekends at the mall, or head into the casino to try your hand with lady luck.
Most of us are spoilt for choice living in Brisbane, the challenge is to pick which activity to indulge in as there isn't enough time in a day to experience them all.