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Have a Ferris Bueller Style Day Off in Brisbane

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published February 22nd 2012
Have a Ferris Bueller Style Day Off in Brisbane

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it." Incisive words indeed from that great teenage philosopher, Ferris Bueller. I hadn't seen the 1980's John Hughes classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in quite a while so I recently settled with the family on the couch for another TV airing. There was much laughter of course, but this time I had another thought. If Ferris lived in Brisbane in 2012 rather than Chicago in 1986 what would he do? If he looked around what would he see?



After much discussion and debate my family has come up with "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" Brisbane 2012 style. Of course you don't need to stick to our suggestions. Go with whatever works for you. Here at Weekend Notes we have hundreds of suggestions for playing tourist in your own city. The important thing is to take time out occasionally to really enjoy life. It's the only one you've got - it would be a shame to miss it. And we're not suggesting you do anything deceptive to get your day off. You wouldn't want your version of Mr Rooney on your tail. It might spoil the fun.

Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA


In Brisbane Ferris and Cameron wouldn't be able to lose themselves in the pointillist perspective of Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte but we're sure they'd find something they'd like at Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. The buildings are conveniently located on the south bank of the Brisbane River between Kurilpa and Victoria Bridges, separated only by the State Library. Diverse and interesting permanent collections are housed in the light and airy exhibition spaces and periodically supplemented with world-class touring exhibitions like GOMA's Matisse: Drawing Life or QAG's upcoming Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces From the Prado. Best of all is the fact you can spend a diverting and colourful morning free, and even the cost of special ticketed events and exhibitions isn't expensive, starting at only $20 for adults.

Take a Greencabs ride


We think that in keeping with the relaxed, outdoorsy Brisbane vibe Ferris might choose some pedal power instead of a flashy sports car. The great thing about Brisbane is that you don't always have to do the pedalling yourself. Greencabs, based during the day at the Wheel of Brisbane, provide a convenient, green, bright, and most importantly fun, method of transport through the city and close surrounds. They travel mostly along the river between Fortitude Valley and West End, but also venture to Caxton Street and Suncorp Stadium in the west.

Prices start at $5 per adult for a short 2 to 3 block journey, or $15 for 2 adults for a trip from Wheel of Brisbane to the Casino. Tours along the river and to some of Brisbane's attractions start at $15 for 2 adults, depending on your route and destination. You can hail a cab or even book your preferred driver / rider. The City Art and Architecture Tour is available on Fridays and must be pre-booked. All details are available on the website here. All Greencabs' passengers are entitled to a 2-for-1 deal on regular-priced tickets on the Wheel of Brisbane - our next stop.

Wheel of Brisbane


There was unanimous agreement in our house that a Brisbane-based Ferris and friends would get their spectacular view of the Brisbane panorama at a height of 60m on the Wheel of Brisbane. There's really no avoiding the pun so I'll get it out there - Ferris Wheel. Carly Ogborne's article covers the basic options but we think Ferris would opt for the Private Gondola at $95. Securing the more luxurious VIP Cabin ($110) would take a level of planning not in keeping with the spontaneous nature of his day, but if you're planning ahead you can submit an enquiry form here. While Ferris might be tempted to "shake it up baby" we wouldn't advise it. It's unsafe, strictly against the rules and would have you removed.

Take a Citycat Ride


We're pretty certain that Ferris, Sloane and Cameron would want to enjoy Brisbane's best known feature - the Brisbane River - and what better way to experience the river than on a CityCat? After the devastation of the 2011 floods the whole ferry network is back up and running. Nineteen of these big, sleek cats now prowl the river and flood-damaged terminals have been repaired and new ones constructed at Teneriffe and North Shore Hamilton. Eschew the comfortable indoors seats and make a beeline for the outdoor bow or stern seats. The wind in your hair and the smell of the river is definitely the way to go. You can travel all the way from the University of Queensland to Brett's Wharf, but for this day off we recommend a leisurely trip to New Farm.

Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse

It's a pleasant short walk along the river from the New Farm Terminal to our city's lively multi-arts venue, Brisbane Powerhouse, where entertainment is truly of the people, by the people and for the people. They have an impressive program of eclectic events and the building is also a great example of Art Deco industrial design with an interesting contrast between its modern green glass and steel entrance and the heavily graffitied, bare brick, industrial architecture. If you're planning your day off in advance you could opt for the guided tour, held by request on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at only $5 for adults. We think Ferris would explore with his friends and possibly top it all off with a quick run around New Farm Park or a friendly swing of the mallet in a game of croquet at the Merthyr Croquet Club in New Farm Park, off Dixon Street.

Bretts Wharf Restaurant

Bretts Wharf Restaurant. Image: www.brettswharf.com.au/

Of course any Ferris Bueller style day off wouldn't be complete without a fine dining experience. We think Bretts Wharf restaurant, on the site of the original Hamilton Wharves might fit the bill. One more trip on the CityCat will get you there. You can sit indoors or outdoors overlooking the river, and sample modern Australian and seafood cuisine. Unlike the waiter in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, popular celebrity chef Alastair MacLeod's vision is to present "fresh local produce served simply, by friendly people in a relaxed environment". Their current menu is available here. You'll be able to watch the lights twinkling on the river for the perfect close to your perfect day off.

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Your Comment
This may be a bit outdated at 2012. Brett's Wharf Restaurant I believe has been demolished.
by Alison Muirhead (score: 2|252) 1862 days ago
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