What do Australia's best football stadium and one of English football's most popular clubs have in common? They'll soon come together to put on a friendly of blockbuster proportions, as Liverpool FC gets set to take on Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, July 17.
Fresh from a sixth-place finish in the English Premier League, 18-time English champions Liverpool will bring a full-strength squad to Australia to face three-time A-League winners Brisbane in a Friday-night showdown, before the Reds turn their attention towards taking on Adelaide United in the City of Churches the following Monday.
With Liverpool set to run out in front of a sea of red at a restlessly sold-out Suncorp Stadium, what better way to celebrate than by spending 48 hours in the River City like a true football fan?
Friday – Morning
If you're flying into the city, Brisbane Airport is just a short taxi ride or a 20-minute train trip on the Airtrain into the heart of the city. Once there, you can start your Brisbane adventure with an early-morning stroll along the Riverwalk, which stretches from the Howard Smith Wharves to the leafy riverside suburb of New Farm – a great place to enjoy a cafe breakfast.
Alternatively, you can head across the river for a spot of rock climbing at Kangaroo Point, or otherwise grab some snackables and sit back and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city's skyscrapers from one of the most unique vantage points in the city.
Friday – Afternoon
Stop in at South Bank for lunch at one of Brisbane's countless restaurants. From the casual dining of The Charming Squire to the refined Italian fare of Popolo overlooking the river, there's a reason Brisbane is fast becoming one of Australia's most raved-about gastronomic capitals. You've timed your visit perfectly too, because Good Food Month is in full swing.
Once you've sated your hunger, lace up your walking shoes for a spot of shopping. Fear not, blokes – there's plenty on offer for the gentleman shopper too. Head to the standalone Ben Sherman store in the Wintergarden for a modish new shirt, or stay southside and check out Junky Comics in West End for some new additions to the pool room.
Friday – Evening
A trip to the football is hardly complete without a pre-match pint and for that, Caxton Street has got you covered. While the Caxton Hotel is predominantly a rugby league stronghold, further up the strip the Hotel LA has long played host to Brisbane Roar fans and visiting supporters alike.
Suncorp Stadium itself is arguably the finest venue for rectangular sports in Australia. Seating some 52,500 fans in stands pressed tight against the pitch, there's not a bad seat in the house in a ground with more than a passing resemblance to Liverpool's famous Anfield.
Saturday – Morning
Sore head? You'll never walk alone in Brisbane, particularly if you're heading for one of the city's popular breakfast spots. Cafe culture has hit Australia's new world city hard, with heaving hotspots like the Southside Tea Room in Morningside, newcomer Hops Scotch and Beans in Spring Hill and bagel-favourite Cawfee in the CBD helping to soak up any hangovers on hand.
Once you've refuelled, why not head to the Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba and hop on a ferry to Tangalooma? While it's not until sunset that the famous wild bottlenose dolphins usually turn up to be hand-fed by eager crowds, there's still plenty to do on Tangalooma during daylight hours, including stand-up paddle boarding, parasailing and kicking back and relaxing on the beach.
Saturday – Afternoon
With afternoon ferry departures at 2pm and 4pm, it's a simple task of taking a 75-minute catamaran ride to get back into the city. Once there, why not check out the Eat Street Markets at Hamilton Wharf to get your fill of craft beer and cheap eats? These Asian-style markets house mini-restaurants in shipping containers – not to mention some of the best street food in Brisbane.
Got a thirst to quench? The CBD is home to plenty of happening bars, including the Speakyeasy-inspired Super Whatnot, The Gresham – housed in what was once the Queensland National Bank - and The Laneway, tucked away on Spencer Lane.
Saturday – Evening
When it comes to Saturday night noshes in the River City, there's no shortage of options. As far as fine dining is concerned, the three-hatted Esquire on Eagle Street has cornered the market. But if you don't want to drop a bundle, Brisbane boasts a staggering array of casual restaurants, from the cosy surrounds of Red Hook to Jamie's Italian Restaurant and the revamped Jimmy's On The Mall.
After all that eating, it's time to party the night away. Take your pick; Fortitude Valley is still brimming with nightclubs, while mid-size music venues like The Zoo, The Tivoli and Max Watt's House of Music in West End welcome high-flying local bands and international artists almost every night of the week. Who knows? You might even find yourself partying with Jordan Henderson!
Liverpool takes on Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, July 17.
Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Brisbane.