Bulimba & Hawthorne:
Things to do

18 JANUARY 2023

Perched along the banks of the Brisbane River, Bulimba and Hawthorne are the perfect mix of suburban life and urban fun ready to be explored. These neighbouring suburbs combine lush parks, waterfront walking tracks and public jetties with tree-lined streets dotted with charming cafes, restaurants, cinemas, bars and boutiques. Make the most of this picturesque precinct with our winning picks for a perfect day out.

01. Hide from the hustle and bustle

Little Hideout Cafe is a hidden gem in the heart of Bulimba. Look for the door on Riding Rd and walk through to the back deck, a pet-friendly oasis serving a balanced menu of healthy, fun and indulgent food from breakfast until mid-afternoon. The coffee is from Tim Adams and the ingredients are all proudly sourced from local suppliers. 

02. See a movie in style

Talk about old-world Hollywood glam. Balmoral Cineplex is one of Brisbane’s oldest cinemas, screening blockbusters, new releases and fan favourites from its home on Oxford St. It started life as a single open-air cinema built in the early-20th Century and now houses six, accessible, air-conditioned cinemas featuring plush red velvet seats and chandeliers in the lobby. It’s also one of Brisbane’s best-value cinemas with cheap movie tickets and candy bar prices that won’t break the bank. 

03. Unleash your artistic side

Sip, paint and get creative with your friends, colleagues or partner at Rosé Soiree. You can choose from a range of painting styles and subjects – from portraits to still life – or book a spot in one of its popular Paint Your Pet classes. All art supplies are provided, all you need to do is duck into the nearby Vintage Cellars and BYO a bottle of “creative juices”. 

04. Bar hop along Bulimba’s main street

From cocktails to craft beer, Oxford St is home to a multitude of bars shaking, stirring and pouring any drink you fancy. Start at the river-end with a spritz for Aperitivo Afternoons from 3pm to 5pm at Il Molo then walk a few steps along to Melrose, a rooftop cocktail bar where you can sit and sip under the sun by day or stars by night. 

Beer aficionados can pop into Revel Brewing Co for a tasting paddle of brews made fresh on-site or sample a diversity of beer at The Oxford Tap House. For a relaxed pub experience, visit the bright and breezy Oxford 152 and watch the world go by.

05. Start your day with pasta for breakfast

Linger a little longer at Sister Cafe, a street-side pastel paradise on Hawthorne Rd. Enjoy a fresh and quirky breakfast from its inventive, seasonal menu. The breakfast gnocchi with a poached egg, bacon crumb, mushroom ragu and truffle oil is worth the visit alone.

06. 'Sea food' and eat it

Pull on a bib and prepare to get messy. A visit to King Crab Co involves more than just eating – it’s a full-sensory experience! Plating up the freshest seafood, King Crab Co. brings the mess and the fun back to dining out with its 'crab in the bag' concept. Sure, you have to work for your dinner but it’s well worth the effort. 

07. Sample a world of coffee 

Only a few paces from the river, the award-winning Bellissimo serves freshly brewed coffee and all-day dining from 6am until 6pm. Beans are sourced from around the world with limited edition, specialty and seasonal varieties dropping year-round, complementing its Ultimo and Emporio house blends. After 6pm, the café transforms into Besitos, a pop-up dining experience hosting seasonal and one-night dining events. 

08. Shop high fashion along high streets

Stroll along Bulimba and Hawthorne’s sun-dappled streets and refresh your wardrobe or snap up a statement piece at one of its many boutiques. Oxford St is home to retailers including Etre, LUNAMAY, House on Oxford and Soho Bay. You can also find White Label Noba along Riding Rd. 

An image of shops on Oxford St at Bulimba.

Oxford Street, Bulimba

09. Pack a picnic

Hawthorne Garage is a gourmet food wonderland. Pick up a selection of fresh produce, gourmet condiments and treats galore including flaky pastries and international cheeses before throwing down a rug at Vic Lucas Park for lunch on the river. There is also a deli with premade sandwiches, snacks and light meals for effortless eating. 

10. Eat your way around the world

If you can’t decide what to have for dinner, a stroll through Bulimba and Hawthorne will leave you spoilt for choice with a bounty of international cuisines to tempt your taste buds. For pasta, pizza and authentic Italian fare, try Mina Italian, Sugo Mi and Marinara. If you’re craving the fresh flavours of Asia, book a table at Pawpaw Asian Kitchen, Melrose, Mameek Kitchen or Vietnamese Mint. Head south of the border with traditional tacos at Cartel Del Taco and Mucho Mexicano, both on Hawthorne Rd. Pop into Downtown Istanbul for traditional Turkish food. 

11. Pick up a new read

Squeeze past latte-sipping locals at the popular Riverbend Cafe on the deck and into the award-winning Riverbend Books. In addition to its killer collection of novels, Riverbend also offers a jam-packed program of author events, poetry evenings, book clubs and workshops for children.

12. Tee off at the local golf club

Grab your mates, whack a few balls and sink a few brews at Bulimba Golf Club. Play socially, join a competition or book tuition from the resident pro at the waterfront club. With riverside views and cheap meals, it's a top spot to play and while away the day.

13. Date night sorted with a film and dinner

There are two cinemas along Hawthorne Rd: the three-screen Hawthorne Cineplex and the lush Hawthorne Deluxe directly across the road. Fortuitously, there is also an abundance of dining options nearby making dinner-and-a-movie date nights a breeze. Start with a delicious meal at Downtown Istanbul, Mameek Kitchen, Mucho Mexicano, Cartel Del Taco or Marinara Restaurant before catching a session at either cinema.

14. Beat the heat with a gelato treat

Besides serving exceptional pizza and pasta, Sugo Mi also operates a gelato bar, secreted down a laneway behind the restaurant. Further along Oxford St is Bennie Adams Ice Cream Bar, a cosy little ice creamery with a colourful display case that will leave you stumped for choice. Gelatissimo serves up to 30 flavours a day from its bright shopfront and Nom Nom Natural Gelato offers a range of vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free scoops. 

15. Treat your dog to a day out 

Take your pooch for a big day out in Bulimba. Burn off some energy in the off-leash area at Bulimba Riverside Park then wander along the riverfront walkway to Oxford St. Grab a coffee for yourself and a bowl of water for your best mate from the pooch-friendly café, Bellissimo. No doggie day out is complete without a visit to DOGUE, a luxury dog boutique, pet store and grooming service. DOGUE Day Spa services run the full gamut of pooch pampering: clipping, cutting, conditioning and more. 

16. Relax and book a spa day

Why let your four-legged friend have all the pampering fun? Rejuvenate your whole body at one of the suburbs’ many day spas and beauty salons. Book a luxurious package or a signature treatment at Petrichor Day Spa, Bulimba Day Spa or Stephanie’s Urban Spa. Issada Cosmetic Studio is the destination for special event make-up, skincare and lash and brow services. Soothe your aches and pains with a remedial massage at Sofia’s Wellness or Hands4Health, both on Riding Rd. 

17. Find the perfect gift

Treat a friend – or yourself with beautiful blooms or a thoughtful gift from one of Bulimba’s many florists and gift shops. Flour & Bloom Hawthorne has an arrangement for any occasion while Hawthorne Garage receives a daily delivery of Campbell and Bradley blooms for last-minute gifts. Browse specialty homeware and gift stores for perfect presents including Victor Scot, Indigo, Coming Up Roses and Soho Bay

18. Try a fresh cut from one of Brisbane’s best barbers

Lads, nail that new look at George’s Barber. Ladies, pop into Barber Girl for a quick and convenient walk-in haircut. You can also book stylish cuts and fresh colours at dozens of salons including TONI & GUY, B Hair, Marigold Hairdressing and The Halo Room