A Student Guide On How To Master The Musical, Cultural And Caffeinated Hubs of Brisbane’s South Bank.


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South Bank Precinct

If you’ve just recently your offer to study at Griffith Uni’s Southbank campuses – Congratulations & welcome!

As a recent graduate from the Queensland Conservatorium I can tell you that, whether you are at the Griffith Film School, Queensland College of the Arts or the Queensland Conservatorium,many years of creativity, collaboration and artistic endeavour await!

You should be very excited…

These creative courses tend to differ from more conventional degrees in a number of ways.

You will, like all creatives, swing between wild inspirational highs and tragic lows clouded by artistic angst. It’s all part of a process. As well as suffering from that inevitable artistic ennui you will be spending an inordinate amount of time in and around the Southbank campuses.

Let’s be honest, spending your time in the heart of Brisbane’s cultural district isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Sure it is a little touristy, I mean there is a fake beach there after all!
But if you know what you are doing, it is an absolute hub of music, cultural events, creative people and some top quality flat whites.

The Cultural Centres

Obviously there is a part of Southbank literally called ‘The Cultural Centre’. This name proves to be apt. The Cultural Centre contains QPAC’s theatres, three museums, the state library and the Gallery of Modern Art. So there is a bit to do.

There is always something going on at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). The centre stages more than 1200 performances a year. Which if you do the maths, wait sorry you are an arts student right? Don’t worry I did it for you; it is 3.28 shows a day.

There are a wide variety of shows on and often if you go up to the box office the day of a show you want to see they can offer student rush prices which are a real bargain. There is always a wide range of things to see, but if you want to broaden your tastes the Queensland Ballet performs regularly and is widely regarded as one of best ballet companies in Australia. Worth checking out even if it is just to drop in a conversation that you are have been to the ballet.

Very impressive. Très sophisticated.

The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is fantastic to wander into for an extended lunch break. The exhibits fluctuate between some pretty wild extremes. You might be met with gripping installations by Chinese Post-Modernist Cai Guo-Qiang or the wrld’s largest Marvel Superhero Exhibition. You just don’t know.

And if you aren’t that interested in the artsy stuff there is always air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi at these places; a serious consideration at the start of the academic year.

Live Musictim-munro-griffith-university-qld-conservatorium

Southbank is bursting with live music. One of the best regular events is the ‘Green Jam Session’ at QPAC. These happen every Friday night and are entirely free. Some great up and coming bands play there in pretty well every genre from Folk to Jazz. It’s the perfect place to go and chill after a long week at Uni.

If you ever happen to go into Uni on the weekend (I’m kidding, you will be going in on the weekend, sorry) there is a similar event for you to catch every Sunday afternoon . The ‘Sunday Session on the Green’ is further down in the Southbank amphitheatre. Great local musicians performing in front of the Brisbane River and skyline as the sunsets on a breezy Sunday afternoon? Yeah, it’s alright.


Now you’re sorted for culturally enriching activities, live music all you need to know is where the good coffee is at.

The long and short answer is a café called ‘Treehouse’. Tucked away on Grey street next to the Commonwealth Bank it is a great, affordable and friendly little café. They make a mean latte and Shaun who owns the place is the friendliest guy around.

There you are; the three essentials to getting your Southbank University career off to the best possible start. But remember the main thing is to enjoy the coming years of learning and creativity. (And what hope would you have without a good coffee shop?)

Happy studying and thanks for reading!

Chris McNee, graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.


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