AS the disco balls are taken down, the glitter is brushed off, and sore heads are nursed while walking down Oxford St the morning after the Mardi Gras parade and party, many may be left asking “well, where to next?”

The answer may just be a short flight north in Brisbane where the party continues. It’s also the perfect chill out is awaiting those weary heads.

Once dismissed as Queensland’s “big country town”, Brisbane has shaken off much of its past and emerged as the home to a vibrant, hip and growing LGBTI scene with a variety of cultural offerings that can rival anything found in its southern cousins.

To be able to see all of the following attractions (and more) with ease, we recommend you stay at the Adina Apartment Hotel, located in Anzac Square right in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD.

For those looking to keep the festive feeling alive after Mardi Gras, Brisbane can keep that fire going with several major events, including one of Australia’s biggest street parties and a key highlight on Brisbane’s LGBTI cultural calendar: Big Gay Day at the iconic Wickham Hotel.

Big Gay Day 2014

The Potbelleez perform live at Big Gay Day 2014

The Wickham Hotel (Photo credit: David Alexander; Star Observer)

The Wickham Hotel (Photo credit: David Alexander; Star Observer)

The sense of renewal in the air in Brisbane is strong, and well after Big Gay Day ends you can kick on at the the Sportsmans and Brunswick Hotels right in the middle of the city’s traditional “gaybourhoods”. Scene favourites the Beat Megaclub and Fluffy are also on hand to provide the perfect soundtrack to a great night out.Star Observer MREC_300x250

If dancing until dawn (again) isn’t on the cards after Mardi Gras, there are numerous chill out options in Brisbane that will recharge batteries, invigorate the mind and guarantee a good time.

Starting from early March, the lavish London Palladium’s production of the Sound of Music arrives at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, starring Marina Prior and Amy Lehpamer as Maria.

One of Brisbane’s most-loved venues and home to the queer arts festival MELT, the Brisbane Powerhouse also offers a plethora of events ranging from plays, concerts and exhibitions.

Lovers of art will always find something engaging and mind-provoking at the Queensland Art Gallery and Galley of Modern Art that routinely offers world-premiere exhibitions, along with other innovative galleries scattered around the city.

The natural beauty aspect of Brisbane is also often overlooked but for those keen on getting back to nature can either stroll through the city’s Botanical Gardens, Roma Street Parklands and Mount Coot-Tha reserve, or take a short drive out to mounts Glorious and Nebo that offer a spectacular view of Brisbane and surrounds.

The glorious view of Brisbane from Mt Coo-tha (Image source: Flickr)

The glorious view of Brisbane from Mount Coo-tha (Image source: Flickr)

The Queensland capital is also emerging as a competitive gastro hub with a food scene that has boomed over the past few years and will satisfy any desire.

Restaurants along Eagle Street Pier and in gay-friendly areas such as Fortitude Valley’s Emporium and James Street, Teneriffe, West End and Paddington offer almost any cuisine you can think of. Be sure to check out Brisbane’s favourite weekly “foodie” event, Eat Street Markets.

Fortitude Valley is one of Brisbane's hip neighbourhoods with lots of dining and cafe options. (Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Fortitude Valley is one of Brisbane’s hip neighbourhoods with lots of dining and cafe options. (Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

So if you’ve partied enough and need to rest tired feet and weary heads, or still have that fire inside and need to keep the music going, Brisbane is an exciting destination that offers much more than some may have come to expect from that big country town.

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Big Gay Day

Where: Brisbane

When: March 12, 2016

BRISBANE

Where to stay: 4.5-star Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane Anzac Square

Inclusions: Two nights accommodation at the 4.5-star Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane Anzac Square in a Studio Advance Purchase.

Price: $169 per person

Travel Dates: October 1 – November 30, 2015; and February 1 – March 30, 2016.

DETAILS: http://www.flightcentre.com.au/accommodation/brisbane/3726755

For more fantastic gay and lesbian holidays, visit flightcentre.com.au/holidays/gay-and-lesbian

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