The best locations, how to get there and how to take the perfect pictures — everything you need to know about Riverfire is right here.
In an explosive Brisbane Festival finale, Sunsuper Riverfire will ignite the Brisbane City skyline for a spectacular fireworks display.
The pyrotechnic extravaganza, held on Saturday 27 September, will be set to an almighty soundtrack of the year’s biggest songs (and a few classics). There’s a lot to know about this special event and you don’t want to miss out on any of the fun. We’ve put together your ultimate guide to Riverfire 2014, so you can just relax and enjoy the show.
Gates open at South Bank Parklands: 5pm
Superhornets flypast: 3.30pm
Superhornets flypast: 5.40pm
ADF Helicopters: 5.50pm
Superhornets flypast: 7.04pm
Fireworks for 30mintues: 7.00pm
Event ends: 10pm
A special Anzac Riverfire event
The First World War contribution from two of Queensland’s most iconic military units, will be commemorated at a special Anzac Centenary function to coincide with the Riverfire celebration. 100 horses (representing 100 years) from the Australian Light Horse Association will undertake a commemorative ride through Brisbane on Saturday 27 September at 5 pm. The best vantage points will be along Adelaide Street in Brisbane CBD between George and Creek streets.
From 12pm to 6pm at the South Bank Piazza, you can learn about Queensland’s role in the 1st Australian Imperial Force in the First World War, meet members of the Australian Light Horse Association and watch actors dressed in First World War uniforms re-enact solider training exercises as undertaken in 1914.
The best Riverfire vantage points
Unless you’re a newcomer to Brisbane, it should go without saying that South Bank Parklands is the most popular destination for Riverfire crowds. (If you ARE a newcomer to Brisbane, welcome — you got here just in time!)
Likewise, it’s a given that every restaurant with a decent view of the show will be cashing in with grand Riverfire packages (and rightly so). Meanwhile, true Riverfire tragics will have already booked out the top floors of well-placed hotels to ensure they don’t miss a thing.
But if you want crystal clear, uninterrupted views of Riverfire that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, event organisers recommend hightailing it to the following locations. You’ll need to get in early to secure yourself a good spot, but trust us – it’ll be worth it.
The best vantage points
- Eagle Street
- Kangaroo Point Cliffs
- Victoria Bridge
- Captain Burke Park
- Wilson’s Lookout
The best family friendly vantage points in the suburbs
The team at Brisbane Kids recommend the following locations for families:
- Collins Road, Ferny Hills
- Highgate Hill Park, corner of Dornoch Terrace and Hampstead Road
- Stuartholme Road, Bardon
- Camelia Avenue, Everton Hills
- Mount Coot-tha lookout
- Mount Gravatt Outlook Reserve
- Bartleys Lookout, Ascot
- Forbes Street, Hawthorne
- Camp Hill Bowls Club, Ferguson Rd
- Trammies Corner, Paddington
- Bilsen Road, Zeehan Road
- Rode Road, Wavell Heights
- Plucks Road, Arana Hills
- Caratel Street, Stafford Heights
The best restaurants and bars
If you want to splurge, the team at Brisbane tourism body Brisbane Marketing have given these restaurants and bars their seal of approval for Riverfire dining.
- Tucked beside Stokehouse at South Bank’s riverside precinct River Quay, Aquitaine Brasserie offers a casual, dining experience, inspired by L’Aquitaine in South West France. To book, call 3844 1888 or visit aquitainebrasserie.com.au.
- The Jetty South Bank (River Quay, Shop 4, Sidon St) embraces the best in Queensland produce, interweaving Indonesian with a distinctly modern Australian menu. For bookings, call 3844 8838.
- Cove Bar + Dining (River Quay, Sidon Street) offers an intimate, laid back dining experience, with a selection of casual share plates, sumptuous main courses and seasonal oyster creations. To book, call 3844 3993 or visit covebardining.com.au.
- South Bank Surf Club (30aa Stanley Plaza, South Bank Parklands), right next to Streets beach, is offering a special Riverfire event that includes a three course menu, three hour drinks package and live entertainment all night. To book, go to myguestlist.com.au.
- With an extensive menu featuring Mediterranean cuisine and seafood, Kapsali Taverna (Shop 31A South Bank Parklands) offers fun for the whole family. Call 3846 1803 to book.
- Offering organically grown and sustainably farmed produce, Champ Kitchen and Bar (114 Grey St, South Brisbane) offers a modern Australian cuisine. To book, call 3844 4470 or visit champkitchenandbar.com.au.
- With a great selection of Italian and Australian wines, Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar (3 Sidon St) specialises in rustic Italian tapas and shared dishes. To book, call 3846 7784 or visit popolodining.com.
- ARIA (1 Eagle St) is offering a three course menu with a choice of five dishes per course, featuring signature ARIA dishes and a glass of Bartlett’s sparkling on arrival. To book, call 3233 2555 or email email@example.com.
- Perfectly positioned on the Brisbane waterfront, Bavarian Bier Café (45 Eagle St) offers all of your favourite Bavarian-style dishes, as well as an extensive range of Pure Biers, schnapps and wine. To book, call 3015 0555 or visit bavarianbiercafe.com.
- Cha Cha Char (Shop 5/1 Eagle St) will ignite the night in style with sweeping river views and their acclaimed a la carte menu and steak menu. To book, call 3211 9944 or visit www.chachachar.com.au/riverfire .
- Customs House (399 Queen St) promises fantastic river views, canapés on arrival, a three-course meal and a deluxe beverage package. To book, call 3365 8921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Esquire (145 Eagle St) hosts Riverfire+Ice, a premium VIP cocktail charity event offering prime views of Brisbane River and the Story Bridge, an exciting menu by head chef Ryan Squire, a premium beverage package and live musicians. To book, visit www.riverfireandice.com.au
- Friday’s Riverside (123 Eagle St) will be serving mountains of pork and beef sliders, ice cold beers, wines, Bacardi mojitos and Bacardi rum punch. To book, visit myguestlist.com.au/537c373cd3fed/riverfire-2014/.
- George’s Paragon (Level 1/45 Eagle St) overlooks the Brisbane River with stunning views of the Story Bridge. To book, call 3211 8111 or www.georgesparagonseafood.com.
- Riverbar & Kitchen (Promenade Level, Riparian Plaza, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane) offers a first-class vantage point of the Story Bridge fireworks, jugs of delicious cocktails and live music. To find out more, call 3211 9020 or visit www.riverbarandkitchen.com.au.
- Riverlife (Naval Stores, Kangaroo Point Bikeway, Kangaroo Point) is hard to beat as a vantage point – enjoy the spectacle from the river’s edge at Riverlife’s boathouse-style venue. For more info call 3891 5766 or to book tickets visit riverfirebrisbane.com.au
- Saké Restaurant & Bar (Level 1, 45 Eagle Street, Brisbane) pairs amazing views with Saké’s special cherry blossom festival celebrations for a night to remember. Gorgeous décor will complement seasonal menu additions and sakura-inspired cocktails. Call 3015 0557 or visit sakerestaurant.com.au/brisbane/news/detail/106 .
- Stamford Plaza (Cnr Margaret and Edward Streets, Brisbane) is calling on you to indulge in a seafood buffet and carvery with a four-hour beverage package and live entertainment with the Brasserie on the River’s Dinner an Dance Riverside package. To find out more, call 3100 5749 or visit stamford.com.au/spb/restaurant–bar/sunsuper-riverfire-specials
- The Cliffs Café (29 River Terrace, Kangaroo Point) has cocktails, canapés, live entertainment and a view from the Kangaroo Point cliffs – what more could you want on Riverfire night? Call 3393 1209 to book or visit moshtix.com.au/v2/event/riverfire-at-cliffs-cafe/72682 .
- The Groove Train (123 Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane) has uninterrupted, scenic views of the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point, and is located conveniently opposite the City Cat terminal. To book, call 3220 0420 or check out groovetrain.com.au
- Il Centro (Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street Brisbane) is the perfect choice if you are craving Italian cuisine while you watch Riverfire from the perfect vantage point. The owners, Andy and Marcia, have just opened an outstanding new bar right next door — pop into Mr & Mrs G Riverbar (Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street Brisbane) for a pre-dinner drink.To book, call 3221 6090 or go to il-centro.com.au and mrandmrsg.com.au
- Brisbane Jazz Club (1 Annie St, Kangaroo Point, next to Holman St Ferry stop) is offering a special event in celebration of Riverfire, with Kristin Berardi performing her unique vocal stylings backed by musicians Dave McGuire, Dave Spicer, Nathaniel Andrew and Myka Wallace. To book, call 3391 2006 or go to brisbanejazzclub.com.au.
- Jellyfish (Boardwalk Level, Riverside Centre 123 Eagle St Brisbane) is one of the nation’s best seafood restaurants. Starting from 6pm, there will be be a special à la carte service with a minimum $125 per person spend. Bookings are essential so call 3220 2202 or go to www.jellyfishrestaurant.com.au.
- Kookaburra River Queens (Eagle Street Pier) are ready to party New Orleans style. Come on board the timber paddle wheeler, Kookaburra Queen I, in your best New Orleans Mardi Gras attire – in green, purple and gold colours, feathered mask and beads! Your ticket will include a menu including Southern finger-food, a cocktail on arrival and a four hour unlimited drinks package, roving entertainers and jazz performers. Bookings essential so call 3221 1300 or go to www.kookaburrariverqueens.com
- Madame Wu (Upper Plaza Level, Riparian Plaza 71, Eagle Street) is your best bet if you’re after sumptuous modern Asian cuisine as well as brilliant views. The venue has a capacity in excess of 200 people, including private dining rooms, a fully covered alfresco deck with retractable roof, full service bar and lounge with magnificent views of the Brisbane River, Story Bridge, Kangaroo Point and Brisbane CBD skyline. Call 3229 5070 or www.madamewu.com.au.
- MICAT (Moreton Island Adventures Ferry Terminal, 14 Howard Smith Drive, Port of Brisbane) is running the Riverfire 2014 – On The Water, Under The Stars cruise. Departing at 4.30pm and returning at 9pm, the cruise includes a gourmet buffet-style three course meal, a live band and choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Call 3909 3333 to book or go to moretonislandadventures.com.au/events/brisbane-riverfire.
- Motion Bar & Grill (Brisbane Marriott Hotel, 515 Queen St) is the place for decadent and delicious food with stunning riverfront views. Chef Ben Bennett has stamped his mark on the two- and three-course menu creation which includes his Mooloolaba Chilli Prawns sautéed in papadelle pasta, garden herbs with preserved lemon and olive oil and his roasted beetroot & caramelised onion tart with rocket, reduced balsamic and olive oil. For bookings call 3303 8034 or go to marriott.com/hotel-restaurants/bnedt-brisbane-marriott-hotel/motion-bar-&-grill.
- Navala Churrascaria (Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane City) is a fusion of modern flavours prepared using ancient cooking techniques. Enjoy a refreshing South American cocktail in this stunning riverside location. Call 3112 2812 or visit navala.com.au.
- Nagomi (Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane City). Enjoy drinks, cocktails and beers as you soak up the riverfront views and modern Japanese styling and cuisine. Call 3268 6655 or visit nagomibento.com.au.
- Pony Lounge and Dining (Upper Level, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane City). Head to Pony Dining to celebrate Riverfire with stunning views of the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge. Enjoy canapés, cocktails, a four hour drinks package and much more for $150 per person. You can also tantalise your tastebuds with the normal a la carte menu and group dining available from 5.30pm in the Parlour and Rodeo Drive rooms with views of the kitchen and Brisbane City. Call 3181 3410 or visit ponydining.com.au .
The Do’s and Don’ts of Riverfire
Do remember that there will be extensive road closures throughout the City, South Bank, West End, Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley areas. Brisbane Festival recommends using public transport. Delays may be experienced to CityCat services during Sunsuper Riverfire. For more information, click here.
Don’t bring contraband. The following will be confiscated at South Bank so no pets, bikes and scooters, drink bottles with broken seals (including bottles of water or soft drink), glass or alcohol.
Do remember to set your alarm because you want to leave early and start early. There will be people and action to watch all day as the Riverfestival gears up but don’t miss the action because you left it too late!
Don’t let the rain keep you away. Riverfire will still go ahead in the rain. In the event of any delays or cancellations, announcements will be made through Twitter and Facebook and via Channel 9 and Triple M.
Do keep your pets safe. Remember they may be frightened by the fireworks and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) displays. Make sure they are safe and secure as there will be Super Hornet and ADF helicopter displays late in the afternoon and evening. Talk to your vet or make sure someone is with them.
Don’t worry about the facilities. There will be additional temporary toilets in place, but it’s still a wise idea to go before you leave home.
How to take the perfect Riverfire photos
Todd Berlin, Video Pro customer service specialist, offers up his tips for getting the most out of your Riverfire shots.
Know Your Gear!
More important than knowing what settings you should start with is knowing what to change if you’re not getting the results you want. When you review your image, you should know what you need to change (namely shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and HOW to do that on your camera.
By its very nature, shooting in manual mode (recommended) takes control away from the camera and puts it in your hands. You must continually review your photos, make adjustments, shoot again, then repeat all that.
Photograph the excitement, not the fireworks
The most interesting fireworks photos we’ve seen are those that capture not only the actual fireworks, but the atmosphere and magnitude of the event. Try and include some people, buildings, bridges, trees or reflections when composing your shot.
Try bulb mode
Often shutter speeds of anywhere between two to 10 seconds are best for fireworks. An alternative to pre-setting the shutter speed is to shoot in Bulb Mode, where the sensor stays exposed as long as you hold down the shutter button. It means you can capture the full tail of the explosion and NOT the beginning of the next one. This won’t work very well unless you have a remote.
RAW files contain a whole lot more data that JPEGs and therefore give you a better capacity to enhance your shots in post processing.
Take a comfy chair and whatever else you need to relax and have fun. Happy Riverfire and good luck!
If you think you’ve taken a great Riverfire photo, enter it into our competition for your chance to win a Sony Digital SLR camera!
If you’re proud of your city, help spread the message with Team Brisbane! Use the hashtags #teambne and #brisbaneanyday when you talk about Riverfire on social media and visit teambne.com.au.