The Hidden Charms of Spring Hill

Spring Hills Australia - Air-rive

Image credit: Darren England (The Courier Mail)

An inner suburb of Brisbane located 2 km north of the central business district, Spring Hill has a few hidden secrets that are worth discovering.

This historical borough offers everything a traveller can want from numerous heritage sites to exciting and fun recreational activities, and quirky coffee shops and highly rated cafes.

If you are ever in Brisbane, you can make an unplanned side trip to Spring Hill because it is considered as an extension of the Brisbane CBD.

Here is a simple guide to help your way around Spring Hill:

Accommodation

Travellers can choose from a variety of accommodations, from top-rated hotels to bed-and-breakfasts to serviced apartments. You can check out Spring Hill accommodations through popular online booking platforms.

Punthill Spring Hill Hotel offers beautifully designed service apartments with its own kitchen, workspace or private balcony. It is a short walk to the Central train station, bus links and river ferries, as well as to the Queen St. Mall and Brisbane’s CBD.  It has an on-site restaurant, especially convenient if you want to stay in for the day.

Diamant Hotel is a modern boutique hotel offering beautifully appointed rooms plus various room amenities to make your stay more comfortable. It is close to the shopping malls, the Central train station and infinite dining options. Or, you can hit up the O’Bar, the restaurant bar underneath it that offers a different menu every day.

If you are looking for alternative accommodations, check out this apartment unit, the Heritage Hill – Hidden Treasure High on the Hill in the heart of the suburb. The CBD is just minutes away and cafes, bars, restaurants and the Fortitude Precinct is easily accessible by foot. If you are interested in staying in Spring Hill, contact Air-rive to help you book your accommodation.

Recreation

There may be many types of adventures to enjoy in Brisbane, but Spring Hill is not to be outdone.

Spring Hill may be quiet, especially after dark, but it is not lacking in recreational activities that both locals and tourists can enjoy.

Roma Street Parkland at 1 Parkland Blvd, just 10 minutes by foot from the CBD, features 16 hectares of spectacular parklands, including designer gardens and sprawling green lawns. It is popular with garden and plant enthusiasts because of its amazing themed gardens.

The parkland also features recreational areas for picnic and barbeque as well as a network of pathways and boardwalks passing through waterways and rocky outcrops. Scattered around the parkland are various artworks done by local artists. An open air amphitheatre inside the park is used to host plays and orchestral concerts.

Open seven days a week, Roma Street Parkland can be accessed via the Roma Street railway station or from Albert Street.

One of the must-do-list when in Brisbane is trying the Spring Hill Baths, also called the Arthur Street Baths or Municipal Baths. It is a heritage-listed swimming pool built between 1886 and 1913.

If you’d like to take a rest from visiting museums and shopping, enjoy a few laps at its 25-yard heated indoor pool. It is open year-round for swimming, aqua aerobics and swimming lessons. Aside from the addition of a filtration system in 1961, the facility’s structure remains intact, including the brightly coloured separate changing cubicles for men and women and the upper gallery with stepped wooden bleachers.

Heritage Sites

Being one of the oldest residential neighbourhoods in Brisbane, Spring Hill boasts of numerous houses built as far back as the nineteenth century. Walking through the streets, you will see charming workers cottages and terrace houses, as well as beautifully restored heritage-listed buildings.

For people who are interested in Brisbane history, the Saunter through Spring Hill Heritage Trail is the perfect activity. It is a 3.2 km trail with 21 points of interest. The trail starts at Lady Bowen Hospital on Wickham Terrace and ends at the Alliance Hotel on the corner of Leichhardt and Boundary Streets.

Along the way, visitors get to learn and see for themselves the area’s interesting history, including information about:

  • Early European settlement
  • The Spring Hill Baths
  • World War II
  • The Plague

Here are the 21 heritage sites you will see along the Saunter Spring Hill Heritage Trail:* (*info courtesy of the Brisbane City Council website.)

  • Lady Bowen Hospital

    Built in 1889 to help
    expectant mothers.
    Location: 497 Wickham Terrace

  • Boundary Street

    Original
    town boundary.
    Location: Boundary Street

  • Spring Hill Baths

    These baths are last remaining covered
    baths in Australia.
    Location: 16 Torrington Street

  • The Lady in Blue

    This the former site of the Presbyterian
    Mission Hall where Deaconess May Walker
    helped Spring Hill’s poor.
    Location: 122 Fortescue Street

  • Park
    Terrace

    This row of 1880s cottages was built as rental investments and called “Park Terrace.”
    Location: 130-146 Fortescue Street

  • Victoria Park

    This historic park was first
    gazettte in 1875.
    Location: 454 Gregory Terrace

  • Gregory Terrace Officers’ Camp

    During WW 2 this was a site of the Gregory Terrace Officers’ Camp.
    Location: 454 Gregory Terrace

  • Mrs. Long’s Cottage

    One of the smallest
    houses in Brisbane.
    Location: 116 Isaac Street

  • Spring Hollow

    The valley where Water Street now runs was originally called Spring Hollow.
    Location: Water Street

  • Spring Hill Quarry

    This quarry supplied stone for much of Spring Hill’s late 19th century street improvements.
    Location: 33 Quarry Street

  • A kingdom of happiness / Bedford Playground

    This park was established in the 1930s for disadvantaged children.
    Location: 8 Love Street

  • Rogers and Victoria
    Streets

    These are two of Spring Hill’s most picturesque streets.
    Location: 134 St. Paul’s Terrace

  • The plague

    The first case of bubonic plague struck
    Spring Hill in May 1900.
    Location: St. Paul’s Terrace

  • Villa Maria Hostel

    This beautiful building was built in the 1920s for the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
    Location: 171 St. Paul’s Terrace

  • Thornbury Street cottages

    These 1870s cottages are a rare example of this style of housing in Brisbane.
    Location: 1-15 Thornbury Street

  • Dahrl Court

    This set of architecturally designed flats was
    built in 1936.
    Location: 43 Phillips Street

  • Gloucester Street

    This street has many examples of
    19th century duplexes.
    Location: Gloucester Street

  • Spring Hill’s larrikins

    The larrikin has emerged in Brisbane in the
    late 19th century and groups of them caused
    havoc in Spring Hill.
    Location: St. Paul’s Terrace

  • Former site of the Hospital for Sick Children

    This was the former site of Brisbane’s
    first children’s hospital.
    Location: 43 St. Paul’s Terrace

  • Leichhardt Street

    The Spring Hill Picture Palace previously stood on the corner of Leichhardt and Boundary Streets. Location: 289 Boundary Street

  • Alliance Hotel

    There has been a hotel on this site from as early as 1864.
    Location: 320 Boundary Street

Another must-see heritage site is the Old Windmill Tower. Sitting atop Spring Hill, it is the oldest surviving building in all of Queensland, built by convicts in 1827.

From the outside, visitors have little to no inkling that the tower has five floors and a hexagonal staircase spiraling around an inner pole from the ground to the observation deck. In the 1930s, it was from the tower that the first television signals in the southern hemisphere were transmitted.

Today it is the main attraction at Observatory Park.

Where to eat

This primarily residential area offers great eateries, cute coffee shops, as well as vibrant nightspots.

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Jak + Hill, which is located below Punthill Hotel at Astor Terrace. Ready for a hit of caffeine? Head to Holy Moly Espresso, located on Leichhardt Street. For lunch and some dessert afterwards, try SisCo, a cade run by two sisters. Their tasty salads and great coffee are worth the visit. If you are craving for some home-cooked dishes, there is Spring Hill Deli Café, just right across from SisCo.

When it comes to great places to stay, places to eat, and things to see and do, Spring Hill offers what travellers have come to expect from a travel destination. So, the next time you travel to Brisbane, a side trip to Spring Hill will make it worth your while.