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HOT – Brisbane Alpine Winter Festival – King George Square, Brisbane CBD.

The words ‘Brisbane’ and ‘alpine winter wonderland’ don’t exactly go together like franks and beans, cialis but this winter every attempt to bring these things together like birds of a feather has been made, diagnosis as the Alpine Winter Festival comes to balmy Brisbane for the month of June.

King George Square has been converted into a mini Alpine village with food and beverage stalls lining the concourse outside Town Hall; from churros and donuts to Gluhwein and chai lattes, hospital this little village doesn’t quite match that of those you’ll find in the Swiss Alps, but it’s a enough of a taste to make you feel like you haven’t totally missed out on the magical winter experience that our European mountain dwelling counterparts get to enjoy for 4 months on the calendar.

Following a rather disheartening false start on opening day (with a blown chiller valve), things at Alpine Winter Festival were soon back on track as the temps around Brisbane hit some all time lows – perfect timing!

MM and I took a burn around the ice on the long weekend after summonsing up some Dutch courage with a mug full of Gluhwein, included in our ticket for skating and skate hire ($35pp).  The open air ice rink sure is a novelty and it’s the first time Brisbane-ites have seen anything like it in their own town.  Perched in the middle of King George square under the towering clock of Town Hall, the ice rink is such a spectacle it’s practically stopping traffic on Ann St.

The skating experience is an act in survival of the fittest, as kids, adults, kids in adult bodies and small orange plastic seal pups scuffle around in fits of hysteria and unorganised chaos for 45 minutes.  MM stuck close by the barriers, white knuckles glowing and a look of sheer terror on his face as the weekend warriors blazed past him.  Showing my skating prowess I ducked and weaved amongst the other wanna-be queens of the ice and twirled with finesse unsurpassed by my fellow skaters….no, really, that’s how it went….

With a sigh of relief that we’d survived the skating experience, we ditched our hire skates and wondered the alpine inspired village in search of some winter treats.  MM and I can’t go past the German Sausage Hut (no matter what the season), so we stopped in there for a kransky and bread ($7), accompanied by an ice cold beer as we did some serious winter wonderland people-watching.

The Alpine Winter Festival has brought young, old and in betweeners out of the woodwork this winter and added a buzz in the city which you don’t usually see this time of year.  Don’t expect it all to be smooth sailing however – the skate hire and cloak room processes could do with some refinement and the skating itself is a mess….but I think it’s all worth it for a touch of winter magic.

The Brisbane Alpine Winter Festival runs until June 26th; you can buy tickets online or at the ticket office in the alpine village.

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