Brisbane is one of those city’s that continues to evolve. If you’re there with your family, you’ve no doubt already taken them to South Bank and visited the manmade Streets Beach there. Perhaps you’ve even taken them through the excellent Queensland Museum or QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art).
Make the most of the excellent weather they enjoy in southeast Queensland year-round, hire a rental car and take off on an adventure to some of the city’s outer suburbs. You’ll discover gardens on mountains, great places to swim and wildlife encounters they’ll remember forever. Here are four family-friendly Brisbane adventures for you to enjoy together.
Fig Tree Pocket is a suburb on a bend in the Brisbane River, located about a half-hour’s drive from the centre of the city. Here you’ll find one of the best family activities in all of Brisbane. Since 1927, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has been protecting Australia’s favourite furry friend. Back then the founder had just two koalas, Jack, and Jill, but now there are more than a hundred in the sanctuary’s eucalyptus trees. You can even join the Koala Discovery Tour and find out more about these incredible animals and have your photograph taken with one. There are many other native animals, birds, and reptiles to visit as well.
If you’ve still got some time left in the day, kids will love Biami Yumba Park. It’s built around a lagoon, with lots of swings, slides, a sand pit, climbing nets and a fort. There are also lots of birds, including ducks who live in the pond.
The highest point of the city is Mt Coot-tha and plenty of people drive up here, 20 minutes from the CBD, just to visit the summit lookout with its views of Brisbane and Moreton Bay. But there’s plenty to do if you want to spend a few hours. Up here, there’s a 1,600-hectare forest known as Mt Coot-tha Reserve. There are lots of walks you can take, including a short stroll on the Ghost Hole Track that takes you past the remnants of old gold mines.
This area is also home to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, where there are native and exotic gardens divided into collections. Head to the Sensory Garden to smell the blooms and gently rub the leaves of plants used for cooking, fragrance, and medicine from around the world. There’s also the Hide ’n’ Seek Children’s Trail in the Exotic Rainforest. Just download the map and find all the different plants and their special features.
Within the botanic gardens, you’ll also discover the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, where you can see a show in the Cosmic Skydome or check out the displays on astronomy and space exploration.
There’s a lot of history here – it was built by unemployed workers during the Great Depression – but perhaps all your kids will care about is getting straight into the water at the Wynnum Wading Pool. This tidal swimming spot on the edge of Moreton Bay, about 20 kilometres east of Brisbane City, first opened in 1933. Water flows in at high tide and flood gates are closed to stop it flowing out when the tide lowers. Every two weeks the gates are opened to flush out the water and clear out the silt that has collected on the bottom. It doesn’t get much deeper than the waist, but there are semi-submerged tiered stairs around the edge where parents can sit and supervise.
Within a stroll of the pool, you’ll discover some of Wynnum’s other wonders, including a jetty, playground, the waterplay Whale Park and a picnic area. You can also walk right along the esplanade and enjoy the peaceful surrounds.
It’s not every day children get to milk a cow or feed a goat, but they can do all that and more at White Ridge Farm, 90 minutes’ drive north of Brisbane near Caboolture. There’s an interactive petting area that even toddlers will enjoy, but there’s also the chance to hand feed many of the animals, from chickens to a camel.
There is a toddler and adventure playground, as well as hayrides around the farm and a putt-putt golf course. When they’ve had enough of patting the rabbits, watching the horses, wondering whether the chickens will lay an egg or cuddling up to the lambs, you can set up for lunch in the BYO picnic area.
In this part of the world, you’re at the base of the Glass House Mountains, so jump back in the rental car and head up to the Glass House Mountains Lookout. You’ll be able to see some of the best peaks, as well as Caloundra, other parts of the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Island and Brisbane.
Ready to explore Brisbane and surrounds with your family? Book a rental car before you go.