Best Day Trips for Kids
Here's 12 great ideas for days out with kids in and around Brisbane, from the city to the bush and bay, most of which won't cost a thing:
A day trip in Brisbane's CBD has so much to offer and it's all free, including the City loop bus you can jump on and off at any of the stops. On the east side, take a stroll through the City Botanic Gardens and spot the sculptures along the way before having a play in the playground. Up at QUT there is The Cube to visit as well as fantastic holiday activities for kids. And in the centre, the fascinating Cross River Rail Experience Centre has opened to visitors. On the west side, ride the clock tower to the top of City Hall and visit the Museum of Brisbane where there are more free holiday activities. Then explore the Roma Street Parkland, with its own excellent playground. Across the road from Roma St Parkland is the Queensland Police Museum which is free and well worth a visit. Here you can try to solve a murder.
There's plenty to fill a day in the Cultural Centre precinct at South Brisbane. The Children's Art Centre, GOMA, has great free creative activities and the State Library of Queensland has a jam-packed summer holiday program of workshops, classes and more as well as The Corner, a year-round hive of free activities for under 8 year olds. Meanwhile the Queensland Museum is free to visit, the perfect place to while away a couple of hours, and showing this summer is their blockbuster Spiders - The Exhibition (ticketed).
Park the kids bayside at Wynnum for a day, where the foreshore is a hive of fun activity. At one end there's the ethereal Wynnum Mangrove walk and a short stroll south is Wynnum's water park with spouting whales and a giant tidal wading pool with a slippery slide (all free to play and swim). Nearby is a tiny white sandy beach and further along the foreshore are several kids playgrounds. The path along the sea is also great for scooters and young bike riders.
The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens are just the thing for a day out with kids, with so many attractions. Highlights are the Hide-n-Seek Childrens Trail (a mystery trip that grown-ups will love too), the Japanese Gardens with their resident water dragons, the lakes with their resident ducks and turtles, the bamboo grove, the kitchen garden and the tropical display dome. Whilst there pay a visit to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which, as well as the fascinating displays, screens space movies for kids (these are ticketed).
This is a fantastic day out with adventures for all, throughout the Redcliffe peninsula. Start at Clontarf Pelican Park for the daily pelican feeding at 10am. There's also a great playground in the vicinity for kids to let off steam before heading to the Gayundah ship wreck further along at Woody Point. From here the next stop is Suttons Beach, a great sandy patrolled beach with almost no waves, perfect for a paddle. Then around the corner on the Redcliffe seafront is the massive Settlement Cove Lagoon, that is mostly shallow, has little islands and playgrounds too. Up on the Redcliffe esplanade you can take a stroll along the waterfront and out onto the Redcliffe Jetty, opposite which is Bee Gees Way. If you have time head inland to the excellent Redcliffe Museum where they have activities for kids and worth a stop is the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens with their amazing bat colony.
This bush playground just west of Brisbane is a great summer destination, with Enoggera Reservoir's sandy beach for swimming and water games, paddling, kayaking and canoeing and a walking trail around the shore that is an easy and scenic bush walk. On site is the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre with cafe and fantastic walk-through native wildlife centre (which is ticketed) that includes The Gondwana Platypus Rockpool, along with wombats, pademelons, reptiles, frogs and birds.
The beautiful campus of University of Queensland is worth a visit with kids thanks to the addition of a fantastic new state of the art knowledge-themed all abilities playground by the river. Here kids can do archeological digs, ride the zipline, play on the swings, make music, climb the giant towers and more, with a kiosk onsite and BBQ facilities too. 500m away is a community garden to check out and when that's done, head up to the lilypad lakes to see the ducks and into the Great Court where there is a free-to-visit Antiquities Museum full of ancient artefacts from Rome, Greece etc and a fascinating Anthropology Museum too.
Springfield's massive shallow pool to rival South Bank, kids will love to spend hours here at Orion Lagoon paddling, splashing and playing with the water features. Nearby is the awesome new Orion Mega Playground, an adventure wonderland for kids of all ages and abilities, featuring a 3 storey climbing tower and mega slide, in-built trampolines, wheel chair merry-go-round, obstacle courses and an interactive music panel. And if that's not enough, Springfield also has the mega Robelle Domain parklands, with aquativity centres, playgrounds, paths for walking and cycling, forests, fountains and more.
There's so much to see and do in this historic village by the sea, starting with a walk or cycle along the foreshore - and when the tide is low you can go soldier crab spotting in the mudflats. Keep walking around the cliffs to find the old Shorncliffe Pier, perfect for a stroll, and some fantastic picnic and BBQ pavilions. Adjacent to the pier is the beachfront playground, Lower Moora Park, with connecting fortresses on the sand.
Half an hour's drive south of Brisbane is Daisy Hill, famous for its koala centre where you can spot koalas up close for free. Nearby at Priestdale are 3 of the best adventure playgrounds in SEQ, all in the same area: The fantasy Spielart Funderwood Hollow with attached Nature Play park (one of the only nature play parks in Queensland) and Underwood Park itself. if you have time head to the Chung Tian Temple (also at Priestdale), which makes for a fascinating visit with its traditional towering pagoda and beautiful gardens to explore (entry is free).
There's plenty to fill a day at South Bank - take a dip at Streets Beach, paddle in the lagoons, have a play at Riverside Green adventure playground and cool at the nearby Aquativity park. Enjoy a picnic on the lawns, Riverside Quay green or in one of the many pavilions, before paying a visit to the Nepalese Peace Pagoda (a remnant from Expo '88) and stroll the boardwalk through the nearby rainforest. There's also an epicurious garden of vegetables and herbs to check out.
The historic city of Ipswich is just half an hour west of Brisbane and has a fantastic array of free adventures to be had. Start with beautiful Queens Park, one of the oldest in SEQ, with its awesome playground, Japanese garden and Ipswich Nature Centre. The latter is free to visit and here you can spot native animals up close, walk through a bird aviary and visit the baby animal farm. After that head to Denmark Hill Conservation Park, where you can climb the water reservoirs and enjoy stunning views of SEQ and take an easy bush walk which features a mini 'Jurassic Park' with dinosaur prints and relics of the old coal mining days.