There’s no doubt about it – Brisbane is a great place for families. From the exciting outdoors to the wide range of adventure activities, there is always something new to keep families entertained. A great outing doesn’t have to cost the earth – so many activities around Brisbane are low- or no cost, making them a fantastic option for families. Here are some of the best budget outings for families in Brisbane, and some ideas on how you can make the most of a family trip in the Sunshine State.
Located in the heart of Brisbane city, Southbank is the perfect place for a family day out. Located just a short walk from plenty of different public transport options, there are enough activities to keep the family entertained for the entire day. Walk or cycle along the river, stop at one of the many fantastic dining destinations, go for a swim at Streets Beach, play on the massive playground, picnic on the green spaces – the options are endless. Don’t forget to check out the excellent Epicurious gardens, where edible plants are showcased in a community garden setting that’s ideal for a roam and a rest.
A short walk from the Southbank Parklands is the home of education and excitement at the Cultural Centre. Stop in at the Queensland Museum, which has free entry and plenty of interesting exhibits to wow the whole family. On the lower levels, the Sciencentre offers hands-on learning experience for a small entrance fee. Then, cross to the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art for the latest exhibits. Located in two different buildings, both have incredible works of art from around the Asia-Pacific region, and spaces dedicated to children that allow them to create art works of their own. Also located within the space is the State Library Of Queensland – in addition to the beautiful space and impressive book collection, the State Library often holds events and workshops that are perfect for young visitors. You can find out what’s on here.
Queenslanders love making the most of the beautiful weather, and each suburb is dotted with playgrounds and spaces designed to keep kids active and interested. Not all playgrounds are equal, though – there are some standout spaces that are definitely worth the trip. The playground at New Farm Park offers a lovely botanical setting for its big wooden park, and the riverside location is great for a picnic and a walk afterwards. The Karawatha Discovery Centre is all about nature-based play, with plenty of rocks, streams, and trees for kids to make their own fun. The Calamvale District Park is a sprawling playground with more activities than you can shake a stick at – and don’t forget to bring the bikes! There are countless options to get your kids active, and the Brisbane Kids website is a great place to find reviews and suggestions to locate the best playground for your family.
Go for a walk
There are so many options for getting out in the sunshine in Brisbane. For a walk along the water, check out the Sandgate- Brighton Foreshore. The long path beside the water is perfect for bikes or just a family stroll, or at low tide you can walk right out on the sand – keep your eyes out for ocean critters like soldier crabs! Don’t forget to stop at the adventure playground at Shorncliffe, take a stroll down the pier, and maybe a quick dip in the gentle waves. There are plenty of bushwalk options throughout Brisbane as well – the Boondall Wetlands in Brisbane’s north, or Berrinba Wetlands in Logan have easy walking paths through Australian bushland, with parks for the kids to stop and have a play.
Brisbane has plenty of public pools, but the real treasures are the open-air lagoons that offer your family the chance to swim all day for free. The most venerable swimming option is the Wynnum Wading Pool – a much-loved institution for generations, the pool fills with seawater from the waves right next to it and offers a safe, fun place for young children to have a splash. Streets Beach at Southbank offers a swim with city views – located by the Brisbane River, families can stop on the sandy beach or choose the concreted pool for a dip. The Redcliffe Lagoon is another seaside swimming pool, with a small water park for younger swimmers. And located in Brisbane’s western suburbs, the Orion Lagoon has a whole complex to explore, including a water park, plenty of walkways, and pools catering to different swimming abilities.
See some animals
Rich in wildlife, there are so many places in Brisbane where families can spot animals in their natural surrounds. But for a wildlife experience that’s easy on the pocket, there are a few free animal centres that are worth checking out. The Ipswich Nature Centre is located within the Queens Park gardens and operates 6 days a week, and showcases animals native to the region such as quolls, bilbies, emus and more. Entry is free, although donations are encouraged and go towards running the centre. To spot some koalas head to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre – head inside to see koalas that are being rehabilitated, or take a walk through the bushland surrounds to see if you can spot some wild koalas on your own. For a paid wildlife experience that’s worth the investment, head to the Sunshine Coast to Australia Zoo, or check out Wildlife HQ located at the Big Pineapple.
Brisbane has two main botanic gardens, each well worth the day trip. The Roma Street Parklands is located near the city centre, and is dotted with playgrounds, picnic spots, and plenty of other delights. The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens are located further away, with the advantage of breath-taking city views between the impressive collection of national and international flora. After strolling through the greenery, check out the Planetarium located on the same grounds, or head up the road to the Mt Coot-tha Lookout for even more impressive views of the city (and maybe an ice-cream while you’re there).
Getting Around Your Brisbane Outings
With Airtrain, you will arrive quickly and comfortably from the airport to Brisbane City in 20 minutes. You can disembark at your chosen city station – Airtrain runs express from the airport, but stops at Fortitude Valley, Central, Roma Street, and South Brisbane stations.
Brisbane city public transport can be part of the family fun – it’s clean and safe, and provides a great way to get to your destination. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to travel, perfect to start exploring the best budget outings for families in Brisbane! Choose a combination of train or bus, or jump on the City Cat Ferry to make the journey part of the adventure! You can check out translink’s Journey Planner to find the best way to travel to your chosen outing.
While you’re in Brisbane, short term visitors should check out the go seeQ card, which allows you unlimited travel for three or five consecutive days on buses, trains, ferries, and trams. It also includes two Airtrain journeys to/from the Brisbane Airport.
For longer stays, travel like the locals with a go card – just touch on at your station of departure and touch off when you arrive at your destination.
Best Budget Outings for Families in Brisbane
There is so much to see and do in Brisbane, the hardest part is choosing where to go! Wildlife, energetic activities, and educational experiences – your family will be delighted with their days in the River City. No matter where you wind up, start your journey on time and in comfort with Airtrain.