Blue skies and sunshine most of the year round make Brisbane’s range of family attractions a joy to visit. Choose from zoos, theme parks, art galleries and museums, or take advantage of the weather with the plethora of green spaces, playgrounds and beaches dotted around the city centre.
1. Cultural Precinct, South Bank
Those interested in art, history, science and culture are spoilt for choice in Brisbane’s cultural precinct at South Bank. QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) features thousands of pieces of international and national art, as well as interactive childrens’ exhibitions, shops and cafes, while the Queensland Museum boasts dinosaurs and a vast collection of animals and historical artefacts. The Sciencentre will engage younger (and older) minds with hands-on and experimental exhibitions, visual displays and seasonal shows.
2. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
This 18ha koala sanctuary is the first and largest of its kind in the world. Only 12km from Brisbane city, Lone Pine is the place to go to hold a koala, handfeed kangaroos, and interact with more than 100 Australian animals in their natural setting. There’s free wifi throughout the stunning park, organic coffee and daily demonstrations, including the spectacular Birds of Prey Flight show.
3. Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich
Head to Ipswich for the award-winning Rail Museum, ideal for history and train lovers of all ages. Once the workplace of more than 3000 railway workers, there is plenty to see and experience with the old boiler shop, historic Timekeepers’ Building, Interactive Nippers’ Railway and Queensland’s largest model railway. Wander through the refreshment carriage, or take a steam shop tour or Day out with Thomas program during Christmas school holiday periods.
4. Streets Beach, South Bank
In the heart of South Bank, across the river from Brisbane’s CBD sits this man-made city beach offering respite from shopping and sight-seeing. Streets Beach encompasses stretches of sand for relaxing and clear waters for swimming, while Aquativity is a fun, interactive water park featuring educational elements to enjoy under the city’s blue skies. After a swim, be sure to sit at one of Southbank’s many central cafes, or stop for an ice-cream or smoothie.
5. Putt-putt at Victoria Golf Park
This state-of-the-art golf facility just 2km from Brisbane city includes an 18-hole golf course, driving range and licensed putt-putt course. The whole family will enjoy a morning, afternoon or night of weaving around water and sand traps, crazy bridges and swinging poles against a backdrop of the city skyline, while the bar and bistro has an array of food options to suit all tastes and budgets.
6. Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Sir Thomas Planetarium
Discover lush sub-tropical gardens at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. Spanning 52ha, the gardens are about 7km from the CBD and feature a dazzling array of thematic and geographical displays offering a serene place for a walk or picnic, while the onsite cafe provides gourmet fare, tea and coffee. Also onsite is the Sir Thomas Planetarium offering shows in the Cosmic Skydome, or visit the display zone for an astronomical journey through time.
7. Australia Zoo
This famous zoo attracts tourists from the world over. Owned by the Irwin family, Australia Zoo is a vast wildlife retreat featuring a great range of animals in their natural habitats. See tigers, camels, wombats, otters, rhinoceros, snakes and crocodiles, take in a wildlife show, or book an animal encounter to meet your favourite mammal up close.
8. Strawberry Fields
Head about 1.5 hours north of Brisbane city for a wholesome day of strawberry picking under the sun. Strawberry Fields is a large commercial farm offering visitors the opportunity to find and pick their own strawberries during the season, which runs from June to November each year. Fully equipped for children with a tractor playground and cafe, the farm also offer tours with a choice of a barbecue lunch or Devonshire tea (bookings essential).
9. Tangalooma, Moreton Island
One of the highlights of this spot is the chance to handfeed one of the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the shores each evening at sunset. The Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre is surrounded by 98 per cent national park and also features kookaburra, fish and pelican feeding, and seasonal whale watching cruises, while the landscape of Moreton Island encompasses picturesque beaches and golden sand dunes.
10. Dreamworld, Gold Coast
This popular theme park offers something for every age. Young children will delight in the ABC Kids World attraction, which features an exciting assortment of rides including The Wiggles’ Big Red Car, Dorothy’s Tea Cups, Giggle and Hoot ride, and Bananas in Pyjamas maze, while older thrill-seekers will love the rollercoasters and Giant Drop, bumper cars, Tower of Terror and the Wipeout.