With the summer holidays upon us, many families are making the trek down the Pacific Motorway to the Gold Coast water parks.
But, if you don't want to drive that far or pay that much, or if your kids are still a bit young for Wet'n'Wild and the like, you can always skip the coast and visit Brisbane City Council's swimming pool and water park at Chermside.
The Chermside complex is managed on behalf of Council by Bluefit Brisbane. During the cooler months, it's pretty much your standard council swimming centre, with a large outdoor lap pool and heated indoor teaching pools.
Come summer, though, and the water-park facilities swing into action. There are two slides for individuals (one a bit bigger and scarier, the other a bit smaller and better for younger kids), plus the 'Flume of Doom', a slide designed for inner tubes that can take up to two people at a time.
There's also a large swimming lagoon with a jumping platform (where you can legally do bomb dives into deep water), two shotgun slides (steep, short, open slides that drop you very quickly into deep water), a smaller area for toddlers with baby slides etc, and a balancing lily-pad game.
I've never been to the Gold Coast water parks, so I can't really compare Chermside with them, but I imagine Chermside offers fewer slides and they are probably tamer than what you find on the coast.
Despite this, our two boys (who like full-on activities) have always really enjoyed what's on offer at Chermside. We started taking them there when they were 6 and 8 and, at 9 and 11, they are still keen to go.
From our point of view, it's a lot closer and a lot cheaper than the Gold Coast parks ($35 for a day pass for a family of four). I'm also very bad at any form of extreme sport, so tamer is better as far as I'm concerned. I can barely manage the small water slide at Chermside, but I do enjoy the shotgun slides and the bomb-diving platform is fun.
Chermside is also good for younger kids as it's not hard to keep an eye on them and most rides can be done with littlies on your lap.
Things to watch out for? Well, the queues can be long to get a ride on one of the slides, so it's good to get there early if you can. Some equipment may be closed on certain days (e.g. the lily pads were closed for repair last time we visited), but generally most things have been open when we've gone.
Also, this is a council pool, so some things look a little worn, but I've felt satisfied that everything is safe when I've been there. There's also strong supervision by pool staff on all the equipment, which I appreciated.
Other good council pools for waterslides are
Albany Creek Leisure Centre - Old Northern Rd Albany
Sleemans Centre - Old Cleveland Rd, Chandler
Both have a big slide each and lots of little and big kid friendly activities.
Visit this local pool yesterday.
Very impressive. Although on of the slides wasn't working and the flying fox also didn't work, my 12yo and 11yo as well as my almost 2 yo all had a ball. Total cost of entry was $32 (Adults - $12, kids $10). Food was a bit disappointing (no sausage rolls or meat pies, not sour cream on wedges and 30c for a tiny pack of sauce). but kids enjoyed themselves as we were there for more than 3 hours.
Lots of shade and lots of places to leave you bags, towels, etc.
Very happy with this place and definitely on the return visitlist...