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Cool off in Brisbane for the Whole Family

Home > Brisbane > Family | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Kids | Lists
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 17th 2015
Keeping it cool
Summer heat

Brisbane in summer can be both hot and humid and some weeks the weather can be relentless. At times like this most people, especially those with families, will want to find some way to beat the heat.

Summer heat
Summer heat

Here are a selection of great ideas from cooling off during summer.

Galleries and museums

Brisbane has a great collection of museums and art galleries that provide exhibitions for all of the family. The arts & culture district in South Brisbane has 2 art galleries, a museum, science center and a library all located next to each other.

Cultural Precinct, South Brisbane
Cultural Precinct, South Brisbane

GoMA is Australia's most visited art gallery for the simple reason that it provides both children orientated exhibitions as well have information suitable for younger views on other exhibitions. Don't be fooled into thinking everything is kiddie safe. Some of the art can be quite explicit, but generally it GoMA will feature less challenging and more pop orientated art.

GoMA: Australia's most popular art Gallery
GoMA: Australia's most popular art Gallery

The Queensland Art Gallery is also worth visiting, even if you simply wander in through one entrance, walk past the water mall and out the other entrance. The permanent collections are fairly dull but the Art Gallery often features some very interesting exhibitions.

Queensland Gallery's Water Mall
Queensland Gallery's Water Mall

For something that merges learning with play, go to the Queensland Museum. The permanent collection tends to be fairly static, but often during school holidays they have amazing interactive exhibitions.

Don't forget to check out the galleries at the State Library of Queensland. The exhibitions here are usually smaller but with a strong emphasis on local art, culture and history, they are always worth checking out.

Aquatic fun

Brisbane's lack of quality beaches is problem, though there are great beaches to the north at the Sunshine Coast and south on the Gold Coast, if you don't have the time or energy to travel so far there are a number of options.

Streets Beach at South Bank
Streets Beach at South Bank

The three best free options are Streets Beach at South Bank, Settlement Cove Lagoon at Redcliffe and the Wynnum Wading Pool and Waterpark. All 3 use salt water with Wynnum's naturally filling up with sea water at high tide.

Wynnum Wading Pool Park (Courtesy Brisbane City Council)
Wynnum Wading Pool Park (Courtesy Brisbane City Council)

There are quite a few pools in Brisbane and many have inflatable slides and other aquatic activity based fun for kids, but for the best family fun you will looking for a full aquatic center.

Newmarket's new waterpark is arguably the best water park in Brisbane while Chermside Aquatic Centre is still popular during summer.

Acacia Ridge Leisure Centre features a children's lagoon with a beach. This is probably the best pool in Brisbane for families with younger kids.

Manly's Municipal Pool is not the biggest aquatic centre around but includes a 25 m pool, toddler pool and a decent water slide.

The mountains

Heading off to the mountains can both knock a few degrees off the temperature but also kill most of the humidity. While Lamington National park is a great for this, you don't have to go that far. Instead why not head up Mt Nebo Road to Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious for an escape that is close to the city.

Hiking in Mt Glorious
Hiking in Mt Glorious

Mt Glorious has a number of great picnic areas, short walking paths and cafes. There are also a number of swimming holes. Where you see cars parked beside a random part of the road, you know there is a path down to the creek and a swimming hole.

There are also a number of great swimming holes in the areas around Brisbane, such as the Lower Portals at Mt Barney, Kondalilla Falls and Cedar Creek Falls in Mt Tamborine.


The hottest days of the year are always associated with huge crowds at the cinemas. With adult ticket prices pushing $17 in some cinemas, people with families are going to look for the best deals in town. For Brisbane, the 2 Cineplex Threatres in South Bank and Balmoral have a standard ticket price of $8.50 for adults and cheaper during specials.

Otherwise you will have to head to the cinema during discount times. For the Palace cinemas, $7 Mondays is the best priced option, while cheap Tuesday's operate at most other theatres, including Cineplex.

Active Indoors

While summer is supposed to be the time to go out and be active, the heat makes most people stay indoors. But that doesn't mean you can't still be active, as long as you can find something you can door indoors where it is air conditioned.

Ice skating is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of summer, but there is no better way to cool off. If you can't skate or don't want to learn, Broomball is played on ice with ice shoes and, you guessed it, brooms. Iceworld has two locations, Acacia Ridge and Boondall.

Bowling is a great indoor activity for the whole family
Bowling is a great indoor activity for the whole family

One of the best family activities is bowling. Every bowling alley I have visited in Brisbane is air conditioned and a great way to escape the heat, with food, drinks and an activity that can be enjoyed by young and old.
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