Looking for a family-friendly walking spot but don't want to undertake anything too strenuous or stressful? Then it's well worth your while heading to the suburb of Dutton Park, just four kilometres south of the Brisbane CBD.
The Brisbane River is just a short stroll from the Harmony Gardens.
With a playground-obsessed toddler in tow, we had virtually no choice but to start our adventure at the suburb's title park - Dutton Park. Also commonly known as Harmony Gardens, the park is perched high above the river. There's plenty of grass for the kids to run around on, plus gas BBQs, covered picnic tables and public toilet facilities. Wide, concrete paths are great for older kids to ride their bikes on, and the large shaded playground should keep children of all ages busy. Our two-year-old loved the high-back swing, and was also rather taken by the climbable nature-themed sculptures. Of course, the playground also boasts all your standard fare of climbing forts and slippery slides.
The sound sculpture makes a peaceful addition to the park.
Another nice feature of the park is the sound sculpture, specially designed for and by visually impaired people. Akin to a giant wind chime, the sound sculpture adds an element of tranquility to the already-peaceful park.
Upon finally dragging our daughter off a giant plastic caterpillar, we followed the wide concrete path down the hill in search of the river. It is quite steep for the initial few metres, but the path is stroller friendly, meaning the toddler could easily hitch a ride when her little legs tired. After the initial descent (about 100 metres or so), the path flattened out and we were greeted by some quite lovely views of the river and the Eleanor Schonell Bridge.
Following a brief stop to unleash the toddler from her stroller, we slowly made our way along the river in the direction of the South Brisbane Cemetery. A handful of metres afterwards we came to another playground, featuring lovely shaded trees, park benches and spectacular river views. Considering Miss Two's insistence on walking like a "big girl", we chose this point to turn around and head home. Funnily enough, when we reached the steep hill at the very end, she was happy to be strapped in once more. If the relatively short but steep hill does seem a bit much, there is a car park conveniently located at the bottom.
Once we'd conquered the hill, we all took turns at the drinking fountain before jumping back in the car and heading home.
If you are looking for a slightly longer walk, the Eleanor Schonell pedestrian bridge is easily accessible from the Harmony Gardens, taking you straight across the river into the grounds of The University of Queensland's St Lucia campus (map here).