Located on the northern side of the Gold Coast, Jabiru Island is less than a 50-minute drive from Brisbane and can be accessed by taking the Hope Island exit just past Dreamworld. While the Gold Coast is renowned for its beautiful beaches, anyone who has young children would know they can be a difficult prospect. That's why Jabiru Island is a great alternative.
The little island is accessible by car (contrary to what our GPS tried to tell us) and features a large, sealed car park, suitable for wheelchair and pram users. The park itself is made up of a vast, slightly hilly grassed area, dotted with plentiful shade trees, and boasting panoramic water views. A wide footpath weaves its way around the park, which also features a modern amenities block, gas barbecues, and large, sheltered picnic tables. A water-side children's playground is another draw card, but the real highlight of Jabiru Island Park is the sectioned-off swimming area.
A nice sandy entrance soon gives way to the cool, calm water of the canal. And the best part is that a generous area has been fenced off, meaning wayward children are unlikely to swim off out of sight.
There's plenty of room in the sectioned-off swimming area.
On the day we visited Jabiru Island it happened to be Australia Day. The locals clearly appreciate this spot, as, at just 9.30 in the morning, it was absolutely packed with shade tents and families settled in for the long haul. The enclosed swimming area was quite busy too, but there still seemed to be ample room for everyone, including kayakers, swimmers, and water-shy toddlers set on digging around in the wet sand.
Our toddler enjoyed splashing around in the shallows.
When we were finally able to tear our toddler away from the shallows, we took a brief stroll along one of the park's footpaths, taking in more of the island's beauty and coming across several rather secluded spots, perfect for a quiet swim or a fish.
If, like us, you can't quite muster up the energy to pack a picnic, there are several eateries just a short drive away. We opted to travel the roughly seven kilometres to Sanctuary Cove, where we refuelled with coffees and a banana smoothie (the toddler). It ended up being a very sticky end to a very enjoyable morning out - one that we'll be replicating very soon.