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Park Life: Brisbane

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published May 11th 2015
Get out and active in Brisbane parks
Park Life: Brisbane

With Brisbane's almost year round great weather, there is little wonder that parks are popular in Brisbane. There are some that are more than just patches of greenery, but provide a wide selection of activities that you and even your whole family can participate in.

Jogger in a park in Brisbane
Jogger in a park in Brisbane


Activities include things such as environmental education, guided walks, yoga, concerts and art works. Here is a selection of Brisbane's most active parks and gardens.

Jogger at Highgate Hill Park
Jogger at Highgate Hill Park


Brisbane Botanic Gardens: Mt Coot-tha

I have to start here by clearing up the most common confusion in Brisbane: the botanic gardens in the city is called the City Botanic Gardens, and the one up Mount Coot-tha is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. In fact if you do a search on Google for the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, you are likely to find the City Botanic Gardens instead.

Japanese Garden at Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Japanese Garden at Brisbane Botanic Gardens


With confusion cleared up, these are great gardens with a range of facilities include several ponds, a Japanese garden, a greenhouse and a large area dedicated to native plants. There are also great views of the city from the pavilion near the back end of the park.

View of Brisbane from the Botanic Gardens
View of Brisbane from the Botanic Gardens


The simplest of the activities include the self-guided walks. Download a brochure from the Botanic Gardens website or pickup a free brochure at the park.But it can be more fun to join one of the free guided walks that are on Monday to Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm. There is no need to book unless you have a large group.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Brisbane Botanic Gardens


The Brisbane Botanic Gardens has 3 venues for activities and events. The most famous is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. There is also the Richard Randall Art Studio which has regular exhibitions and the library which also often provides space for exhibitions.

Regular events include story time for kids in the gardens, free gardening education programs with an emphasis on environmentally friendly practices, photography and yoga. There are also sometimes musical events and performances.

In many ways, this is Brisbane's most active park. Check the Brisbane City Council's What's On guide to find out more.

City Botanic Gardens

I have always loved this little riverside botanic gardens. You can easily come here to find a place to relax or just pass through on a walk or bike ride by the city. I have been very disappointed that the mangrove walk and cafe have closed, but it is still a great place to go and relax when you are in the city.

City Botanic Gardens
City Botanic Gardens


Self-guided walks are available. Details are available on the Brisbane City Council Website, but I have never seen brochures anywhere in the park. Guided walks are also available Monday to Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm.

City Botanic Gardens
City Botanic Gardens


The City Botanic Gardens is a hive of activity. The council organises exercise programs that include Tai Chi, gentle exercises such as tone and stretch or more intensive boot camp style classes such as the 8 week weight loss challenge. Check out the City Botanic Gardens What's On Guide for more information.

But activities in the park are not limited to these. It is common to see tight rope walking classes and as well as numerous boot camp and yoga groups exercising in this wonderful surroundings.

Given the location to the city, this park is the place to go to on weekday mornings and at lunch time for activities. If you are coming just to check out the gardens, don't forget to check out the nearby Parliament House or the art galleries at the adjoining Queensland University of Technology.

Roma Street Parklands

Roma Street Parklands is my current favourite park in Brisbane for two main reasons. The first is the general aesthetic, where many of the treasures of the park are hidden and you can wander for hours and keep discovering unexpected delights, while also the idea of a borrowed view of the city adds to the pleasure of the location.

View of Brisbane from Roma Street Parklands
View of Brisbane from Roma Street Parklands


The other reason I like the Roma Street Parklands is that it is one of the few parks in Brisbane where you can legally drink. You have to drink from plastic cups or cans but you can bring alcohol in glass bottles but you have to pour it into plastic cups to drink.

Roma Street Parklands
Roma Street Parklands


Roma Street Parklands is not the most active of parks, though it often hosts events. Featuring a great outdoor theatre, it is the premium location for theatre in the park in Brisbane. The theatre is also used for a variety of concerts.

Roma Street Parklands
Roma Street Parklands


The main activity to join in at Roma Street is the free guided walks that are on every day at 11 am and 1 pm as well as irregular specialist walks that include art, heritage and a look at the design process behind the gardens. Don't forget there is also an Auslan interpreter walk and a sensory walk for the visually impaired.

Keep a watch on the What's On guide for the Roma Street Parklands as other events will occur regularly including zumba. Various groups also use the great sports fields for boot camps and social sporting competitions.

South Bank Parklands

I put South Bank last, because while it is a very active place it is more about events than other activities. So this is the place to see a concert, watch a movie under the stars, experience fire works, or participate in a fun run or charity walk. Keep an eye on the What's On guide for South Bank.

South Bank Parklands
South Bank Parklands


It is also the place where Brisbane goes to grab a drink or meal at a nearby bar or restaurant and so on. This is a great opportunity to combine this with a live performance, such as the Sunday Sessions on the Green which is usually on during the warmer months.

Performance at South Bank
Performance at South Bank


There are great running and cycling tracks along the river starting at South Bank. There is a regular 5 km park run early every Saturday morning as well as guided cycling tours that are aimed at over 50 year olds.

Most people go to be active at South Bank in a less organised manner. You can go for a swim at Streets Beach or run, ride or walk the river front. The new kids playground opening up in 2015 also makes it a great place for active kids.

Other parks

Brisbane's Active parks program is designed to get Brisbanites out and active. These free events occur in parks all around Brisbane so you are sure to find something near you. Activities are targeted at everyone from babies through to the elderly and everyone in between. So you are also sure to find something that suits you.

Exercise Equipment in a Brisbane Park
Exercise Equipment in a Brisbane Park


Here are some example free activities.

Park Gym Circuit
Boxercise
Pilates
Yoga for littlies
Fit 4 mums
Baby Bootcamp
Group Fitness Training
Zumba
Tai Chi
Low Impact Fitness
Sports For Little Kids
Yoga
Cross Training

There are some activities that have a small fee such as

Rock climbing at Kangaroo Point for $5
Pool based events require paying the pool entry fee

Rock Climbing at Kangaroo Point
Rock Climbing at Kangaroo Point


Brisbane parks and gardens are fantastic and varied and there is usually something going in a park somewhere in Brisbane. There is really no excuse not to get out and active in the park.
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Why? Get out and active in Brisbane parks
Where: Various venues around Brisbane
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