Where to start with this little gem? Is it a swimming pool? Is it a park? Is it a party venue? Yes, yes and yes. The Plantation in Gumdale is a delightfully rustic aquatic park, for want of a better description. As I walked through the entry kiosk area, I felt I was walking back to the public pools of my childhood. In relaxed, leafy grounds you will find a toddlers wading pool, another shallow pool with slides that will thrill any child still in primary school, plus a 25 metre pool for more serious swimmers.
There are also six beach volleyball courts that my tribe are still a bit too young for, although we've earmarked it for a later date; three tennis courts and large expanses of grass which are crying out for a game of footy or cricket.
Around the periphery of the grounds are perfect picnic pergolas, which you can hire for $20, and barbecues. We went with our rugby club and there was ample room for the many families that gathered for our trophy day. The barbies are wood fired, so do remember to bring matches and newspaper for lighting them, but you can purchase the wood there.
The Plantation is the home of The Royal Life Saving Society Queensland, so the site also houses a swim school, function rooms and training facilities which are also available for hire. The buildings are getting on a bit but this only adds to its charm for me. The toilets are clean, there are large changing rooms and showers.
There is a kiosk selling the usual chips, lollies and cold drinks but you are actively encouraged to BYO picnics and drinks. Alcohol is only allowed on weekends and not near the pools, which seems sensible and glass is not allowed on site for obvious reasons.
On the day we went, it had stormed all morning, so the pool was freezing. My children still managed to have a great time despite turning blue. Next time we go, we'll be prepared and plan to go for the day – it's our new favourite destination!