Where to cool off in Brisbane this summer

Summer in Australia is about as hot as it gets. Some days, it’s a real scorcher. With temperatures sitting around 30 degrees celsius over the summer months in Brisbane, we know you’ll be searching for a way to escape the heat and enjoy some sweet, frosty respite.

Whether you’re looking to beat the heat, avoid a sunburn or spend some time inside, don’t let the sun stop you from enjoying your time in Brissy. Here’s a list of the best places to cool down, while still enjoying the city’s finest attractions. Just don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat.

For beach-vibes: Streets Beach, South Bank

Two lifeguards dressed in red standing at the edge of the pool
Brisbane’s own little oasis, across the Victoria Bridge in South Bank, is always a hit in summer. Situated right on the Brisbane River, Streets Beach has real sand, cool water and plenty of lifeguards.

When you’re not in the water grab a spot under the umbrellas or the palm trees surrounding the pools. And you can always grab a bite to eat or a drink at one of the many restaurants, cafes and bars in the area.

The best part? It’s totally free.

For a picnic: City Botanic Gardens

A couple sitting on the grass in the gardens
Pack your picnic blanket, snacks and a portable speaker for a cool afternoon lounging under the trees, you might even catch a nice breeze.

You’ll often see locals playing soccer, frisbee or jogging along the paths winding around the gardens, so it’s a hive of activity. And it’s just a 20-minute walk from Student One Wharf Street and Adelaide Street, and 10 minutes from Student One Elizabeth Street. You’ll find it right next to QUT Gardens Point.

For a frosty treat: Gelatissimo

Yellow coloured ice cream in a cone in front of green plants
There’s nothing quite like an ice cream to cool you down. Gelatissimo has one of the tastiest selections of house-made gelato and, if you’re dairy free, you can still enjoy its dairy-free sorbets too.

Our pick? Mango gelato in a crispy waffle cone.

Where’s it at? Find it on the corner of Albert and Queen streets.

To read a book under a tree: Roma Street Gardens

Green trees, red flowers and walking paths in the parklands
Right near King George Square you’ll find Roma Street Gardens, a beautiful leafy spot to soak up the beauty of the gardens, plus some gorgeous water features, a lake and an artificial waterfall too.

Grab your favourite book and pick a spot under a tree for a relaxing time surrounded by the scent of exotic flowers and, if you position yourself just right, you might just feel the mist spraying off the water features.

Curious? Join one of the guided walking tours to discover the best garden beds and hidden secrets for next time.

For some indoor entertainment: Watch a movie

Elizabeth street building with white windows and flags.
Catch the latest blockbusters at one of the centrally located cinemas such as the Myer Centre, Elizabeth Street Picture Theatre or the Student One cinema room, all within 15 minutes walking distance from Student One.

With comfy seats, ice-cold drinks and super cold air conditioning, you’ll be able to relax in the dark and enjoy a film in absolute comfort. You might even need a jumper.

For a workout: QUT Gardens Point pool

Large pool with lanes marked by red floating bouys
Want a workout but can’t stand the thought of exercising in the heat? Check out the awesome YMCA facilities at QUT Gardens Point in P Block.

The Olympic-size pool is perfect for some stress-relieving laps or a more intense workout, and it even offers swimming classes for those who are either new to swimming or need to refresh their skills.

QUT students receive discounted entry, but this pool is open to the public.

Student One’s own pool and air conditioned gyms are a great option a little closer to home. Residents can enjoy weekly exercise classes like boxing and sweat sessions.

For art and air con: GOMA

Three girls walking along the museum exhibition
Cross the Victoria Bridge and escape the humidity by stepping through the sliding doors of the Gallery of Modern Art, which has a 17,000-strong collection of historical, modern and contemporary art.

Wander around the incredible Australian and international exhibitions in the cool air conditioning.

Hungry? Grab a bite to eat at the Cafe Bistro, just downstairs from GOMA, which is right beside the Brisbane River and flaunts views of the city and the distinctive Kurilpa Bridge (the one that looks like a ship).

To escape the city, Spring Hill Baths

Blue pool water with step ladder on the side
Just a short walk from the CBD, the Spring Hill Baths offer a sample of Brisbane’s history and is the perfect spot for an indoor swim. Built in 1886, this heritage-listed site was Brisbane’s first in-ground pool and showcases classic changing rooms with old-world charm.

Bonus: the pool is heated so you can swim here all year long.

Entry fee is less than $5 for concessions (read: students with ID).

For a bit of fun: Games = Arcades

Dark room with neon lights and bowling lanes
If you’re looking for a highly entertaining group-friendly space, Brisbane has a maze of arcades, game spots and escape rooms dotted around the city.

Try Strike Wintergarden for bowling, escape rooms, laser tag, karaoke and food nestled inside the cool Wintergarden complex. Or check out Escape Manor Brisbane on Edward Street for the ultimate challenge. Escape the room in 45 minutes or else…

Want more options? Check out these 8 fun games, arcades and escape rooms in Brisbane.

For a relaxing swim: Student One Wharf Street Pool

Small pool with lounge chairs and bean bags on the side
If you find yourself wanting to cool off a little closer to home, jump straight in to the Student One Wharf Street Pool on Level 4. There are heaps of shaded lounge chairs so you don’t have to worry about sunburn, plus there’s the barbecue area and ping pong tables.

It’s all free for residents from any Student One facility – the perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful Queensland weather. And it’s just a quick elevator ride or short walk from your room.

For a cool, classy outing: Catch a show at QPAC

People sitting on the grass eating food and watching live music
When the temperature drops (slightly) in the evening, head across the river to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre to catch a live performance of ballet, see a musical or be wowed by a piece of dramatic theatre.

This is a great way to experience Australian shows and actors on the big stage. QPAC and the surrounding area has many restaurants and bars to enjoy some food before or after your show.

You can also catch some free live music outside during summer as part of the Green Jam Sessions program, just BYO picnic rug.

Subscribe to our newsletter