For Story Bridge views up close: Captain Burke Park
This one is super easy to get to. Take the free ferry straight across the river to the Holman Street Ferry Terminal, then look to your left and there it is. The best part? The views. You’ll be chomping on your chips and chocolate right beside/underneath the Story Bridge. And once twilight sets in the bridge lights up in a rainbow of colours and so do the fairy lights in the trees below, for maximum magical wonderland feels.
Getting there: Walk 5 minutes to Eagle Street Pier Ferry Terminal and catch the free red CityHopper ferry to Holman Street Ferry Terminal, directly across the river.
For a beautiful secret escape: Orleigh Park
Nestled up the back of West End is gorgeous Orleigh Park. It’s quiet, peaceful and leafy, with plenty of beautiful large trees lining this grassy strip by the river. As a popular picnic spot with West End locals, it has a lovely local feel and is never over-crowded. It’s the kind of park where you’ll be happy to spend hours chatting and playing games or reading a book.
Getting there: Walk 5 minutes to Riverside Ferry Terminal and catch the CityCat to West End Ferry Terminal.
For a riverside spot you can walk to: Brisbane Botanic Gardens
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are much loved by students and city dwellers. It’s close, pretty and has lots of little spaces and hideaway sections where you can find your own private space to lay out a picnic blanket. Follow the winding paths, keep an eye out for the cool sculptures and find your perfect picnic spot – whether it’s by the river, by an ornamental pond or surrounded by trees.
Getting there: Walk. It’s just 20 minutes away, walking along the scenic river front. Or ride using one of Student One’s free bikes in 10 minutes.
For swimming: South Bank
Like the sound of a picnic that involves regular breaks to go swimming in Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach? Of course you do. South Bank is famous for its gorgeous lagoons, grassy space, street performers and shops and retailers nearby. The best part? It’s free to swim and there are lifeguards on duty year-round. Sometimes they put on free movies too.
Getting there: Walk in 25 minutes or ride in 15 minutes. Catch the CityCat or jump on the free (red) CityHopper ferry. You can also catch a bus to the Cultural Centre, or ride a train to South Bank Station or South Brisbane Station. So many options.
For gorgeous city views: Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park
There’s no denying how good the views are from Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park. It’s the best sunset vantage point in the whole city. Whether you’re at the top of the cliffs or down below, you won’t be able to resist whipping out your phone to snap a picture of Brisbane’s city skyline. There are plenty of barbecues and tables and chairs. And you’ll love watching the local rock climbers scaling the cliffs with impressive prowess.
Getting there: Walk in 25 minutes or ride Student One’s free bikes in 15 minutes – following the river’s edge, past QUT and over the Goodwill Bridge. Otherwise, catch the free (red) CityHopper ferry from Eagle Street Pier Ferry Terminal to Thornton Street Ferry Terminal.
For a quiet spot with free transport: Merthyr Park
For a lovely alternative to New Farm Park that’s just around the corner, but more peaceful, head to the riverside Merthyr Park. It’s a popular spot for locals doing exercise but offers plenty of grassy areas and large leafy trees so there’s lots of shade. You can easily walk here from New Farm Park or catch transport directly here.
Getting there: Walk in 30 minutes or ride in 10 minutes using Student One’s free bikes – the route follows the beautiful river boardwalk. Otherwise, walk 5 minutes to Eagle Street Ferry Terminal and catch the free (red) CityHopper ferry three stops to Sydney Street Ferry Terminal.
For space to play sports: New Farm Park
This is one of Brisbane’s most famous parks, always full of people, with a great atmosphere and tonnes of space to spread out. Want to play soccer? Have a go at cricket? Or just have heaps of friends? New Farm Park is perfect. There are also a few options for coffee and a fish and chips shop close by. And with The Powerhouse right there, you could easily duck over to one of its events.
Getting there: Walk 5 minutes to Riverside Ferry Terminal and catch the CityCat to New Farm Park Ferry Terminal. Alternatively, catch bus route 196.
For lots of pretty gardens: Roma Street Parklands
Get your flower fix at Roma Street Parklands. It’s massive with 16 hectares of lawns, designer gardens and colourful flower beds. It also flaunts gorgeous winding walkways, a huge lake and a stunning man-made waterfall. Throughout the year, Roma Street Parklands is also home to tonnes of events, from the Queensland Multicultural Festival to free Christmas movies, so there’s always something new to discover here.
Getting there: Walk in 20 minutes, ride in 10 minutes, or catch a bus or train to Roma Street Station.
For the curious: Hamilton Northshore
Really want to explore somewhere new? Venture down the river all the way to the last stop: Hamilton Northshore. Here, you’ll find a little parkland – it’s not massive, but it does have a small ‘beach’ by the river. There’s a cafe here too, perfect for a coffee. If you have time and you’re up for the adventure, the journey is just as fun and a great way to see Brisbane beyond the skyscrapers of the CBD.
Getting there: Walk 5 minutes to Riverside Ferry Terminal and catch the CityCat to Hamilton Northshore Ferry Terminal.