Most tourism photos of the South Bank Parklands on the Brisbane River – smack in the center of the city – imply it looks like a private tropical resort. But for free. Don’t dismay. It's that good.
This is truly one of Brisbane’s man-made gems. The 17-acre city park with various depths of free, sandy pools and splash fountains, rivals premiere resort pools. Plus, you have the bonus of chip shops and pubs and the ferry and train terminals adjacent.
With Streets Beach pools and Aquactivity splash garden, there is a place for everyone aged one to one hundred. The park and pools are open 7 days a week, until 10 p.m. (which is a big deal, here. Very little is open until 10 p.m. in Brisbane). Lifeguards are even on duty until early evening most of the year.
The cityscape backdrop is urban, tropical, bustling yet relaxed and ever-so-global. With a choice of two typically perfect playgrounds that are always hopping at either end of the swimming pools, this is a haven for local families and visitors, alike.
If you go: Actual car parking costs a whopping $15+ for just 2 hours, but public transport is easy. Plus, some free street parking is nearby for those willing to nose around. Adjacent to Southbank are the free museums: Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art). For those visiting in summer months, having a back-up plan of these free museums can be incredibly handy on monsoon rainy days that really throw visitors off their game in Brisbane.