Visiting Brisbane with 6-year-old.
August 29, 2006 7:09 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I will be in Brisbane, Australia for 5 or 6 days in early October, with our 6-year-old daughter. Any recommendations for kid-friendly fun and/or sightseeing?
posted by flapjax at midnite to Travel & Transportation around Brisbane, Australia (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Queensland Museum has a fabulous Science Centre attached. Most of the exhibits are aimed at primary school age children, but they're a bucket of fun even if your daughter is on the younger side. The museum also has lots of dinosaurs and some animatronics, though not that many.

It's very conveniently located on the Southbank Cultural Precinct, which is not far from Southbank itself, which has some excellent parks, including a shallow-water sand beach. October is quite warm here, so bring a swim-suit and enjoy the water. And it's free!

If your little girl likes her animals, there's the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It's one of the oldest such sanctuaries in the country and is very kid friendly. Last time I went they had deer. Or you can cheat and just take a bag of apples into the botanical gardens, where they will be much appreciated by the possums. I'd comment on the ills to be had feeding native animals, but these guys are pretty much tame. It's not quite like feeding bears, and if you stick to fruit you aren't going to do them any harm. Just don't try and pick them up.

What part of Brisbane are you staying in? Are you going to have a car? There's heaps of kid friendly stuff outside the city proper, but it would help to know where you are going to be.
posted by Jilder at 7:40 AM on August 29, 2006

Lone Pine is great -- I took a Canadian friend there recently. I don't think they've got deer anymore, but they've got a huge field filled with kangaroos that you can pet, feed and take as many pictures of/with as you want. They used to have roaming emu's but I guess my dad wasn't the only one that an emu attempted to have sex with (very weird/hilarious experience) and they're locked up now. Anyway, it's a much better experience that Steve Irwin's massively overhyped dud "Australia Zoo" and much cheaper admission, too. I'm not paid to advertise them, btw, I just think it's a class outfit :)

Something we generally do with tourist friends is take them on the local ferry -- it's a pretty cool form of public transport in itself and it's pretty cheap to get a ticket that goes all the way up and down the river for some neat siteseeing.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:31 AM on August 29, 2006

I'll second Jilder's answer.

Ourbrisbane is a good starting point.

If you desire to see some more native animals, Australia Zoo, home of Steve 'Crickey' Irwin is a good spot.

South East Queensland has some amazing beaches. If you have time, you might like a visit to Mooloolaba (1.5 hr north) or Noosa (2.5 hours north). If you have heaps of time, head up to Rainbow beach. Fraser and Moreton Islands are also very nice. Tangalooma Resort is on Moreton island and has wild dolphin feeding. The resort is currently being refurbished, so try and get one of the newer rooms, they are much nicer.

If you head in the other direction, the Gold Coast, while kind of tacky is a bit of fun. Keep heading south to Fingal Heads (2 hours south) and Kingscliff in Northern New South Wales for more amazing.

Byron Bay is also a frequently visited spot in the area. It is 200 km south of Brisbane. Excellent diving and a definite alternate air makes this a cool place.

Brisbane has a very strong music scene and has produced a number of very strong performers. There are heaps of good venues, but The Zoo and Rick's both seem to have, imho, amongst the strongest line-ups.

I'd also suggest seeing a game of AFL, Rugby Union or Rugby League if you are in town when a game is on. Brisbane traditional fields the top team in each of these codes, but we've had a fairly average year.

On the Brisbane River, there is an activity centre which hires out kayaks, canoes and the like. To get their, park at the park at the end of Lower River Terrace and walk east past the rock climbing cliffs. This is a pretty good way to see the city while being active.

The CityCat ferry service is a superb way of seeing the river. All day tickets are relatively inexpensive and you can hope on and off as you like. The off peak tickets are the best value, but you can't use them during rush hour. The tickets used to be recognised by the buses as well.

Enjoy your visit! Just ask if you want any more info.
posted by dantodd at 8:38 AM on August 29, 2006

Brisbane traditional fields the top team in each of these codes *ahem* - tell that to the Sydney Swans, Wests Tigers & Waratahs. /derail
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:22 PM on August 29, 2006

Keep in mind that Queensland school children are on holidays until 8 October, and New South Wales schools are on holidays until 13 October, so many of the child-friendly attractions in Brisbane and south-east Queensland will be packed (especially the theme parks). Having said that, I second the Museum at Southbank. Most of their attractions (dinosaurs, animal and fish specimens, depictions of Queensland life in days-gone-by) are free, while you pay for the Sciencentre (A$9.50 for adults and A$7.50 for children 5-16 years). My kids (aged 5, 6 and 9 at the time) had a ball without needing to go to the Sciencentre. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibits on the top floor of the Museum are fascinating. I note that the Museum is having a special exhibition for children until 8 October called Kids Time (described as "a fun and interactive exhibition for children aged 3 - 8 years to learn about times gone by through the toys beloved by past generations"). Hope this helps.
posted by Tawita at 4:25 PM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: Looks like some great suggestions here. Thanks to all of you for answering!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:34 PM on August 29, 2006

You're an easy drive / tour bus ride from Dreamworld, Movie World, Wet'n'Wild and Sea World. I was really impressed by Australia Zoo, and highly recommend it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:59 PM on August 29, 2006

If the usual tourist spots (Southbank etc) are packed out with school holiday crowds, consider New Farm Park. You can get there by ferry and has (or at least had when I was last there a few years back) an adventure playground built into the big Moreton Bay Figs that'd be perfect for a 6yo. You might be interested in whoever's playing at the Powerhouse next door.
posted by d-no at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2006

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