If you’ve seen the rest of my site, I’m sure you’ve gathered that myself and my family just LOVE Queensland. I want you to love Queensland just as much as I do, so I’ve been scouring the internet asking other people for their favourite place to visit throughout my beautiful home state.
Looking for free things to do in Brisbane? Or Free things to do in Queensland with kids? Or even if you feel like treating the family and spending a bit of money on a paid activity! You’ve come to the right place!
I intend for this article to be an organic post that grows over time with more contributions until it hopefully becomes the most comprehensive list out there! So please drop me a message with your best Queensland Activity and I would LOVE to include it and give you some credit…..
BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN BRISBANE
River light show at Wilsons Outlook, Brisbane
A completely free activity to do while visiting Brisbane is the, little known, lookout for the Story Bridge light show. Just outside the city’s nightlife district is a small viewpoint tucked away in a quiet street named Wilson’s Outlook. From here you’ll have an excellent view of the story bridge which lights up in different colours come night time.
It’s a great spot for pretty scenery and taking photos, and there often is hardly anyone there, especially if you visit on a weekday. There are some seats here but you’ll get the best view by standing closer to the fence. You’ll have a fantastic view of the light show, river and cityline in the background.
It’s in a great location as being so close to the nightlife district, your able to grab some dinner or go out for drinks afterwards. To get there from the city it’s a 5 to 10 minute bus ride and a two block walk to the outlook. It’s best to bring the location up on Google maps as there aren’t any signs pointing you in the right direction.
Lexi – Australia Soon
Hop on Hop off Ferry, Brisbane
One must do free activity in Queensland is the hop on hop off ferry ride in Brisbane. When I was in town last month, I used it myself and got off at Kangaroo Point to watch sunsets too! Talk about convenience and glad to share the ferry was surprisingly empty! There was maybe 5 people including me on board!
Hop on and hop off is a free ferry service that runs 6am-midnight daily between Sydney Street and North Quay ferry terminals. You can easily cruise the river to take in the sights on the banks of Brisbane’s inner-city or use it as a free transport service between the city and inner suburbs. It runs every 30 minutes between 6 am and midnight, 7 days a week. It is a great and cheap way to start exploring Brisbane solo or in a group.
South Bank, Brisbane
South Bank covers 17 hectares of stunning parklands and is the jewel in Brisbane’s crown. With swimming pools, playgrounds, cafes, restaurants as well as picnic spaces and great views of the Brisbane river and city, South Bank is a must do activity for locals and tourists alike!
If you are visiting South Bank with children, then the place to be is Riverside Green. There you will find a huge playground suitable for all ages and abilities. Opened in 2015, it is a climbing, sliding, swinging delight for kids. Parents can sit in the shade nearby to watch their kids and afterwards you can use the parkland area for a BBQ, picnic on the grass or eat in one of the many cafes, restaurants or family friendly pubs.
After lunch head over to the swimming pools for a dip to cool off. Streets Beach comes complete with sand for castle building for the little kids and the Boat Pool is perfect for older, more confident swimmers.
We also love Aquativity which houses a range of educational play elements showcasing the Brisbane River, local catchments, native fish and mammal species (such as mullet and dugong), and the water cycle. (But the kids will love it because it is fun!) Streets Beach is patrolled by lifeguards all year round.
South Bank is open Monday – Sunday 5am – midnight.
Janine – Get Out With Kids
Robelle Parklands & Orion Lagoon
One of the best free attractions in South East Queensland is Robelle Domain Parklands. Situated in Springfield Lakes, west of Brisbane, Robelle Domain is spread over 24 hectares of walkways and bikeways, open spaces, playgrounds and BBQ areas.
The park is especially popular in the warmer months. There is a mini waterpark with a tipping bucket and water jets for kids to cool off and have fun with water play. And if you are looking for an even better way to cool off, right next door is Orion Lagoon.
Orion Lagoon is a huge free outdoor swimming pool to suit the whole family. There are shallow wading areas for younger children and deeper water for competent swimmers. The lagoon is split into several different swimming pool areas, each supervised by lifeguards throughout the day. The hours are extended into early evening during summer months.
Our best tip is to get there early if you want to grab a shady spot, as they are limited and in high demand. Or take your own pop up gazebo as there is plenty of space to set up and make a day of it.
Both the Orion Lagoon and Robelle Domain Parklands have cafes if you decide not to take your own, plus they are right next door to Orion Shopping Centre, which has loads of restaurants and more entertainment options.
Holly – Simplify Create Inspire
BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN QUEENSLAND (WITH KIDS)
One of our all-time favourite free activities in Queensland is to go for a swim in Yeppoon’s beachfront lagoon.
Opened just 12 short months ago, the massive lagoon goes from 0 metres and gradually descends to 2.4m in depth in its deepest parts. Featuring an infinity edge overlooking the stunning Keppel Bay Islands, as well as a section exactly 25m in length suitable for lap swimming, the lagoon is open from 6am until 9pm 7 days a week in summer, and from 8am to 6pm over the slightly cooler winter months.
There is also a small kiosk that offers superb espresso coffee from 6am, as well as other very reasonably priced and simple snacks and light lunches. We often go for a swim late on a Friday evening and take advantage of the $10 fresh pizzas, which make a great and affordable dinner after a long, hot week living in the tropics!
We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful home town, and we love taking advantage of the free lagoon at every opportunity!
Lisa Scott – Run Eat Sleep Repeat
Muddy’s Playground, Cairns
Muddy’s Playground was voted our favourite day out on our Queensland holiday! Muddy’s can be found on the Esplanade in Cairns and is most famous for its huge variety of water play features. It really is massive, and there are different areas throughout the playground which are suited to different children’s ages.
Muddy’s is a very modern and fun playground, parkland and splash park. What I loved so much about Muddy’s was the amazing layout, fun activities and the great amount of shade provided. It really is somewhere you can spend a whole day.
There are toilets at both ends of the playground and a café on site. There are bbq facilities with picnic tables and lawn space if you would like to bring a picnic. The playground is open every day of the year from 9am to 7pm (with certain areas closed for maintenance on Tuesday and/or Thursday).
Muddy’s playground is a very bright and happy playground, full of colour and various areas for interactive play. Many of the water play areas have a soft fall layer so it’s even fine for crawlers! Our kids had a blast under the water fountains, chasing the water, playing with the giant fish and generally running around exploring in a safe and clean environment. It’s just brilliant and we can’t recommend it highly enough!
Amber Hill – Hill Tribe Travels
BEST PAID ACTIVITIES IN QUEENSLAND (WITH KIDS)
The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich
A fun and educational day out exploring the history of rail in Queensland can be found at the Workshops Rail Museum. There is plenty to see from exhibitions featuring Thomas the Tank Engine, historic steam and modern trains and interactive model railways. We loved that, after your first visit, you can upgrade to a yearly pass which makes the experience very affordable.
By far the best area is the Nippers Railway where you will find trains, tricycles and boats that you can play in. To enhance the role playing fun you’ll also find dress-up hard hats and uniforms plus working signals and a kid-sized train station. Scattered throughout the museum are child-friendly stations such as STEM activities, colouring in and a reading corner.
Pack a snack or visit the cafe, either way there are lovely shady areas to take a break from your exploring.
Be sure to check out the Workshops Rail Museum website as they regularly update their calendar with special events including open days that are free for the community.
When we were annual pass holders we often attended the Little Nippers Sessions which were basically a well organised playgroup. Each month featured a new theme and curated activities, toys, books and songs and my daughter loved participating.
Whether you’re after a special day out or regular family excursion the Workshops Rail Museum has something for every age.
Candice – My Little Travel Tribe
Thunderegg Crystal Mine, Tamborine Mountain
One of our favourite things to do in Queensland is to go thunderegg fossicking at the Thunderegg Crystal Mine, Tamborine Mountain.
You start the experience with a talk in the rock shop where you learn that thundereggs are spherical lumps of volcanic rock with layers of ash inside. You get to see lots examples so you know what you’re looking for and get some tips on how to find them.
Next, armed with little pickaxes and buckets, it’s time to make the walk to the steep open mine. You find thundereggs by digging into the ground but also you find lots of examples of broken eggs on the floor too.
A top tip is to look for the green colour in the stone and concentrate in the area around there. Also, don’t just be on the lookout for big eggs – while they are more dramatic, you can find lots of examples of tiny ones too and these are more likely to be in one piece. My final tip is to remember that whatever you collect, you need to carry back! Buckets get heavy quickly on the long walk, especially as the parents usually get left carrying all of them!
Back in the shop, they can cut open the eggs for you so you can see the pretty patterns inside. You get to keep your finds too.
A few things to think about before you go: The mine is steep – you can’t take a buggy up and I’d recommend it for kids over the age of about four. You must have closed toe shoes or they won’t let you in – you’ll be climbing a rocky, slippery slope so wear something sensible. The mine is open to the elements, so avoid going during the hottest time of the day, take lots of water (it’s a hike from the rock shop so you can’t just nip back to fill up) and wear hats and plenty of sunscreen!
Karen Bleakley – Smart Steps to Australia
Paradise Country, Gold Coast
This Aussie themed animal park has loads of animals to see including native wildlife and farm animals. It includes a baby animal nursery where children can pat and feed lambs, goats, piglets and chicks. The resort also has pony rides – a huge highlight for children!
Our son loves to see the parrots swoop down at feeding time and enjoys watching the stock horse and sheep sheering shows. Older children can pan for gold and mine for opals! Paradise Country often has special school holiday activities, and events for special occasions including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Our favourite thing about Paradise Country is that you can stay overnight and enjoy even more of the park. Farm stay accommodation includes glamping tents, and caravans for hire. Our family loved our stay, and we enjoyed a range of sunset and sunrise activities including milking the cows and collecting eggs. A large restaurant is located on site, offering breakfast lunch and dinner.
At night a large bonfire is lit and you can end the day with a hot chocolate and marshmallow.
There are so many reasons we love Paradise Country – and we’re already planning a trip back!
Theme Parks, Gold Coast
We are lucky enough to live within an hour or so of the Gold Coast theme parks. We have been going ourselves since we were kids and now we get to share the experience with our own children, who are 3 and 6. A day out at a theme park is by far their favourite way to spend a weekend!
Each of the Gold Coast theme parks cater to all ages, with rides and attractions for the grown up thrill seekers, but plenty to keep the smaller visitors occupied as well. Dreamworld, Movieworld and SeaWorld all have their own dedicated children’s zones, with rides suited to younger children and families and a chance to meet their favourite characters too.
Both SeaWorld and Dreamworld offer animal encounters and shows, and all three of the Gold Coast theme parks have family entertainment happening every day, whether it be a dance party with Bugs Bunny, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mystery to solve or a Trolls Village adventure.
If you are visiting more than one theme park, there is plenty of nearby accommodation. You can also get multi park passes that combine with the Gold Coast water parks as well, with Dreamworld and White Water World, or a Village Roadshow pass that includes SeaWorld, Movieworld and WetNWild. These are often the best value if you have more than one day to visit, plus the kids will love experiencing the different parks as well.
Holly Connors – Four Around the World
Green Island is not just one of the most beautiful spots in Queensland (and a national park) but it’s also one of the best kid friendly Queensland activities.
Green Island is located just off the coast of Cairns in Far North Queensland and getting here is half the fun with kids. It’s a quick 50 minute catamaran trip from Cairns and it’s perfect for a half- or full-day trip.
Once you are on the island, there is plenty to do. Our kids loved the glass bottom boat rides and Marineland Melanesia which is a small crocodile park. There are some aquariums with marine life and Aboriginal artefacts. The highlight, however is watching the crocodiles feed. You get to be quite close to these gigantic creatures.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs and it’s a great place to learn to snorkel with kids since you can walk straight from the beach and it’s quite shallow. Younger kids can see it from the glass bottom boat. There is a pool you can use and a food court with several eating options. Just walking around the island and through the rainforest is thoroughly enjoyable.
Suzi – Survey Suzi
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
This is one of our favourite things to do here at home on the Gold Coast! In fact we love Currumbin wildlife Sanctuary so much I’ve written a whole article on it !