Roma Street Parkland
Roma Street Parkland occupies a 40-acre (16-hectare) site in Brisbane’s city center. This public park was once the city’s principal train yard. It’s now an oasis-like area with five distinct precincts, an amphitheater, wonderful artworks, lakes and playgrounds. It’s a great place to spot small wildlife. Let the kids go on an artwork hunt, or take them for a ride on the Parkland Explorer “train.”
Explore the lush Forest and Fern Gully to walk amid the colorful plants of the subtropical rainforest. The creek is home to the native eastern water dragons and skinks. When reaching the elevated walkways, see if you can spot pink galahs, rainbow-colored lorikeets or bright-blue superb fairy wrens in the canopy. At least 35 bird species frequent the park.
Move on to the Spectacle Garden with seasonal plants and flowers, such as kangaroo paws and poinsettia. The nearby Sound Garden has a remarkable Japanese water harp. Be still and hear water drops create relaxing, almost musical sounds within the earthenware pot. The path leading up to it represents the Rainbow Serpent from local Aboriginal dreaming stories.
For a picnic, head over to the lake or Celebration Lawn with barbecues, public artworks and Frangipani Court. Visit the Upper Parkland and enjoy views of central Brisbane while the kids try out the playground.
Download one of the self-guided walks from the website, or book ahead for one of the free guided tours. Some walks are even designed for parents with infants and the website offers downloadable kids’ activities, such as an artwork hunt and “I Spy” game. On Fridays and during the weekend you can also jump aboard the Parkland Explorer. This small trackless locomotive has three hop-on, hop-off locations and a narrated audio tour.
Roma Street Parkland is located just behind the well-connected Roma Street Station. You can easily walk or cycle there from the heart of the city and there are various access points. Parking is limited and expensive, but restrooms and all other facilities are free. The park doesn’t close at night.