Free Recreational Activities
Brisbane offers a host of fun activities that are easy on the pocket, so you’re bound to find something that suits your interests and lifestyle.
Enjoying the outdoors and improving your health is as simple as walking or cycling, and one of the best spots to explore is only a few kilometres from the CBD. Mt Coot-tha Forest has 31km of multi-use trails that are shared by walkers, horse riders and cyclists, a further 18.5km of walking tracks specifically for pedestrians, and 23.5km of mountain bike trails only for riders. The forest is Brisbane’s largest natural area, with more than 1500ha of open eucalypt forest. It borders Brisbane Forest Park, which is a further 28,500ha. Mt Coot-tha Forest is a must for all to explore, with spectacular views, picnic facilities, seasonal creeks and waterfalls.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the CBD, Streets Beach at South Bank provides a refreshing oasis where you can frolic in a lagoon, sunbathe and picnic with family and friends. Brisbane has a plethora of bikeways and walkways, so keen and occasional cyclists can explore more than 1200km of dedicated paths. The city is compact and well connected, with walkways and bridges linking South Bank to the nearby contemporary arts precinct and the CBD. Those who don’t have a bike need not miss out on the fun, thanks to the Brisbane council’s CityCycle scheme. Stations are available across Brisbane’s city centre, stretching from Newstead to West End and Toowong. CityCycle bike hiring and returning is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and once you’ve bought a subscription, you can hire and return a bike at any station within the network.
The Brisbane City Council’s Active Parks program has exercise for all levels of ability at more than 50 parks across Brisbane, so you can have a great workout or relax with something more gentle such as tai chi. Try recreational tree climbing, join in a boxing class, tackle a fitness circuit, lift your heart rate with Zumba or hit the water in a kayak. Other activities include fishing and mountain biking.
When it comes to free fun in the sun, Rocks Riverside Park, at Seventeen Mile Rocks, is a family favourite – for good reason. At almost 30ha, it’s one of the largest venues of its kind in Brisbane and is brimming with attractions including a large shaded sandpit with toddler playground equipment. It also has a fort-like playground for older kids, a water park in the warmer months, a huge climbing structure, flying fox, basketball half-court, bike paths, sheltered barbecues and picnic tables, open spaces giving plenty of room, and an amphitheatre and open-air stage for special events.
Somerset Dam is well worth the drive from Brisbane, offering a wide variety of options to suit all ages. Attractions include boating (powered and non-powered), electric-model boating, camping (at Somerset Park), canoeing, fishing, jetskiing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, walking, four-wheel-driving and golf.