Need to feel fear and adrenaline pumping through your body? Or maybe you just want to pat furry animals and play mini golf? Either way there are theme and leisure parks located around Brisbane that make for a fun day trip or half-day adventure.
Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild are all part of the same group, so it could be economic to grab a three-park pass. Likewise Dreamworld and Whitewater World are the same park so you may need a three-day pass to explore them both.
Movie World is more than just film sets and actors dressed as Batman (although they have those too) – this theme park has half a dozen adrenaline-fueled roller coasters to get your heart rate up. The DC Hypercoaster is the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest, longest and tallest hypercoaster and you can ride it here.
How to get there: drive 45-55 minutes, or 90 minutes by public transport
Get wet, go wild. With 13 waterslides (including four extreme ones), Wet ‘n’ Wild is the waterpark for non-stop water fun. If you want a slower pace, jump into a soft blow-up tube and float along the lazy river of Calypso Beach. The park also has a huge wave pool, surfing and kids’ areas.
How to get there: It’s right next to Movie World, so drive 45-55 minutes or it is 90 minutes by public transport.
If it’s not obvious, Sea World is about all things marine. At this theme park find penguins, dolphins, polar bears, seals, rays, jet ski stunt shows, theme park rides and more. For an extra price you can even swim with dolphins or dive with sharks.
How to get there: drive 60 minutes, or two hours by public transport.
The biggest theme park of all, Dreamworld has something for every age and thrill level. There are the big nine thrill rides (including the Tower of Terror, The Claw and WipeOut), rides for the whole family (bumper cars, Escape from Madagascar coaster), and then rides for little ones (tea cup rides, Big Red car). There is also Tiger Island with real tigers, Wiggles World, ABC Kids World, a LEGO store and shows. And if that’s not enough, there’s a waterpark – WhiteWater World – with 12 epic rides. Might we suggest a three-day pass over a day pass?
How to get there: drive 40-50 minutes, or 85 minutes by public transport.
Like a permanent carnival, Aussie World has all the classics – a ferris wheel, giant slide, go karts, dodgems. Then there is a maze, mini golf, sideshow alley and much more. Bring the whole family long for a fun day out.
How to get there: drive 70-85 minutes, or two hours by public transport.
Get adventurous in the hinterland at Thunderbird Park. From swinging through the trees with the Canyon Flyer zipline course or the adrenaline pumping Treetop Challenge high ropes, to laser skirmish and digging for thundereggs (formed with dinosaurs roamed the earth). Thunderbird Park also has a mini golf course, horse riding and accommodation onsite. Each activity is a pay-as-you-go.
How to get there: drive 60-70 minutes.
Love golf? Get to Victoria Park. More than just a golf course, there’s mini golf, a driving range with Brisbane skyline views and a great bistro with an amazing kids’ playground. Best of all it’s very close to the city centre.
How to get there: drive 10 minutes, or taking the bus is also only 10 minutes.
The world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary is just a drive of 15-20 minutes from Brisbane CBD. Within the park find Australian animals such as kangaroos (you can take selfies as they roam around), platypus, dingoes, wombats, Tasmanian devils, echidnas, southern cassowary, emus, crocodiles, plus plenty of native birds. Best of all you can hug a koala and watch the bird of prey show too. The park hosts free outdoor movie screenings twice a month too.
How to get there: drive 15-20 minutes, the bus takes 35 minutes, or make an experience of the journey and take the Mirimar Boat. The Mirimar II leaves the South Bank pontoon at 10am daily and takes 75 minutes (including commentary), while the Mirimar Express takes 35 minutes. You can take the boat one way.
The home of the former Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, is just over an hour north of Brisbane. At the park see more than 1200 animals ranging from native Australian species to those you’d find in the African Savannah or South-East Asia. The zoo is constantly changing and growing with news shows to catch through the day.
How to get there: drive 60-80 minutes, or take the private shuttle bus (the Croc Express) as public transport takes two-and-a-half hours.