Brisbane weather turns on an endless supply of sunshine, and the city boasts many beautiful places to relax and make the most of it. The summer barbie is an institution in these parts, and the perfect way to catch up with friends and family in the great outdoors. Here are our tips for the best spots to visit this summer – and they all have free barbecues on site, so all you have to do is bring the snags and a cooler bin full of refreshing Lipton Ice Tea.
Get your tongs out for these barbecue spots:
This beautiful, sprawling park next to the river is a quaint reminder of yesteryear Brisbane, with its rose gardens, tennis courts, croquet lawns, and Federation-style bandstand rotunda, where jazz bands still regularly play. Spreading out a picnic rug in the dappled sunlight under the jacaranda trees has been a favourite way for Brisbanites to kick back for around a century now. And with good reason, since you couldn’t ask for a prettier place to while away a balmy afternoon. Electric barbecues are free to use and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The soaring volcanic cliffs of Kangaroo Point offer one of the most dramatic backdrops the city has. It doesn’t hurt that this park at the base of the cliffs is right on the edge of the Brisbane River, with a constant cooling breeze and postcard-perfect views of the city skyline. Nab a picnic table, fire up one of the free barbecues, enjoy a cold drink and soak up the beautiful surrounds. Afterwards, take a stroll along the boardwalk, and watch the thrill seekers as they scale the cliff face and abseil back to the bottom.
As the name suggests, this section of the South Bank Parklands is purpose-built for alfresco dining. Tucked away from the busy riverside boardwalk you’ll find a secluded grassy area surrounded by tall, breezy fig trees. It’s a favourite spot for family barbecues due to the children’s playground, island forest, cubby houses and the adjacent pond with its colourful native fish. Keep your eyes peeled as it’s not uncommon to see friendly water dragons sunning themselves on the rocks by the pond.
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre, this urban oasis doubles as a backyard for the many apartment dwellers in the nearby high-rises. Who needs a backyard when there’s 16 hectares of parkland including a rainforest walk, a lakeside meadow and lush lawns dotted with deck chairs? The main barbecue area is located on Lakeside Lawn with lots of electric barbecues and plenty of space for the whole gang. For a more secluded spot, follow the signs to Sunset Glade.
Although it’s just a ten minute drive from the city, this nature reserve feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle. Work up a thirst on the steep but rewarding 2km walk through the eucalypt forest to a cascading waterfall and up to the summit of Mount Coot-Tha for panoramic city views. Once you return to the picnic area, there’s plenty of open space for a game of cricket or to throw around a frisbee. Or just relax on the grassy banks of Ithaca Creek, and fire up one of the barbecues for an afternoon feast.
Mount Tamborine is almost exactly one hour's drive from the Brisbane CBD and its elevation makes it a pleasantly cool spot for a summer barbecue. While this hinterland hideaway has a number of relaxing parks and picnic places, our pick is Cedar Creek Falls. Exploring nearby tracks and boardwalks in the lush rainforest are a great way to work up an appetite, or you can kick around a football in one of the flat grassy areas in this national park. Follow lunch with a dip in the swimming hole beneath the waterfalls, which are just a ten-minute walk from the main picnic area.
If you head east out of the city you’ll end up in Brisbane’s bayside suburbs, known for their laidback fishing-village atmosphere. There’s many a picturesque spot for a lazy summer afternoon barbecue by the bay, where you can grill some local prawns or the local Moreton Bay bugs. Enjoy the bay breezes and afterwards take a stroll along the esplanade and explore the boat harbour, Manly Village, and the nearby pier.
A bit of sunshine makes everything better, so fire up the grill and show your buddies your handiness with those tongs (which you definitely remembered to pack).