Brisbane continues to throw up surprises for us. We know that there are lots of beautiful areas around and fun things to do, but every now and then we are presented with something that we really weren't expecting. Bunya Riverside is one of those places! Hidden away in a strictly residential area, Bunya Riverside allows access directly in to the South Pine River, and right on Brisbane's doorstep! Strictly speaking, it's actually part of Moreton Bay Region right where the suburbs of Bunya, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill meet.
Getting to Bunya Riverside is easy (assuming you are driving), just head right to the end of Dungandan Road, Bunya and you are just about there. There is a road running down to a carparking area right down on the water's edge, although on a warm day expect this carpark to fill up quickly! The access road is gated and closed at night, perhaps to keep the noise down? I imagine they would keep it closed in heavy rains if there is flooding expected too. Regardless, the main reason for heading to Bunya Riverside will be for a swim or splash, so generally you will be going there through the day in nice weather, so expect the gates to be open.
The carpark is directly in front of a large meander of the river - great for swimming. There are toilets, picnic tables and lots of grass to set up for a picnic or barbeque. Having the carpark so close to the water is great for us with families as we can leave most of the usual family baggage in the car! We made sure we had our swimmers on, put on some sunscreen, had a drink of water, grabbed our towel and we were off!
We first headed off downstream, there is a path heading that way and we could see that there the river was shallow and rocky that way. The path itself was reasonably well maintained so it was easy enough to push a pram along should you wish. We had plans of getting down into the water so we left the pram in the car for this visit! It was a nice, easy walk along the riverbank - there were a few little tracks heading off into the bush which the boys were keen to venture in to so that they could do a little exploring. If you are planning to wander off the path (down to the river or up the riverbank), it's a good idea to wear some shoes suitable for bushwalking as the terrain can be steep and the surface a little loose in places.
After a five minute walk downstream, we spotted a worn track of the main pathway which led to to the rocky riverbed, so we had to jump off the path and make our way down there. The water was generally shallow in this area - a few little holes here and there that were suitable for swimming, but for the most part, the kids were happy to scratch around in the rocks looking for the perfect skimming rock! That was our favourite part about this area - we could leave the kids exploring by themselves, it wasn't too slippery and the entry into the waterholes wasn't too steep. After an hour or so of exploring the rocks, we headed back to the picnic area for some lunch. We didn't end up going for a swim in the waterhole area, but plenty of other kids were taking advantage of the water!
Our visit to South Pine River at Bunya Crossing was lots of fun! We weren't really expecting too much, and while there are a lot of more visually attractive creeks around, we had a great time here! It was easy to access, very relaxed and had plenty of places to explore. Being a reserve so close to residential areas did mean that there was a little bit of rubbish left around, but no more than you would see in any other suburban park. It seemed that lots of people were brought down to the river by their canine masters for a walk, so those of you with dogs would enjoy a visit here! It was a bit of a shame that not everyone picked up after their dogs, but again, probably no more than a typical park. Don't forget to bring your picnic mat or some snags for the barbie!
Amenities: A typical park area - toilets, tables and barbeques! 👍👍👍
Cost: Completely free! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Limited parking down by the river, as with all swimming spots, expect it to be busy during the warmer months! 👍👍👍
Access: Easy to access if you make it down to the carpark, a bit of a steep walk down the riverbank if you decide to walk from the top! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: Lots of room to move, a large meander in the river for swimming and a rocky riverbed kept us satisfied! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Great for supervised toddlers through to adults and their furry friends! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: A few lizards here and there and I am sure that some kookaburras would love to join in on your barbeque! 👍👍
Summary: Very little effort required to escape the city and get back to nature in a relaxed setting. Although there are prettier settings, we had a great time here and will certainly be back! 👍👍👍
Hints: Bring your fishing gear and try your luck - we think it may be a great place to introduce the little ones to fishing!
Where is it: Sylvan Beach Esplanade, Bellara
Why we love it: Nice sand and gently sloping beaches make the water irresistible for our little kids! We love the parks as well!
Tell me more: Sylvan Beach runs along the western side of Bribie Island, separated from Sandstone Point on the mainland by the Pumicestone Passage. There are a number of parks spread along the beach and are really easily access from the esplanade. We visited a couple of parks - the Pirates Only Park and Crest Park - for a quick play and a splash! Only a short 20 metre walk from the parking areas (Pirates Only Park has off-street parking) and you will be at the picnic tables and playgrounds. The beach areas adjacent to both parks are easy to get to and both have shallow entries into the water - great for the little kids! Be aware that the parks are unfenced so you will have to keep an eye on the little guys! We had heaps of fun alternating between playground and beach, and we loved the fact that both parks have heaps of trees and shade!
Amenities: Toilets, picnic areas and drinking water available - there are also some cafes and shops nearby! 👍👍👍
Parking: Parking along the esplanade and some off street parking as well! 👍👍👍
Access: So easy to access, and only a short walk to the water! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: The playgrounds and calm water make this a great option for young families! 👍👍👍👍
Summary: A really nice option for a quiet and relaxing day by the water! Plenty of shady trees and easy access are big pluses! 👍👍👍
Hints: Keep an eye on the tides! At high tide the water might be a little deep for the little guys!
Pirates only Park
Where is it: Strathpine Community Centre, 199 Gympie Rd, Strathpine
What's it all about: An expo of Lego with awesome constructions, displays, vendors and characters! There's even a spot to build your own creations!
How can I join in: Book your tickets online (no tickets available at the door) and head on down to get involved! Tickets are sold by session to manage the crowds so you're sure to get a good view!
Tell me more: Brisbricks is a not-for-profit group, staffed by volunteers who love Lego! They love to show off their amazing Lego creations through their Lego fan expos and through these days they raise money for charities! Their Pine Rivers Expo is really cool - heaps of amazing creations (we could watch the trains for hours!), lots of Star Wars (both Lego and characters) and plenty of Lego items for sale - from single bricks through to full sets and lots of Lego themed accessories! Some of the displays are interactive as well - like the remote control 4WD track which was hard to get the kids away from! There's also an area for the kids where they can sit and make their own creations - so much Lego fun! You might even get drawn back to your childhood - like we did when we found a full table of complete sets from when we were kids! We know that much has change in the world of Lego over the years, but the basis of the standard bricks remains! Yay for Lego!
Where is it: Old Petrie Town, Whiteside
What's it all about: A day for the steam engine restorers to show off all their hard work!
How can I join in: Just head out to Old Petrie Town with a gold coin donation and be amazed at some of these spectacular pieces of machinery!
Tell me more: This little event took us a little by surprise as we didn't think that we would enjoy it as much as we did! It's always an interesting visit out to Old Petrie Town, but the prospect of seeing a display of vintage stationary engines and a parade of amazing steam powered rollers and tractors and we had to get out to see it! There's more on offer as well with vintage bus rides, machinery displays, jumping castles for the kids plus all the regular attractions from Old Petrie Town - one our favourites was the steam museum which has some huge working engines that you can't help but be impressed by! Sunday at the Steam Fair has the added attraction of the markets, so you'll definitely have an enjoyable day out!
Where is it: Old Petrie Town, about an hour's drive north of Brisbane CBD
What's it all about: A nice and quiet little heritage museum that’s great for kids and adults of all ages!
How can I join in: Come along anytime or check their website to see what special programs and exhibitions they have on!
Tell me more: Set amongst the fascinating village of Old Petrie Town, with its multitude of old colonial buildings, you will find the Pine Rivers Museum - a great idea to get the kids connected to the region's heritage! The museum hosts a number of permanent exhibitions as well as special programs and the exhibits are always well presented and fascinating! Our little guys loved seeing the old toys on display - it's amazing to think that these old toys still attract the youngsters - even today with all the technology on offer today, kids just want to be kids and will find entertainment in anything! It's a really worthwhile visit out to Pine Rivers Heritage Museum, even better when you plan your visit to catch one of the special programs!
Amenities: Full amenities on offer - a little café as well! 👍👍👍👍
Cost: Free! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of free on-site parking! 👍👍👍👍
Access: Good access for both pram and wheelchair! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: The special programs are great, and the museum has something for everyone! 👍👍👍
Best for: All ages! 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: Not too much to see here! 👍👍
Summary: A nice little museum that's well worth a visit. The fact that it's within Old Petrie Town is an added bonus as you can take in the sights of the old buildings as well! 👍👍👍
Hints: Check the website for special programs and opening times!
Last exhibition visited
Other past exhibitions:
Where is it: Neurum Rd, Mount Mee (Moreton Bay Region) Why we love it: A beautiful waterhole which is somewhat quiet due to its relative isolation.
Tell me more: A couple of hour's drive north west of Brisbane, through some quaint villages and some magnificent forests you will find a really tranquil waterhole called Rocky Hole - hidden away in a dry bushland forest. As part of the northern (Mt Mee) section of D'Aguilar National Forest, this little waterhole is slightly out of the way but is a very worthwhile visit for those looking for a bushland escape!
When coming from Brisbane, the drive will take you past the ‘Gantry’ picnic / day use area. This is a large, shaded picnic area with toilets and water (but not suitable for drinking) which was established on the surrounds of an old timber mill. The Gantry building remains however there’s no exploring this old building as it has now been closed off. It’s a nice spot to stop at for a picnic or barbeque lunch on your way to or return from Rocky Hole. Continuing down the road (which is gravel and in some cases a bit rough) for about 8km and you will come to a small carpark which gets you to within a couple of hundred meters of the waterhole. It's an easy walk to the waterhole (although there are some stairs leading down to the water), however the drive out might be seen as a bit of an adventure! We did see a few smaller cars make the journey but in wet weather it might be a bit of a challenge for 2WD vehicles.
The waterhole itself has a small area of shallow water with a pebbly ground which is great for the little guys to have a splash, while the main waterhole is quite deep and definitely inviting for the older kids and adults! No amenities here so make sure you bring your own drinking water and get the kids to the toilet before heading off (or stop in at the Gantry picnic area as you drive past) ! The scenery is really beautiful and the rocky surrounds and bushland backdrop make for some excellent photo opportunities - you might even catch a pic of some local wildlife! Overall, this is a great little day trip out – it’s off the beaten track a little so you may feel a sense of achievement when you reach it, but it’s close enough to do without too much of a hassle and the scenery will make you feel miles away!
Amenities: No amenities at Rocky Hole, there is a toilet block at the Gantry picnic area (15 minutes’ drive away)!👍
Parking: A small off-street parking area, probably not enough in the warmer months but you should still be able to find a spot! 👍👍
Access: Easy to access from the carpark however the stairs leading down to the water will mean that prams are not really an option! 👍👍
Best for: Probably best for those 3 and over! 👍👍👍
Summary: A beautiful spot and a great swimming hole! The minor challenges of getting there will make the visit all the more worthwhile! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: There are a number of scenic lookouts and walking trails along the way so don't forget your hiking boots! And the Gantry day-use area is a great spot for a picnic!
Where is it: Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine
What's it all about: A free event that displays different cultures from around the globe! Providing entertainment, increasing awareness and promoting harmony!
How can I join in: Keep an eye on the website for more details about this annual event!
Tell me more: A really great and beneficial event initiated by the Multicultural Association of Caboolture And Surrounds Inc (MACS) and now running for over 16 years, this event has become one of the must-see events in the Moreton Bay (and Brisbane) region! There are heaps of performers, food and music from many different countries being showcased in order to give all in attendance a touch of the different cultures that now call this great region home! Add to that some really fun rides and entertainment for the kids, and it quickly becomes clear why this event is so popular and it's easy to see why it continues to run after all these years! A very fun afternoon out and a great way to increase your exposure to different cultures!
Where is it: Captain Cook Parade, Deception Bay
Why we love it: A library, cafes, playground and beach all in the same spot!
Tell me more: Our little guys love getting to the beach - they love exploring the coastline as much as splashing in the water! A big plus for us here in Brisbane is that most of the local beaches have gentle slopes and few waves, so it's great for the little guys that aren't quite ready for proper swimming to keep their feet on the ground! The beach at Deception Bay is one of those beaches - it's nice and sandy with a gentle slope and small waves - great for the little guys so we love to visit! But we don't get straight into the water, first we check out the library and the park and playground! The library is typical of the high standard of great facilities and activities we've come to expect from the libraries in the area! Heaps to do and really fun activities are put on for the kids!
You head out of the library and you are straight into a park and playground area. Again the playground has very typical play areas and the kids had heaps of fun! You will find an appropriate level of facilities in the park with picnic tables, barbeques and toilets. And finally we get to the beach - it's directly adjacent to the playground and you can get straight into the sand. If anything drags our kids away from a playground it must be good, and that is exactly what this beach did!
The area is complemented by a few shops and cafes so you can really make a day out of it, and on top of that there's even some heritage listed seawater baths (the Bancroft Baths) from the 1880s you can check out! This area of Deception Bay is a really great place to bring the kids for indoor activities, a play in the park, fun on the beach and even a history lesson!
Amenities: The park (adjacent to the beach) has toilets, barbeques and picnic tables! 👍👍👍
Parking: Parking shouldn't be a problem! 👍👍👍
Access: The park has good access and getting to the beach is easy! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: So much to do for the little guys (6 and under) and they will love this beach! 👍👍👍👍
Summary: A really nice (and quiet) spot that's great for introducing the kids to the beach! Along with the other things that we have mentioned, there's plenty of opportunity to run and splash and look for creatures on the beach! 👍👍👍
Hints: Check the tide times before you visit, the gentle slope of the beach means the tide goes way out!
Deception Bay Library and Library Park (Burrajavoiun Park)
Where is it: Caboolture, about 1 hours’ drive north of Brisbane
What's it all about: An incredible collection of historical buildings and memorabilia, most of which have been sourced from the local area!
How can I join in: Come along and wander through the village or take part in some of the many organised activities that they have on!
Tell me more: A really nice spot for the kids to connect with Queensland's heritage is Caboolture Historical Village. The village has a number of original buildings on site, heaps of vintage vehicles and memorabilia and plenty of planned activities for school holiday fun! We went along for the school holiday activities to check out what they had on offer! The little ones had a great time getting involved in the art and craft programs, marvelled at the blacksmith displays and really enjoyed the period games! The volunteers had a wealth of information and really engaged with all of the kids! But by far the most popular aspect of the village (at least for our kids) was the miniature train ride! We love to think what must be going through the little ones' minds as they see all of the displays!
Amenities: A gift shop, café and toilets available on site! 👍👍👍👍
Cost: Fees apply, but great school holiday deals! 👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of space for parking! 👍👍👍
Access: Well laid out and easy to get around! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: The activities had the kids engaged! 👍👍👍
Best for: School aged kids and adults will get the most out of this one! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: Not too much in the way of wildlife, but a great little memorial to the animals that served our military through previous wars! 👍👍
Summary: A really nice museum to let the kids connect with their heritage past! 👍👍👍
Hints: Make sure that you book ahead for the school holiday activities!
School holidays' activities:
Where is it: Sandstone Point Hotel, Sandstone Point
What's it all about: A festival all about strawberries! Partly to recognise the farmers, partly to acknowledge the significance of the strawberry industry here in south east Queensland, and partly just to have fun and extra strawberries!
How can I join in: Held annually (usually just before the end of winter), keep an eye on the website for up-to-date details!
Tell me more: We weren't really prepared for how big this event was going to be - maybe a lot of people didn't want to accept that the Ekka was finished and wanted to keep the party going, but it was a really popular event! Luckily they have a great venue, The Sandstone Point Hotel. With its sprawling lawn areas, there was heaps of room so it didn't really feel too crowded. There was a live music stage which also had a Dirtgirlworld show on for the kids, lots of rides, strawberry eating competitions, heaps of strawberries in all different forms (drizzled with chocolate seemed to be quite popular!), and heaps of food options! We had heaps of fun and really enjoyed this event, but we should mention the traffic - even though the venue has heaps of space, the roads around the hotel are not really ready to handle such an influx of visitors! There was huge congestion around the hotel, so be prepared!
Brisbane Family Explorers