If you’re looking for cheap holiday destinations in Australia with kids, Brisbane is a good option. With its relaxed pace and tropical climate, Brisbane lives up to its role as capital of the so-called “Sunshine State” of Australia with plenty of free things to do with kids. While visitors and residents spend much of their time outside in parks, cycling along the riverside bikeways and cruising the Brisbane River on CityCats, Brisbane has plenty of family-friendly indoor attractions should the heavens open up. Here are some suggestions for free activities to do in Brisbane with kids.

The Cube

Although more geared towards older children, The Cube’s two-storey digital display is awe-inspiring for all ages. Featuring more than 40 multi-touch screens that inquisitive toddlers can touch to their heart’s delight, The Cube also contains a simulated underwater reef and a plasma wall with four interactive games using motion capture technology. Afterwards, refuel at the Gardens Club café, then wear the kids out at the new playground at the northern end of the Botanic Gardens.

Science and Engineering Centre, Gardens Point campus, 2 George St., Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tel: +61 7 3138 5495

New Farm Park 

A Brisbane institution, riverside New Farm Park has featured in the childhood adventures of Brisbane locals for decades. Framed by jacaranda trees and rose gardens, New Farm Park’s playground features enormous fig trees that loom large over the structures below. Grab a picnic table and watch kids’ imaginations come alive as they climb into dragon’s eggs, follow secret paths and explore the tree houses among the branches.

1038 Brunswick St., New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tel: +61 7 3403 8888

[For more travel tips on things to do in Brisbane with kids from a suitcases&strollers mum, see the suitcases&strollers interview here.

Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and State Library 

The stars of Brisbane’s cultural precinct at South Bank are the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the State Library, both of which contain dedicated play spaces for kids. Start at the Children’s Art Centre at GOMA, where there are hands-on activities and multimedia games that tie in with visiting exhibitions.

[For travel tips on how to do art galleries and museums with kids, see the suitcases&strollers interview with an art expert here.] 

Next, wander down to The Corner at the State Library, an imaginative play space with toys, books, craft and games aimed at the under-eight crowd. As well as free entry, the cultural precinct has stroller access, parents’ rooms, cafes and outdoor areas for kids to let off steam.

Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tel: +61 7 3840 7303

Brisbane Botanic Gradens, Mount Coot-tha 

Brisbane’s highest peak, Mt Coot-Tha, is home to tropical gardens and lush rainforest that seem a world away from the city centre only 15 minutes down the road. Follow the shady Hide ’n’ Seek Trail to discover sculptures, pictures, natural wonders and other surprises hidden through the gardens. There’s also a café, picnic areas, a duck pond and free story time sessions with a librarian on Tuesdays. Don’t forget the insect repellent.

Mt Coot-tha Rd., Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

[For more travel tips on free things for kids in most cities, see the suitcases&strollers story here.

Streets Beach & Aquativity Water ParkSouth Bank 

Need to cool down? Smack bang in the middle of the city, South Bank’s beach is more of a lagoon but your kids will hardly tell the difference. White sand, palm trees, lifesavers and ice-cream stalls complete the seaside picture.

Don’t miss the interactive water park Aquativity, complete with spouts, fountains, and play elements that are based on the Brisbane River System.

South Bank Parklands, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tel: +61 7 3867 2000

By Sally Wilson of Scribe & Spoon; Images: Tourism and Events Queensland