A surf, or dip in the ocean, might be a 90-minute drive north or south of Brisbane, but there's plenty of opportunities to indulge in water activities in our River City. Find options to keep you cool this summer.
Kayak or canoe the Brisbane River
Explore the Brisbane River with our free and low-cost kayak eco-adventures. The minimum age for this activity is 6 years and children from 6-12 years must be accompanied by an adult. These activities are always popular, so book early!
If you'd like to paddle with your own passive craft, you can launch your kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard at any time from one of Council's public river and recreation hubs, boat and canoe ramps and pontoons. There are quite a few to choose from, so pick your spot and paddle on.
Suburban water parks
Cool off on a hot day at our fantastic water play areas or aqua parks. Indulge in hours of water-based fun with slides, mushroom fountains, drop buckets, lily pads, worms, bubblers and water jets to keep cool when the mercury rises. 16 of Council's 22 public pools include water parks and play areas, so you don't have to look too far for local water play fun!
Ferny Grove Aqua Park
If you live on the northside, check out the free and interactive Ferny Grove Aqua Park at the Keperra Picnic Grounds. There are picnic facilities and an electric barbecue at this aqua park, so pack a picnic and make a day of it!
Rocks Riverside Park
Perfect for the whole family, this water park has plenty of pop-up fountains, shade sails, paddling pools and rock pools. Bring a picnic blanket and find a shady spot to set up camp.
Wynnum Aqua Park
Known as the Whale Water Park to locals, the aqua park includes water spurting whales, ground sprays and tipping bucket, as well as troughs, water tippers and hand pumps.
Streets Beach, South Bank Parklands
South Bank Parklands is a Brisbane icon, with the only inner-city, human-made beach in Australia. Streets Beach is patrolled by lifeguards all year round, although their hours change throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, this is a popular spot for locals and visitors, with everything from a white, sandy beach, Brisbane River view and surrounding picnic spots and barbecues.
Do you love to fish? Cast a line from one of our fishing platforms. These land-based platforms are located across the city. If you want to brush up on your fishing skills, check out our free fishing workshops. Make sure you book to participate in these sessions.
Stand-up paddling, kitesurfing and windsurfing
Moreton Bay runs along the eastern boundary of Brisbane and provides another great opportunity to cool off on summer days. Did you know we offer low-cost workshops for stand-up paddling, kitesurfing and windsurfing? Join a $5 class at Sandgate this summer - all equipment is provided. Our water classes by the sea are always popular, so book early!
Top up your go card and plan a day on the water using our network of CityCats, including the double-decker CityCats, to see the city sights. Remember, there's free off-peak travel for seniors on weekdays and some free or discounted trips for kids too.
Chill at your local pool
Find your local pool to cool off, relax, enjoy water play, swim laps, attend a fitness class, learn to swim, improve your swim stroke or join a swimming club. Don't forget to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide if you head to a pool during daylight hours. For more tips on Council's 22 pools, read our ultimate guide to Brisbane's public pools.
Set amongst tropical gardens, the pool is a large complex with a 25-metre lap pool, water park with six slides, lagoon play area and a kiosk for all those post-swim refreshments.
Musgrave Park Swimming Centre
If you live, study or work near South Brisbane, swim some laps at the newly refurbished 50-metre pool at Musgrave Park Swimming Centre.
Southsiders looking to cool off should check out the water play area at Runcorn Pool, or the ever-popular water play park at Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rocks.
Spring Hill Baths
This inner-city, heritage-listed swimming pool was Brisbane's first in-ground pool, built in 1886. The pool showcases old world charm with classic changing rooms and grandstand seating.
Get your heart rate pumping with our free and low-cost aqua aerobics, aqua Zumba, deep water running and aqua yoga classes. Classes are held across Brisbane, so check out our What's On calendar to find an aqua class near you.
- Boating, canoeing and fishing
- Explore your own backyard with Brisbetter Explore
- Free guided discovery tours in the City Botanic Gardens
- River Access Network
- Find more things to see and do in Brisbane
This article was originally published in November 2019 and was updated and republished in December 2020.