THE GRASS IS GREENER
WE MAY BOAST ABOUT OUR BEACHES, BUT THE GOLD COAST HAS PLENTY TO OFFER IN THE PARKS DEPARTMENT TOO
FIRE UP THE BBQ: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GOLD COAST PARKS
BROADWATER PARKLANDS, SOUTHPORT BEST FOR: Everything for everyone
As Mayor Tom Tate says, “if you haven’t visited the Parklands, you are missing out!” In addition to the regular events held by the water on the sprawling green parklands, there’s parks for the kids and a fish and chip shop for picnics. “There is a pedal monorail with the track running around the edge of the playground, slippery slides, a swing set, and a boat for the kids to captain and also a huge rope flying fox. Just next to the playground there is a bouncy pillow to jump on. The swimming enclosure is right in front of the bouncy pillow with permanent beach umbrellas and barbecues provided. The rockpools are only a short stroll away, perfect to cool everyone off on a hot day, and there is plenty of shade for parents to sit back and watch the kids (and the boats sail by).”
PIZZEY PARK, MIAMI BEST FOR: Dogs
While Pizzey Park has so many different areas that cater to vastly different Gold Coast demographics – from rugby fields to the skate park to a pine-tree forest – the dog park is perfect for puppy play. “Pizzey Park has a fantastic dog off-leash area and a dog exercise facility. This dog park is known as one of the best on the Coast ... treat your pooch today,” Cr Tate says.
CASCADE GARDENS, BROADBEACH BEST FOR: Weddings and events
While it’s great for walks, picnics and water views, Cascade Gardens is ideal for special occasions. “Cascade Gardens has a lovely rotunda, which is one of our most popular wedding and ceremony venues,” Cr Tate says. “The green leafy surrounds of the gardens are also the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. With a purpose-built gazebo, this is another one of our most popular parks, and its central location is close to many reception venues.”
GOLD COAST REGIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS, BENOWA BEST FOR: Smelling the posies
A stroll through the Botanical Gardens will have you thinking “How’s the serenity?” “With so many beautiful species to see at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, join the 200,000 visitors that annually visit these gardens,” Cr Tate says. “There is the Mangroves to Mountains walk, Rose Garden, Sensory Garden, Gum Tree Corridor and Butterfly Garden, where the plant selection is based on the needs of butterflies.”
CURRUMBIN ROCK POOLS, CURRUMBIN BEST FOR: Adventuring
A trip to the iconic Currumbin Rockpools is a rite of passage for Gold Coast locals and it has become a hotspot to take visiting out-of-towners. With trickling creeks and mossy rocks, it’s a world away without traveling a world away. “There are large grassy banks, perfect for exploring or rolling out that picnic rug. The kids can have a run around and, of course, swim in the rocks pools,” Cr Tate says.
JOHN LAWS PARK, BURLEIGH HEADS BEST FOR: Views
Cr Tate says John Laws Park offers, “one of the most magical views anywhere in the world”. Anyone who frequents the iconic Burleigh Hill will agree. The park spans all the way to the top of the headland with views of the Surfers Paradise cityscape, and further still are walking tracks with ocean lookouts. Every Sunday the hill turns into a festival as locals flock to watch the sunset spectacle. A Justin Lane pizza picnic should be on the menu.
MICK SCHAMBURG PARK, NORTH BURLEIGH BEST FOR: Fitness
Many local fitness gurus have a love/hate relationship with the famous Mick Schamburg hill – it’s so steep just one look gets the heart rate up. But if you make it to the top you’re rewarded with endorphins and unbeatable views. “Join one of the many fitness groups that use this park for group training or take a walk or jog up the hill to the lookout with views to Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta,” Cr Tate says.
EVANDALE PARK, SURFERS PARADISE BEST FOR: Picnics
After being drained to catch that pesky stonefish, Evandale Lake looks a little different, but it’ll be back to normal in no time, and the surrounding areas are still as stunning as ever. “Located in the centre of the city, these parklands are a beautiful location for a stroll, picnic, swim or jog,” Cr Tate says. “There are ample picnic areas with barbecues and shaded seating in the parklands. There is also a swimming lagoon, volleyball court, children’s playground and exercise equipment.”
KURRAWA PARK, BROADBEACH BEST FOR: Play
Kurrawa Park’s all abilities playground has many different areas, so the littlies are spoilt for choice. “There is a sandpit castle area, an ocean-themed area including submarine, sea snake and mermaid, two huge slippery slides to go down, two sets of swings (including a liberty swing for children with disability), a climbing web and a flying fox,” Cr Tate says. “There is plenty of area to throw down a picnic rug if you plan to stay for a few hours and also plenty of other seating.”
PALM BEACH PARKLANDS BEST FOR: Parent/child time
While mum and dad head for a coffee at Dune, the kids can go wild sailing the seven seas in the huge pirate ship playground. “Palm Beach Parklands is just one of the many signature parks on the Gold Coast home to a themed playground – the pirate ship is simply fantastic and very lifelike for the kids to imagine, explore and dream. Enjoy a coffee and babycino after playtime to refuel,” Cr Tate says.
HARLEY PARK, LABRADOR BEST FOR: Swimming
Up north a little, Harley Park on a weekend is always buzzing. Buy some fish and chips from Charis Seafood and grab a spot on the lawn (avoid the ravenous seagulls), but be sure to wait 30 minutes before going for a dip. “Magical Broadwater views, a fantastic ship-themed kids’ playground and heaps of shaded picnic tables make this a popular location for local residents,” Cr Tate says. “The Ian Dipple lagoon is a perfect place for a dip for young children through to adults. It is even floodlit in the evenings.”
MACINTOSH ISLAND, SURFERS PARADISE BEST FOR: Hot days
In October it’s transformed for the GC600, but the rest of the year it’s a cool, peaceful sanctuary, within walking distance to the beach and perfect for when the sand is too hot to hang out. “The large park offers many options for your party or gathering, with large trees providing excellent shade options,” Cr Tate says. “The cascading stream running through the park is home to several types of birds and gives a tranquil atmosphere.”
PARADISE POINT PARKLANDS BEST FOR: The whole family
The community and family atmosphere at these northern Parklands is among the best, with whole families – including the pups – gathering for any and every occasion. “The Parklands have recently been upgraded with new public amenities, barbecue facilities and picnic shelters,” Cr Tate says. “There are also open grassed areas, perfect for a game of cricket with the family, or a kick of the footy.”