Navigating the Brisbane CBD with a family
If you tend to avoid visiting the city with kids because you are unsure of how best to get around, this article is written especially for you.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but the logistics of navigating the CBD as a family are not as difficult as you may think. We’ve researched the best options for public transport, car parking and tips for families using prams to ensure that your next trip into the big smoke is a pleasure for the whole family.
Public Transport within the CBD
Unless you live within walking distance of the city, the two options for getting into town are to drive (in a car, taxi or uber) or catch public transport.
Being a river city, the Brisbane CBD is fully accessible via ferry and city cat, which is always a popular choice for kids. Once you’re in town, the city hopper ferry is a free service that can transport you to and from different parts of the city centre.
Children will also enjoy catching a bus or train into the city, and there are frequent services running seven days per week. Once in the city centre, the free city loop bus service runs through the CBD and Spring Hill, and is perfect if you need to visit different precincts within the sprawling city area.
For more information on using public transport with a family in Brisbane, including everything you need to know about go cards and timetabling, you can read our detailed article.
Driving and parking within the CBD
Often, the most practical option for families travelling into the city is to drive their own car. This means you can easily bring bicycles, scooters, prams etc. and you don’t have to lug any shopping home on public transport. It also means you can leave quickly, without having to wait around for the next bus/train/ferry if things turn pear-shaped!
Secure Parking has numerous car parking locations in the Brisbane CBD, and are a great option if you want to park in a certain area or close to a particular venue. All you do is go to their website, find a park near where you want to go, pay for the amount of time you are after and you are given a pin number to get in and out. Its really easy and will give you peace of mind in knowing where to go.
Brisbane City Council operates two car parks in the city, at Wickham Terrace and King George Square. At the top end of Queen Street Mall, with vehicle access from Elizabeth Street, is The Myer Centre car park, which is one of the most conveniently located carparks for access to the mall. Although CBD parking can be expensive during weekdays, a number of car parks in Brisbane City offer $5 flat rate parking on evenings and weekends. It pays to do your research before heading in, with a number of carparks offering discounted rates for pre-booking online.
For more information about affordable car parking in the city, particularly when travelling with kids, you can read our detailed article here.
Eating in the CBD
There are many places to eat within the centre of Brisbane so we will just give you some of our favourites, and those we have reviews for so you know what to expect.
Death Star Canteen is a Star Wars themed cafe and you can expect locally sourced, cafe style food, made from scratch onsite.
Shingle Inn will offer you the best cakes and coffee in a lovely central location, just below the clock tower. While we technically don’t have a review of Shingle Inn on the site, we have shared and reviewed many of their kids high tea.
The Pancake Manor is just a fun place to go with kids, as much for its iconic value as its delicious pancakes.
Accessibility within the CBD
Brisbane is a very family-friendly city, and there are many, many attractions within the city area that cater to children. Most pavements throughout the central business district are suitable for prams and wheelchairs. The Australian Building Code stipulates that all buildings in Australia must be wheelchair accessible, either by lift or ramp, which means they are also pram accessible. In the central CBD, the walk from the Queen Street Mall along Albert Street to the City Botanic Gardens is particularly flat and enjoyable, and also has the benefit of several casual and alfresco dining establishments to stop at along the way.
Riverwalks in and around the Brisbane CBD
There are also a number of beautiful walks through the city and surrounding areas that are pram-friendly, including the Brisbane Riverwalk (which runs between the CBD and New Farm Park), the walk through the City Botanic Gardens, and the boardwalk along the riverfront at South Bank.
To find out more about the fun to be had in Brisbane City with kids, including the best attractions for families, you can read our detailed article.