Colmslie Beach Reserve is tucked away just near the Gateway Bridge down behind Cannon Hill/Bulimba way. It's along Lytton Road near where all the fishmongers are. You might have trouble getting public transport to this one, but I think this is worth finding a way to. Map is here. Given the fishy theme, I think the general consensus is that this is AKA Octopus Park.
A very lovely friend offered to get us out of our inner north comfort zone and take us to this park. Lets just say the park impressed the heck out of me - and I've seen a lot of parks. I'd go so far as to say that ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a new number one.
I think you can tell this by the fact I have a gazillion pictures following. I was trying to edit but I loved every picture because I loved every bit of the park.
To start, there is the big golden fish which juts out of the sandpit in two parts. You can climb inside the fish (sadly filled with litter) or slide down his back. My child of course chose to do daringly dangerous feats of dangling from his fins.
Move to the left of this fish and there is a giant shipwreck which is wired for sound. Levers which cover every side of the inside of the boat can be pushed to make noise. Once again, my child's favourite part of this section was climbing up the side of the shipwreck and dangling in a dangerous fashion.
The middle section was a lovely sprawl of rolling hills just perfect for scooters and bikes. I was so impressed by this section. Every park I've seen previous has dead flat bike paths but this one had little hills where the kids could just get up enough speed to have some fun without it being too dangerous. I very much subscribe to allowing kids to take some level of risk and so many bike parks take this away from them by giving them bare, flat paths. This park allows them the thrill of taking a chance, learning how to push themselves but without taking it too far into the sort of risk that ends up in plaster casting.
This is by far the best bike/scooter/skateboard area I've seen.
Oh this park made me happy to be the parent of an adventurous kid. It made me wish I were a kid. I'd happily do all the torture of school and homework and mean kids and being called names and awkward dating and long silences when giving presentations and weird discovering your style fashion misses and all those horrible horrible things about growing up all over again to be a kid so I could embrace this park with glee.
But instead I just had to potentially embarrass myself by trying to squeeze my butt into the cool slide and pretending that the flying fox could happily hold my weight as I careened down its slope. If my kids were older they'd know to be really embarrassed at that point.
Sure, everywhere you turn there are "snakes have been spotted in this area" signs and the park is so large that there is every potential you could misplace your child along the way, but none of this is a deterrant because its a mighty, mighty fine park. And if your child is not yet sick of the nautical vibe then you can simply walk fifty metres and you'll reach the Brisbane river and see this:
In terms of areas to set up camp - the picnic areas are off to the side, so you couldn't be at the picnic table and view younger kids playing, its just too far to see. There are lots of very wide benches around the place which can easily host a nice spread for a few kids and a base for them to come back to. Indeed I'll be doing a picnic there in the next few weeks so I'll report back about how accommodating it is. The landscape is just beautiful though - lots of trees and grass and rolling hills - and I think given its so near the airport it gets a fair amount of attention from the younger kids for the low flying planes (which I didn't notice at all, but perhaps I'm immune to noise given I live on the train line).
A simply stunning park.
CK was too busy running to give this park a rating, but she later said it was "amazing amazing amazing". I would go so far as to give it a 9. Maybe even a 9.5.
Age Groups: Everyone. There were even babies rolling around on blankets on the floor near the flying fox. Lots of kids on their way home from school on the day we were there.
Kid Friendliness: older kids made a point of asking if CK wanted a go on the flying fox - that's pretty cool in my book
Parent Friendliness: to be honest I was too busy with my jaw on the ground in awe to interact. I did get a few chuckles from other mothers when I tried to squeeze down the slide - and it was more a "good for you" chuckle than "you idiot" I felt (delusional much?).
Shadiness: there are some trees but in general it wasn't well shaded. My friend said that in summer its hot as hell and filled with mosquitos.
Tricked Out: yes, there are lots of things which make this a tricked out park.
Picnic/BBQ: set off to the side there are picnic and BBQ areas
Shabbiness: lots of litter in the sandpit unfortunately. This did mar an otherwise flawless adventure.
Toilets: i didn't personally go into the toilets so I can't report on condition, however I can confirm the presence of a toilet block.
Hovering Required: The park itself is so large that I did end up chasing CK around to make sure she was okay. Older kids would be fine but make sure you are wearing comfy sneakers to keep up with the little ones.
Bring Yr Bike: Yes. Best. Bike. Park. EVER.
Crowded: not super crowded but definitely popular
Wow: this has wow up the wazoo.