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Unique Brisbane Parkland welcomes Recreational Vehicles and takes kids fishing

October 31, 2005
Unique Brisbane Parkland welcomes Recreational Vehicles and  takes kids fishing

Brisbanes Roma Street Parkland now offers parking for caravan, campervan and motorhome visitors right in the CBD.

The Parklands large vehicle parking makes a visit to the subtropical capital of Queensland a much more manageable experience for Recreational Vehicles.

GoSeeAustralia got a friendly and informative introduction to the Roma Street Parkland from Event Co-ordinator Michelle Kennedy. She says Roma Street Parkland is ideal for a quiet, laid back time in a friendly, peaceful environment.

'It features the worlds largest subtropical garden in a city centre, and represents the oasis in Brisbanes heart,' she said. The Roma Street Parkland offers a diverse and colourful series of unique outdoor precincts tendered by a team of dedicated gardeners.

The Lake PrecinctThe Parkland includes a misty forest (beloved by brides) where tall tree ferns grow, Spectacle Garden with its Topiary Maze Garden, Lilly Pilly Garden and wall of Epiphytes. It is a garden-lovers paradise. Webs of meandering pathways lead to a journey of garden discovery.

There are arid climate succulents, rainforest ferns, coastal wetland species, and a spectacular and every-changing display of annuals, amongst a myriad of plant varieties. Take a self-guided walk through the Parkland. Ask at the Activities Centre for maps to help explore the scattered precincts and Queensland artworks.

Brisbane crowds the City Hall clock tower (left)Forest Walk, for example, wanders through cascading waterways and past rocky outcrops into the misty Fern Gully and Angiopteris Ravine, which features a variety of the worlds oldest plant species. A walk across the Fern Gully Bridge to the Lookout reveals views over the Forest, the Parkland and city skyline.

It is the last clear view to the City Hall clock tower, now shut in by the growth of Brisbanes skyline.

There are free one-hour guided tours which provide leisurely and informative walk-and-talk adventures through the Rainforest, Pandanus Headland, Lake Precinct, and horticulturalists dream Spectacle Garden, providing information about the plants, local history and public artwork.

Catch a TrainThere are well-maintained picnic spots and free-of-charge electric barbecues. Cook your own food or lunch in Melange, the licensed caf overlooking the Water Wall. Drink and snack vending machines and conveniences are located throughout the Parkland.

There are playgrounds designed for children of all ages, with swings (including the Liberty Swing especially designed for those with a disability), slides, spinning toys, climbing frames, gongs and sound boxes, as well as steps, trees and a rock-lined tree bed for games and exploration.

Roma Street Parklands links with its rail past are kept alive with the colourful and informative Jellybean Express, which operates daily around a 1.3 kilometre circuit within the subtropical gardens. Check the website events calendar to see what is on at the Parkland.

And while it may be just four years old as parkland, the precinct has a colourful history. This area was once a natural reservoir, which made it a popular meeting place for several Indigenous groups in Brisbane and surrounding areas.

Michelle Kennedy with the Liberty SwingThe use of the area Roma Street Parkland now occupies diversified in the mid-1800s as the Brisbane settlement expanded. The Roma Street Railway Station, formerly known as the Brisbane Terminus, was built in 1875 to accommodate the passage of people and goods travelling between Brisbane and regional localities, Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Since then, it has become a major suburban and intercity network, as well as the Brisbane terminal for long-distance and interstate trains. During WWII air raid shelters were constructed in the upper Parkland, formerly known as Albert Park. The American Army once occupied a purpose-built clubhouse in the area.

From 1884 to 1964, part of the area was reserved for the Brisbane Markets, where people bought fresh farm produce and live animals. Then, in the late 1960s, following the closure of the Brisbane Markets, the area was partially isolated from the general community and it was used as a goods yard by the local railway.

Free barbecuesThe relocation of rail freight facility to an outlying suburb, Acacia Ridge, in 1991 provided the opportunity to review the use of the site and in 1999, the Queensland Government announced plans to redevelop the area as new parkland for Brisbane.

Roma Street Parkland is open 24 hours, seven days a week except for Spectacle Garden, which opens from dawn until dusk. The Parklands website contains a wealth of information to help plan a visit

Brisbane is a beautiful city that is constantly changing and this makes each visit a new experience. The inner city offers visitors from within Queensland, interstate or overseas the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful sites that are within walking distance of the bus and rail transit centre located beside the Roma Street Parkland.

PlaytimeStart with a leisurely visit to the Roma Street Parkland and plan an itinerary that can include the city centre, numerous restaurants, the Botanic Gardens, over the Goodwill Bridge, Southbank, the State Library and Museum followed by a leisurely walk over the Victoria Bridge to return to Roma Street.

Brisbane is Australias third largest capital and the only sub tropic city. It has a number of beautifully landscaped parks, riverside walkways and bike paths, outdoor eateries, river adventures, rock climbs and abseiling, and even an artificial city beach. Brisbane city offers all this just a short walk from key shopping centres and transportation, which makes it easy to explore on foot.

So whether it is a lunch stop or a whole day to explore planned, mark Roma Street Parkland on the touring map it is an experience not to be missed.

Editor's Note: Cycle track works is limiting some parking around Roma St but the good news is that large vehicle parking isn't affected at all so Roma St can still welcome caravans and mobile homes to the Parkland.

Robyn Evans,Principal Marketing and Communications Consultant Works Division Department of Public Works told GoSeeAustralia -

While parking will be restricted in College Close, there is still ample parking along Parkland Boulevard and in the surrounding streets. Weekends may be a bit congested, especially as we are entering wedding season (we had six weddings booked for the first weekend of September!) but weekdays should be fine.

SinceGoSeeAustralia visited Roma St., last October,there aresome new additions:Gardenstaff planted Wollemi Pines in Spectacle Garden, and a grove of Cherry Trees hasbeen plantedin the Upper Parkland.

As you would be aware cherry trees aren't supposed to thrive in the subtropics but our Curator, Bob Dobbs, has found a few thriving in private gardens around Brisbane and has collected them for the Parkland, Robyn says.

We have also built a wedding pavilion, named for landscape architect Harry Oakman. Of course, most of our resources have been dedicated to coping with the drought. We have started using water from the lake to water the Parkland, spending considerable resources to install pumping mechanisms to allow this to happen.

At present we are still buying in water to supplement the lake, as the lake can't fall below certain levels without endangering the fish, but we are working on being completely serviced by recycled water by mid 2007. Some areas of the Parkland have had to be sacrificed to the drought, which has deeply saddened the gardeners, but the gardens are still receiving rapturous compliments from the visitors. Spectacle Garden is showing it's spring colour and looking great!

We have a couple of fun activities coming up for the September schools holidays. We are having a week of kids' gardening workshops (25-29 Sept), where groups of children aged 4-12 will help us to create a spring annuals display along the Albert Street walkbridge.

The display will be in place for most of October. On the 1st of October we are letting kids fish in the lake for a catch and release fishing clinic. It's the first time the public will be able to fish in the lake, so will be quite a big deal. The lake is stocked with silver perch and freshwater mullet and they are so big now we are using 20 pound line to make sure we don't end up with lines breaking off! Robyn said.

Gardening teamThere are two main road entrances to Roma St Parkland

Roma Street entrance driving towards the City on Roma Street, past the Transit Centre and Holiday Inn, turn left, drive through the roundabout, under the rail bridge and up the ramp. This brings you onto Parkland Boulevard. Park in the College Close carpark at the northern end of the parkland.

Wickham Terrace Gregory Terrace College Road intersection driving out of the City along Wickham Terrace, take a left hand turn before the intersection lights straight into the Parkland and drive down Parkland Boulevard. Park in the College Close carpark at the northern end of the parkland.

Relaxed cafeDriving into the city along College Road, there is no right turn into the Parkland Boulevard and alternative routes should be taken.

If travelling along Gregory Terrace, proceed directly through the intersection, onto Parkland Boulevard.

Big vehicles of coach-size park on the Lower Parkland Boulevard or in the College Close car park at the northern end of the Parkland.

There are 200 car parks within the Roma Street Parkland grounds and a further 2,000 in close proximity.

Disabled parking bays are located near The Lookout, at College Close carpark, on Parkland Boulevard near Melange caf and on the lower level opposite Queensland Railway Platform 10.

Tsunami memorialParking is free on weekends and on public holidays.

pay-and-display system operates weekdays between 7am and 5.30pm: purchase your ticket from the nearby parking meter and display the ticket on your car's dashboard.