The Broadwater Parklands is a talented and slick upgrade to the Broadwater foreshore. The Parklands cover an immense area of three kilometres, and it would be hard to cover everything offered in one day, and it depends on your interests, what season it is and what events are on. It is so large it has been split into three precincts; north, central and south, to help you get around. It is helpful to have a map of the park, here an interactive map of the Broadwater Parklands.
Most of what will interest families is located primarily in the Central Precinct, and to a lesser degree, the Southern Precinct. In the Northern Precinct the main feature attracting families would be the Southport Aquatic Centre.
The children’s playgrounds are centred in two locations. The pick of the playgrounds are the new Rockpools and the new playground just next to the Rockpools. To get to this area, enter the main entrance area, of the main car park, and follow the signs to your left. The Rockpools are just north of The Pier. The Rockpools are a super cool water splash park with meandering rockpools, carved shallow rapids, and shallow swimming areas to splash in.
The rockpool edges are made of giant boulders, curved concrete seating, and gentle slopes. At the back of The Rockpools is a water dumping machine like a giant tap, which constantly has water overflowing from it, which builds to a peak and provides a big dump of water which flows down the stream. In front of this area are multiple jets shooting up into the air, with alternating splash patterns. Water jets are spread throughout The Rockpools. In the stream and side pools you will find cheery artistic water sculptures to play with and sit on including water dogs and pigs, fantasy creatures, molluscs and sea inspired shapes. The Rockpools are incredibly relaxing, and also sheer fun. The Rockpools are stated to be wheelchair accessible.
The Rockpools are open from 7am - 7pm from December to March, and from 9am - 5pm from April to November.
The space age looking playground tucked behind the water tap and Rockpools, has a giant climbing matrix web, a medium platform you enter and exit via parallel bars or a rubber climbing grid. This is connected by a precarious rubber rope bridge to a decently high platform with a twisting rockpool looking slide, twisted climbing arch, rock climbing wall, and two cradle swings underneath. Also in the playground is a see saw and an abstract shaped stage with different levels, which would be great to play with and also to warm the heart of children who love to get up on stage. There are barbecue areas next to the playground overlooking the Broadwater.
To the right of The Rockpool is The Pier; a stylish set up with a lower and upper side, and abundant seating along its length to sit down and take in the panoramic views of iconic Surfer’s Paradise and the Broadwater. The Pier is wheelchair accessible.
Heading back, looking away from the water, you will be able to see the Great Lawn; an expanse of grass with a large stage for staging events, movies and concerts, and The Rockpools Café where you can grab a bite to eat and use the ultra-clean bathrooms. If you take the pathway along the foreshore you will go past the stage (The Porch). To your right will be the Little Lawn and more barbecue areas. It’s good to be aware of the Parklands policy regarding barbecue areas; you can only book them for two hours at a time.
On the Marine Parade side of the Little Lawn is a small wetland area (Urban Wetlands). There are boardwalks through the small wetlands, and the pathway to the Rockpool Café, from there, has sound tubes which simulate wetland noises and flash light diplays as you walk past. Back on the foreshore path, walking south, you will see Pandanus Point to your left which has small wooden beach shack shelters.
Further south, to the left, you will see the Swimming Enclosure, and then come across an area with barbecues, bathroom, some great coloured decking day beds (including a double bed) and the start of another children’s playground. The Swimming Enclosure has a pontoon, and also some flooring laid down which makes part of the beach wheelchair accessible. There is a pontoon on the other side of the Swimming Enclosure to swim out to. The children’s playground that starts here is more like three different playgrounds. The first has a web nest swing, a see-saw you stand on, a sculpted see saw, and a large spinning compass ride, where you sit on tyre swings and spin fast with a partner opposite you.
The next playground is marked by a bike monorail system, and has a spinning pole, slide, swings, a boat structure, a spring rocker, see saw and flying fox. The third playground in the area is a pre-existing one with a Liberty Swing, the GCCC Junior Bicycle Track and a set of three swinging horse like rides. There is on street parking in this area along Marine Parade, if you wish to access the Liberty Swing directly (you can see it from the road).
If you keep heading south along the Broadwater you will come to The Hill, and it’s worth checking out the giant sculptures of a girl (Maddie) and her bear (Bear). Children are often fascinated with these larger than life figures. Past The Hill is wide open space and if you want to play football or team sports, you will need to come here, as they aren’t allowed on the Great Lawn further north.
The Broadwater Parklands is definitely a place you could spend a great day at; swimming, playing, having a barbeque, playing ball, tumbling down a hill and splashing at The Rockpools.
This area provides a number of facilities that makes this park and surrounding area wheelchair friendly. There is a number of disabled toilets and showers which can be found in various spots around the park. The bathroom facilities also offer a changing bench.
Some of the picnic tables are wheelchair friendly, such as one in the barbecue area near the Little Lawn.
Most of the picnic tables have not been specifically designed for people with wheelchairs, however there is enough room on the concrete on some for a wheelchair to fit at an end of the table, although not comfortably.
There is a Liberty Swing. The location is noted in the park review following this table. To get the key for the Liberty Swing you ring Parklands Security on 0409 580 243.There is also play equipment at the right height, and it appears the rockpools are accessible with access slopes into the water.
There is on street parking for Broadwater Parklands on Marine Parade, opposite Australia Fair. There is also an off street carpark to the right of the Southport Aquatic Centre on Marine Parade.There are six small disabled parks in the off street carpark and three medium size disabled parks on Marine Parade, on street parking, in front of the Liberty Swing, at the southern end of the park.