One of Brisbane’s oldest, largest and – without a doubt – prettiest parks, New Farm Park is one of Brisbane’s most iconic attractions. Every week, people from all around the world come to visit this beautiful place – whether it’s to have a picnic, get married, relax under a tree, admire the park’s many roses or dine by the river. The park offers much to do, but to get you started, here are just 7 great New Farm Park activities for you to try.
Have a New Farm Park Picnic
Every time I go to New Farm Park, I see dozens of picnics taking place in various corners. People have even gone into business providing for more elaborate picnics, such as Lady Brisbane. Picnics are a big thing in New Farm Park! It’s no wonder too, as there’s so much inviting grass, shade and vistas that would turn the head of even the most disinterested person.
Of course I’ve been on numerous picnics in New Farm Park over the years, with friends and family. The best part is there’s a variety of spots – such as alongside the river – and bicycle/scooter paths and wide open spaces make for great child supervision. There are also plenty of facilities in New Farm Park too, such as BBQs, tables, chairs and importantly for me, posts to tie your dog up! Basically, a picnic with friends, family or even solo is one of the must-do New Farm Park activities if you’re in town.
Explore New Farm Park River Hub
A relatively new addition to the park is the New Farm Park River Hub, and a good one it is too. Besides giving visitors another place to explore, fish and admire the river from, the New Farm Park River Hub lets you moor kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. This is in the recreational section, whereas further out towards the river one can moor tour boats, and a taxi pick-up and drop-off point is coming soon.
The river hub is also a great place to explore at sunset and see the magic of the Brisbane River up close. The parkland right across from the river hub is also a great spot to sit and relax and you can quite easily transition between the two places, particularly if you’ve got kids that need entertaining.
New Farm Park Activities – Relax at Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen
If you’re visiting New Farm Park, you have to try Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen, at least once! Admittedly, I’ve only been there twice in the dozens of times I’ve visited New Farm Park, but it’s definitely worth it. For starters, the place is well designed to soak-up the surrounding environment, having an alfresco dining area with views over the river and the park.
Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen is also dog friendly and the large outdoor seating area at this New Farm Park Restaurant is a great place to slurp on a beer, or a wine, on a sunny day!
Smell The New Farm Park Roses
Visitors mightn’t be aware of this (I wasn’t until closer investigation), but the New Farm Park roses form a large part of the park’s history. Additionally, the park contains over 2,500 roses of various colours and varieties. It all started in 1914 when the park began with 800 roses and in the 1940s, head gardener at New Farm Park Harry Oakman organised the flower beds into sections of variety and colour to better educate visitors.
The 1974 Brisbane floods hampered the roses severely, although in 1976, the council installed a large stormwater drain in the park and the roses have been flourishing ever since. I encountered rose varieties such as ‘gold medal’, ‘winter sun’ and ‘tequila sunrise’, amongst many others. So if you’re a flower or rose lover, make sure to take a look at the New Farm Park roses.
Visit Jan Powers Farmers Markets
Jan Powers Farmers Markets, which are situated next to New Farm Dog Park and Brisbane Powerhouse, are also well worth checking out. One of Brisbane’s biggest markets in a great setting, Jan Powers Farmers Markets are open every Saturday. I’ve been here about half a dozen times since I’ve lived in Brisbane and this is one of the prettiest and liveliest places to stroll about, indulge and investigate.
There’s also a great variety of gourmet goodies on sale here too. The food here is excellent and varied, as the markets’ mission is to advocate for regional produce and connect consumers with ‘paddock to plate’ food. The markets were started in the 1990s and are going strong today. Jan Powers Farmers Markets can also be found in Manly and Mitchelton, although as I’ve only been to these ones, I can tell you there’s also a wide variety of handmade products on sale here.
It’s also a great place to shop and pick up a present. I plan to return here shortly and do a more detailed post on the markets.
Explore New Farm Park Playground
Even though my boy’s now almost thirteen, he still loves coming to New Farm Park Playground. In fact, he’s been coming here for the last seven years fairly consistently, which means we have too. It’s a large, thoughtfully designed park that’s a mecca for families on the weekend, but there still seems to be room enough for everyone. Built back in 1955, the playground has been updated many times, and today it’s quite the adventure!
It’s also thoughtfully designed too, as the treehouse has platforms that wind their way between the banyan fig trees which surround the place. There are also balancing beams, slides, ladders, swings, interactive sections and good places to hide if you’re in the mood for a classic game of hide and seek. In all, it’s an excellent place to improve a child’s agility/coordination while immersing them in nature. There’s also a soft ground to cushion impacts and a regular coffee and ice cream cart out front.
Visit New Farm Dog Park
Of course this is one of the most essential New Farm Park activities if you have a dog and want to include the whole family. Well, this is me and I often bring Cookie here. The dog park is actually a short walk from New Farm Park, near Brisbane Powerhouse – which is something else you’ll want to check out. The dog park is shaded, has a section for smaller dogs and is situated right by the river.
Facilities at this canine playground include dog water bowls, poo bins, night lighting, shelter, drinking fountains and seating. It’s a decent size, being almost 4,000 square metres and it’s also close to Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen. So New Farm Park is definitely a place where you can make a day of it and make everyone happy!
Check out my video below.
- New Farm Park parking gets pretty busy these days, at any time, but especially on the weekend. Just be patient and you’ll be able to get a spot pretty quickly.
- As I mentioned briefly, Brisbane Powerhouse is something else you’ll want to check out, as it’s right next to New Farm Park. I’ll cover this in a future post in more detail.
- Exploring the park just last Saturday, I saw no less than four weddings in New Farm Park. Four! It’s no wonder, as it’s such a beautiful spot and there’s lots of space to accommodate for a pleasant, outdoor celebration of life. A popular thing to do is hire the New Farm Park Rotunda, which is over 100 years old. Additionally, there are trellises throughout the park, which make for a most excellent wedding backdrop.
What about you? Are there any New Farm Park activities you enjoy that I’ve missed?