One of the largest of its kind in Brisbane, Victoria Park Mini Golf is a course we’ve tried before, but not for some time. My son typically enjoys putt putt and as Victoria Park puts on theme courses throughout certain times of the year, we decided – as Halloween was fast approaching – to try Spooky Putt Putt. Gouls, golf and a couple of drinks sounded pretty good to me!
We’d booked a 7pm slot as we just didn’t think Halloween putt putt golf would have the same feel during the day. Additionally, Victoria Park offers views over the city at night. There were a few parking spots (which there often aren’t), although when we arrived at the first hole, we encountered a lot of people and queues. This was to set the pace for our night (patience was required), as this place certainly gets popular.
The Atmosphere – Victoria Park Mini Golf
Busy, is the first word that comes to mind. Although when we walked over to our first hole, Spooky Putt Putt was certainly eye-catching. Although not in the spooky, goul-infested way I was expecting, as it had more of the kid’s carnival, Alice in Wonderland, neon carnival vibe. I get it, it’s kid-friendly after all, but it just didn’t feel spooky.
Saying that, it might to some, as there were glowing skeletons, graveyard signs, the classic jack-o-lanterns and skeletons hanging from trees covered in spider webs. I think it was the lighting that created the levity, as there were trees lit up every few metres in garish colours. Upon seeing this, I think Victoria Park Mini Golf would put on an excellent Christmas course, as it would provide suitable lighting for putters while keeping in theme. Let me know if you’ve experienced Christmas putt putt!
Spooky Putt Putt – Our Experience
The tone was certainly set for the evening when we saw how long we had to wait. Additionally, there was a family in front of us and the adults stood on the course talking after they had finished, oblivious – it seemed – to the fact that other people were waiting to play. This annoyed me a little at first and I politely asked them to move. However, I soon realised (by the next hole) that patience would be required tonight and I got myself into ‘chill mode’. I had to surrender.
In the first few holes, we were at a section called Broken Bones Boulevard, as a sign will tell you. Thankfully we didn’t see any broken bones, but we almost saw a few blackeyes and concussions, as some kids were really smashing the ball. Broken Bones Boulevard had a few cool, neon skeletons in coffins, skeletons – as I’ve mentioned – hanging from trees covered in webs and there were toxic barrels of ooze that looked more like they suited the Grinch than Halloween (they were bright green).
In all, the Victoria Park Mini Golf Course is big, as the holes aren’t too short and there are 18 holes. It’s much bigger than our recent experience at Holey Moley in the city. However, unlike Holey Moley, this place has a distinct lack of obstacles. There just weren’t many places to hit the ball into (other than the hole) or around, or up, or anything remotely quirky and imaginative like that. Spooky Putt Putt consisted of ‘decorations’ around the course and lots of waiting and trying to sit in places where there weren’t enough seats.
In the first nine holes, we did encounter a water trap and a few slopes, but nothing else particularly challenging. I’d say here the toughest part is making sure your ball doesn’t end up in the drink! The back nine holes are accessed via a bridge, which contains nice views over the city. Take a look at my video at the end for a better idea.
After walking over the bridge, Victoria Park Mini Golf ramps it up a tad as you enter Carn-Evil. I got chatting to the couple behind us here. They were a little older than me and they love coming to all the themes at Victoria Park Mini Golf. This was their 3rd session at Spooky Putt Putt! However, the guy did mention to me that there are usually some people hiding in the trees who scare you, but they were notably absent this time around. Boo-hoo!
The Carn-Evil area does have a menacing-looking clown that actually is a tad spooky. There’s also a hole with a swinging pole (which is always there, regardless of the theme) here too. However, the further we got into the course, the longer we seemed to wait and by the end of it all I just wanted to bail. I’d had enough! Additionally, my son was becoming really restless – hitting me with his club and bashing the trees and showering the course with debris.
Food, Drinks & Service
One cool thing about Victoria Park Mini Golf is that you can order drinks and snacks as you play at each hole via the QR codes (which there are at every hole). As there were long wait times on this night, I thought hell yeah and ordered a couple of drinks (we’d had dinner before we arrived).
I ordered a Balter XPA and later a Jack Daniels and Coke. All drinks come in a can for the safety of putters. One thing I was bummed I missed out on, is that you can buy boo-zey slushies at Spooky Putt Putt, which are slushies with tequila. Maybe I’ll grab some eggnog if I make it back for the Christmas theme.
One thing I was impressed with, however, was the service. I ordered my JD and coke and it arrived before I’d barely finished putting my credit card details in. This guy was The Flash! As for the food options at Victoria Park Mini Golf, you can buy light snacks. If you want a full meal, eat at Victoria Park Bistro before or after. See my section on the bistro below.
Other Kid & Family-Friendly Activities
Kids can also enjoy the neighbouring playground, which contained a slippery dip, tree house and a play area the last time I visited. However, it’s currently closed for renovations.
Adjacent to the playground is a large grassy area which has a jumping castle and outdoor games on the weekends. Kids also play on this area at night, but best supervise the little ones.
Driving Range and Old Golf Course
Also nearby is Victoria Park’s old 18-hole golf course, which is now relegated to public land use and is a great place to frolic and walk the dog! Brisbane City Council also regularly puts on free events here with food trucks, live music and kid’s activities, known as Park Vibes. I haven’t yet been to the driving range but after seeing it from Spooky Putt Putt the other night, the field was littered with balls and it was packed. Evidently it’s a popular driving range!
Victoria Park Bar & Bistro
Victoria Park Bar & Bistro is a good family option as the atmosphere is great, it’s very casual and the food has generally been good in my experience. It’s also a convenient spot for families given all the family-friendly options nearby. We’ve been coming here for a few years, although our recent return was more than a little disappointing for us. You can read about that here.
My Thoughts Overall
I’d say in all, the wait times, neon lights and lack of obstacles rendered our Spooky Putt Putt experience lacklustre for me. Olin enjoyed it a little more, but the wait times were too much for him too. I’ve always been (and I still like to think of myself as) a big kid, although maybe I’m just getting too old and grumpy for putt putt! Saying that, I enjoyed our experience at Holey Moley.
A positive, however, was the service, as unlike the neighbouring bistro (where the service is particularly bad), the young lads on deck here were speedy and friendly.
I’d say give it a shot (no pun intended), but maybe go mid-week or at Christmas time, when the crowds would be thinner, or the course is more suited to its garish display with Santa decorations.
A Few Fast Facts (and a tip)
- Victoria Park Mini Golf is located right next to Victoria Park Bistro and its golf driving range, in Herston. Herston has a bus station, which is about 10 minute’s walk from the course.
- Victoria Park Mini Golf is open from 6am – 10pm Wednesday to Monday, and 7pm to 10pm on Tuesdays.
- Victoria Park Mini Golf is available for kid’s parties. Check out their website for more info.
- There are putt putt-themed events on throughout the year, at Easter, Christmas and Halloween (Spooky Putt Putt).
- There is plenty of on-site parking available.
- The 18-hole course typically takes about an hour to get through, although we took two hours with the longer wait times.
- You can play in the rain if you wish!
- Victoria Park Mini Golf offers no refunds.
- Tip – nighttime is a great time to play putt putt here, as the views over the city are much nicer and the course is more atmospheric. It’s also much cooler to play at night in Brisbane’s sweat pit!