We have driven past the Roma Street Parklands many times in the last few years, we have even successfully used it as a shortcut when making deliveries in the Brisbane inner city area. We thought that it was time for us to spend a little time in this wonderful inner city parkland. Some people would almost consider this the “forgotten” parkland, being somewhat overshadowed by the amazing beach and swimming area of Southbank Parklands on the other side of the Brisbane River.
Beth does still at times have some amazement at the fact that wonderful areas such as these are free to visit here in Australia. In the Philippines this type of area would not be built by the local councils, they would be built by a company that would charge admission costs. I s’pose that we do actually pay for these areas in the taxes that we pay to all of our different levels of government. The size of this area is actually quite large for a inner city parkland. It measures 16 Hectares (or about 40 acres in the old style measurement)
A little bit of history of the area first. The area was originally the main rail freight handling area for Roma Street Station. During World War 2 the area was the main freight terminal for all freight and troops that were bound for the Northern parts of the country, and then overseas. After the war years the complex grew substantially. It was then discovered that the limitations of the site had been reached, the level usable areas of the site were no longer large enough to accommodate the volume of freight that was needed to transit through the area. The rail freight depot was then relocated to another area of the city, leaving this area open to redevelopment. The redevelopment began in the year 2000.
The current parklands area is between the Roma Street Station and Albert Park Amphitheatre, with the multi floored apartment complex along the boundary to the station. With the Roma Street Station so close, transport to the parkland is not an issue at all. There is car parking available, however it is limited and it does cost. A word of warning, the parking inspectors are very vigilant in this area. The cost is quite steep at about $14 for three hours, still that’s cheaper than a similar time frame for Southbank Parklands. As the area is so very close to the Roma Street Transit Centre, there is also access via the council Bus.
As I previously mentioned, we have been through and past these parklands many times in the last couple of years. It is very high on our list of accessible areas (hey, we are usually in a large truck, so ease of accessibility is important) where we can have a quick comfort stop. So yes, there are plenty of toilets available. Speaking of some of the facilities, there are also quite a few BBQ areas with free electric BBQ’s available for use. There are also quite a few different areas for kids to play if you have the little ones with you. I could imagine sitting here and having a BBQ with a few close friends. It would be very nice, especially as would be a little more relaxed than the hectic pace of noise of Southbank Parklands
As for the gardens themselves, they are fantastic. There are many varieties of flowering and non-flowering plants growing (thriving) within the parklands. I’m not going to try to name them as I’m no expert, I just know that they are very pretty. Apparently the area is highly rated by the gardening organisations of Australia, and there was someone saying that it is in the top five gardens in this country. I just know that it is a very pleasing area to while away a little bit of time. There are quite a few water features, and they are beautifully lit in the evening. There is a cafe located within the parklands. We didn’t sample anything from the café as it was closed when we visited. A quick look in the window at the pics of the food (certainly looks appealing) says that it might be worth a return visit during business hours. A quick google search gives positive results, so a return is certainly not out of the question, if only to sample a coffee.
We wandered around for some time, admiring the gardens and the water features. I looked across at the apartment building and thought that it would possibly be a very nice place to live (walking outside and into a parkland), but the residents would be paying a very high premium for the location. Still, as a location it would be a great area to live, especially if your job was within the inner city. I have not yet had a big win in the lotto, so we just visit the parklands on the train or the bus. Unfortunately it was not until later we became aware that dogs are welcome in the parklands, so that is why we left Buster the Dog at home for our little expedition to the Roma Street Parklands.