A beach, a fenced playground, park with plenty of space for a picnic, calm sheltered Broadwater for a wade, paddle or swim and daily pelican feeding Ian Dipple Lagoon and Harley Park Labrador is ideal for a family outing with toddlers and small children.
For many locals Harley Park would be considered one of the best on the Gold Coast especially those with toddlers or small children.
There are actually two shaded playgrounds, one with a nautical-themed ship playground to the south, and a climbing-inspired playground with poles, ropes, ladders and a flying fox to the north. We have not made it to the northern playground as we have found enough to entertain us on the southern end of the park.
I think on our next visit we will include a walk along the wide footpaths and discover the entire park as we also take in the views of the Broadwater. For those looking for a scenic pram walk this is a good spot with great flat paths with lots to look at.
Aside from the playgrounds, Harley Park features lots of green space, heaps of shaded picnic tables as well as plenty of BBQ facilities. If all the tables are taken bring along a picnic blanket and bags a spot under a shady tree.
For those that like a spot of fishing, the area also has access to a boat ramp and fishing spots.
Ian Dipple Lagoon
Pack your swimming gear, Ian Dipple Lagoon in Harley Park is one of the best kid friendly beaches on the Gold Coast. The lagoon is surrounded by a natural sandbank which makes the swimming water flat and calm – perfect for toddlers and small children to wade, paddle and swim. The surrounding beach has several shade covers, some cute rowing boats and is ideal for making sandcastles or playing with diggers near the water’s edge. The lagoon is even flood lit in the evenings.
Charis Seafood and the Daily Pelican Feeding
Charis Seafood was established in 1993. This family owned business is a Gold Coast icon renowned for its pelican feeding (1:30pm daily) and the best variety and quality seafood available on the Gold Coast.
Located within Harley Park right near Ian Dipple Lagoon, Charis Seafood provides a family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy your fish and chips by the Broadwater while the kids play in the park or swim in the lagoon!
If you want to see one of the Charis Seafood staff feeding the Pelicans head to the picnic tables outside Charis Seafood near the Lagoon a bit before 1.30pm to get a good viewing spot.
To save you searching, the closest public toilets to the Lagoon and Playground are at the far end of the Charis Seafood building.
Big Groups and Birthday Parties
Ian Dipple Lagoon and Harley Park Labrador would be great a spot for a big group outdoor gathering or kids birthday party. You will need to get in early to secure a good spot though.
To be honest, I only found out the name of the lagoon and park when putting together information on this article. Previously, I just knew it as the great place for kids in Labrador with the calm swimming beach with the nearby playground all near Charis Seafood where they feed the pelicans.
We have been to Ian Dipple Lagoon and Harley Park several times usually over the Christmas holidays. Now my two are getting bigger I think we will visit a lot more during the hot spring and summer months.
Our latest visit was on New Year’s Day. With two toddlers, New Year’s Eve is not a late night for us! Which is a great for a visit to Marine Parade in Labrador. If you get there early it is a lot easier to get a car park and a good spot near the playground and lagoon. We arrived before 9am and did get a good carpark and it was already busy with families already set-up with and without their own marquees for a full day out at the Broadwater in Labrador!
As it is such a popular spot I would recommend bringing your own picnic blanket, beach shelter, marquee etc. if you are planning to stay for a couple of hours because you may not be able to secure a sun sheltered spot. On a side note, I got a beach wagon for Christmas and it is awesome! I have already used it for several toddler outings to parks, playgrounds and beaches and I know it will get much more use.
It is easy to spend several hours here swimming, playing in the sand and having a picnic. Add in a walk along the water and watching the pelican feeding and you could easily spend the day.
If you are looking for a spot for some swimming or water play this summer, add Ian Dipple Lagoon and Harley Park Labrador to your must do list.
What to pack (suggestions)
- Hats and Sunscreen
- Water Bottles
- Snacks and/or Packed Picnic or BBQ lunch (or visit nearby Charis Seafood)
- Beach cart or wagon if you have one
- Buckets, spades and other sand toys
- Swimming gear and towels
- Picnic blanket
- Beach shelter, umbrella or marquee if you are planning a longer stay
- Ride on trike and bikes and/or prams if you want to include a walk with your visit