Rockpools in the Broadwater Parklands at Southport are a great FREE fun thing for you and your toddler as the weather warms up.
The Rockpools water playground is definitely on the list of the top free things to do with your toddler on the Gold Coast. A visit to the parklands will only cost you the parking fee, which is charged at $2.40 per hour. Or if you are happy to walk across the Gold Coast Highway you can park at Australia Fair for 3 hours at no charge.
The Rockpool are a fantastically designed water playground inspired by the ebb and flow of the ocean. The design is ideal for small children including toddlers. It incorporates a flowing creek bed with a number of rockpools and dams for swimming and various sculptures, fountains and pop jets scattered throughout. There is a large waterfall at the top and ends at the bottom of the creek with a whirlpool that fills and empties.
If you have an eager explorer, you can sit on the sidelines and watch your toddler wade through the Rockpools and make their own discoveries. It is super safe with a lifeguard on duty during opening hours.
The Rockpools are surrounded by artificial turf, native trees and beach umbrella style shelters that create multiple shady spots for a picnic or rest after enjoying the delights of this magical water park. If you forget your packed picnic lunch there are several nearby food options to choose from like Shak Espresso, The Fish Shak and Cafe Catalina.
There is also an adventure playground with an attached picnic and bbq area right behind the Rockpools. You can see the playground behind the waterfall. We made a play stop to the playground on our way back to the carpark before heading home.
If you are still looking for more to do whilst visiting the Broadwater Parklands it is only a short walk to the jetty where you can ride the Hopo Gold Coast Ferry, or go swimming in the swimming lagoon or discover the Washington Waters Playground & Bouncy Pillow.
Fletcher loved the Rockpools and confidently started exploring everything there was to discover. Harper was a lot more hesitant. As we have just come out of winter she is not as accustomed to water play so needs to build her familiarity. I am sure with more visits she will be as confident as Fletcher.
We didn’t bring toys with us on our first visit but we will bring some plastic balls and buckets the next time we make our way to the Rockpools. Fletcher enjoyed racing some leaves and drink bottle lids from the top waterfall right down to the whirlpool so some coloured balls will add to this fun. Harper enjoyed playing with the small spurting fountains and I think she would also enjoy filling buckets with water.
The Broadwater Parklands at Southport have so much to offer. If your toddler is still having a daytime nap like mine there is too much to tackle all in one day. After a good play in the Rockpools, a picnic with a packed lunch and a play in the adjacent adventure playground we were already running late to get home for a nap.
We will be making several trips back to the Parklands to further investigate everything on offer. We will break up our visits to cover the following on each trip:
- Swimming Lagoon
- Washington Waters Playground & Bouncy Pillow
- Ferry ride on the Hopo Gold Coast Ferry
We look forward to letting you know more about these options so you can enjoy them for yourself.
What to pack (suggestions)
- Hats and Sunscreen
- Swimmers and Towel
- Snacks or Packed Lunch and Water Bottles
- Picnic Blanket
- Water toys and buckets
- Pram or Stroller if your toddler is not a strong walker