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A couple of years ago I sent Hubby, who was in Brisbane on a business trip, to the All Abilities Playground at Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. He was impressed and came back with loads of photos. On my recent trip to South Bank I had the pleasure of checking it out myself.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Garden
We caught the accessible ferry from South Bank to the City Botanic Garden

We took our little country cousins aged 8 and 4 and caught the ferry from South Bank to Riverside. The ferry is wheelchair accessible and a lovely way to get to the City Botanic Gardens. It’s a bit of a walk from Riverside Wharf but it was a pleasant level walk along the waterfront.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens

The All Abilities Playground is in such a beautiful location in the City Botanic Gardens with lovely level paths to explore the rest of the gardens and an oasis for families looking for a break from the busy city.

When the park opened a couple of years ago, Brisbane City Council described the park as follows,  “the new playground provides access for children in wheelchairs and includes a mix of equipment that is stimulating and interesting for all children.  It is supported by additional changes to the park infrastructure, including wider pathways to allow carers to walk alongside wheelchairs and upgraded toilet facilities with ceiling hoist for people with disabilities.”   

All abilities playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens – accessible carousel

Accessible carousels are one of the most popular features in accessible parks. They allow a wheelchair easy access (no step up to enter) and two spaces specifically for wheelchairs. Seating allows those that are unsteady on their feet somewhere to sit and also encourages social interaction with peers.

All Abilities playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
AJ pushing the country cousins

A nest swing makes it possible for a child to lie down or have a parent or sibling support them in the swing.  AJ, BJ and myself have all managed to sit in one of these comfortably.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens

It’s fantastic to see a digger in the sandpit positioned at the edge of the soft fall. This means a child in a wheelchair can use it without needing to go in the sand.  Sand and wheelchairs don’t mix!

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Drums at lower levels

Sensory panels are positioned around the park allowing for play from a wheelchair.  I can imagine BJ drumming up a din with the large bongo drums. It would somewhat disturb the peace and tranquility of the gardens.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Talking posts

For children who are visually impaired there are these press button talking robot-like posts.

Communication board at Brisbane Botanic Garden’s All Abilities Playground

Communication boards are a fantastic addition to parks.  I love the fact many accessible parks are installing these boards allowing for spontaneous communication for children who are non-verbal.  It also provides a fun environment to practice newly learnt skills for a child in the early stages of using a communication system.  For children visiting a park who do not have a disability it opens up the opportunity for a conversation between children and their parents, hopefully resulting in educating everyone that people communicate in different ways.  I think it would be great if these boards came with a short explanation at the top describing how these boards help people communicate.  It would assist parents in giving their children an informed answer to their ‘why’ questions. The communication board is positioned at the start of the playground area. Ideally this should be in the middle of the playground to allow kids and parents to refer to it more easily once playing. But, I’m just happy to see it.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Musical pipes

The large musical pipes were a hit.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens – harnessed swing

There’s no Liberty Swing (wheelchair swing) at this park but there’s a harness swing for those that can get out of their wheelchair.  These do provide more support than a general swing but I personally feel the Liberty Swing still has a place in playgrounds.  Children or teens who cannot get out of their wheelchairs can’t use the nest or harnessed swings.  I love the sensation of swinging and I don’t think much replaces that liberating feeling.  Just my opinion and I know many disagree.

All abilities playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
All abilities playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens – water and sand feature

Raised sand and water play features in parks are a welcome addition for children using a wheelchair.  The more there is for children to do while in their wheelchairs the more likely their parents will be able to take them to the playground, particularly as they get older. When BJ was younger and lighter we happily took him out of his chair and slid down slides, had him on our lap on swings and carried him around the park.  As he became heavier we avoided the park as there was little he could do in his wheelchair and getting him out of the chair was really hard work.


The paths which surround the playground provide easy access for wheelchair users and there’s plenty of areas to explore.

The playground is located in City Botanic Gardens, Albert Street, Brisbane.  For more information head to the Brisbane City Council’s website  


It’s lovely to see 3 accessible parking bays near the playground (at the Alice Street end of the gardens)

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic
Accessible parking spaces


The park has an abundance of accessible bathrooms near the playground.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane
Changing Places Toilet

There are two accessible stand-alone bathrooms and one Changing Places bathroom which has a hoist and adult size change table inside.

Hoist and adult-sized change table

A ceiling track allows visitors to transfer to the toilet which has a back rest and grab rails which can be lowered and locked into position.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane
A ceiling track allows the hoist to go to the toilet

Visitors are required to have their own sling and the bathroom facility is locked with a MLAK key (you will need to have your own key as the volunteer office above doesn’t have a key) to access the Changing Places facility.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane
Changing Places Bathroom Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

If you aren’t familiar with Changing Places you can read my review of one here.


Allow a bit of extra time after visiting the playground to have a wander and enjoy this beautiful spot.

All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Botantic Gardens


All Abilities Playground Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Brisbane Botanic Gardens

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  1. Shame it’s not fenced. As the mother of an ASD runner, it’s not all abilities in my eyes, as it doesn’t cater for him. Especially as the playground it right beside the Brisbane River!

    • Hi Angela, It amazes me how many playgrounds that are near roads or water that are still not fenced. It would be worth giving this feedback to council. I am sure you are not the only parent feeling this way. Julie

  2. So amazing we live in Gisborne, New Zealand beautiful beaches and parks but nothing as inclusive as this. Might have to visit the park one day with our son Aihe Te Ra

    • We have some lovely accessible and inclusive parks in Australia now Tania. Hopefully the idea will just keep spreading and make it to NZ soon. Julie


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