7 awesome free swimming pools and water parks

Summer is here in a BIG way. The days can be hot, sticky and there is only so much air conditioning in the world.

Don’t worry. Grab a towel, some sunscreen and relax because here’s a list of the best free lagoons, pools and water parks to chill you out.

Cairns Lagoon

Want to go to the markets? Want to watch live music? Want to go for a swim? Just hit the Esplanade in Cairns.

The free lagoon has timber decks that attract local musicians and every Saturday the Cottage Industry Markets pop up. There’s also a skate park, beach volleyball courts and a heap of playgrounds.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Airlie Beach lagoon

Airlie Beach is at the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef and is so full of things to do your days will be busy. But when it comes to cooling off, the Airlie Beach Lagoon is conveniently right in the middle of town and is stinger free!

It’s not just fun for kids, either. If you’re keen and like to keep fit, it has designated swimming lanes. This is the spot everyone naturally gravitates to, whether they’re chilling in the water, cooking up a barbecue nearby, or sitting in a lagoon-front cafe. Looks like you’ll need a few more days off.

Bluewater Lagoon, Mackay

Bluewater Lagoon Mackay

How does one swimming lagoon sound? How about two? Well forget that because Mackay has a THREE-TIERED lagoon. There is a play area for the kids and a pretty awesome drop-bucket area – both watched by lifeguards.

There’s also a waterfall that connects the two main pools and a 19-metre long waterslide. Hello summer!

Settlement Cove Lagoon, Redcliffe

The lagoon at Redcliffe sits right off the beach and is shallow enough for children of all ages. While the kids are splashing about, run down to the beach and chuck a sneaky line in the water. The BBQ’s are clean, so there’s no excuse to come back empty handed.

There’s also a man-made rocky stream for you to lounge your worries away in if the fishing doesn’t go so well.

Streets Beach, South Bank

South Bank Beach

Brisbane is the only city in the world with a man-made beach right in the middle of it. How convenient!

The beach at South Bank is massive, but don’t be fooled. Get here early because it fills up with people from all over the world. For good reason too – there are markets, pubs, a giant ferris wheel, the Gallery Of Modern Art and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, so there’s always something interesting happening and most importantly, there’s plenty of cool water to beat the Queensland heat. Lifeguards are on duty during the day and there are more than enough places to treat that someone special to a beach picnic.

WetSide Water Education Park, Hervey Bay

Don’t let the word education fool you, the WetSide Water Education Park in Pialba is fun. Oh, and usually water parks cost money but this one is free!

The education part comes from interactive displays around the water park which teach you how stormwater is treated on site to help supply the fountains and heaps of info about the importance of water. Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent so it’s worth a read.

If your kids are feeling adventurous, they can even surf in the park. There are two pumps that push 6000 litres of water per second to make an endless wave.

Kings Beach Pool, Caloundra

Kings Beach Pool Caloundra

Kings Beach in Caloundra is the hub of everything great. Seriously, the beach here is amazing for surfers, fishermen and beach lovers alike. There’s even a purpose built shaded area for the beach.

The pool is a highlight within a place full of highlights. It’s filled by the ocean water and has a 25-metre lap pool, children’s swimming pool and wading area with disabled access. And when the tide goes out, you can take the kids down to the rock pools to have a little game of “What’s that squishy thing? Will it bite me?”.

Have we missed any? Which outdoor pools and lagoons do you like best?