We were directed to the Metroplex in Brisbane by some local birders, to be honest, the idea of heading into a light commercial area to see birds and other wildlife didn’t sound overly promising but I was impressed.
The Metroplex on Gateway is a master-planned business and light industrial park on Brisbane’s south side. What is special about it is the substantial area that’s been set aside for worker and community recreation. Substantial wetland areas are located in the middle, bordered by a park on the edge of the Brisbane river, shared pathways and a backdrop of the Gateway Bridge that you can walk under and alongside.
I’ve only made my way out here on the weekend when it’s all but deserted but it never fails to surprise me with its bird and wildlife in the midst of a light industrial area. Birders particularly want to add this to their list for an early Sunday walk, the park on the riverside regularly reveals all three local fairy-wrens, kingfishers, grassbirds, finch and quail. The wetlands are good for waders in season, ducks and it’s one of the few spots in the area where you’re almost certain to see a flock of Magpie Geese.
It’s also a great spot for walkers with paths through the park, riverside, port area and if you feel like challenging your calves, up and over the Gateway Bridge pedestrian path.
A bit of history
The Brisbane River was lined with industry in the early 1900s and the Queensport area under and to the east of the Gateway Bridges where Queensport Rocks Park stands today was a meatpacking plant a century before.
It was also the site of an innovative venture is 1892 when it became home to Queensland first theme park including the Queensport aquarium, a small zoo, concert hall and fairground. It was popular for a time with paddle steamers ferrying passengers from Custom House Wharf but its success didn’t last. The resort was seriously hit by a storm in 1892 damaging the fairground and zoo, then the 1893 floods destroyed the aquarium. The venue never returned to its heyday and in 1897 it was mostly sold off and closed.
It’s promising to see again, over 100 years later, the successful blending of commerce, employment and recreation into the space on the edge of the Brisbane River.
Getting to the Metroplex
The Metroplex area is located in Murarrie close to the Gateway Motorway, between Cannon Hill and the Brisbane River. There are picnic facilities on site but no public restrooms.