A pleasant little ferry ride across the Brisbane River from Eagle Street lands in Captain Burke Park, a green and shady spot in the shadow of Story Bridge. It even has its own beach, of sorts.
The old blue shed that once announced Holman Street still stands on the bank, even if the official ferry terminal is much grander these days.
The free City Hopper runs the route every 30 minutes and there’s also a cross-river ferry.
A paved walk, with seats to stop and admire the view, follows the river right around the tip of Kangaroo Point; or venture across the grass to sit under the spreading figs and enjoy the river breeze.
There are fabulous views back to the city towers on one side and Story Bridge looms on the other.
And while it is only five minutes across the water, it is serene and green and feels a long way from the hurly burly.
In December, a big old mango tree is dripping with fruit, but you’d have to get in early to beat the fruit bats who have left the remnants of their feast at its base.
A set of steps leads down to a ribbon of sand where the brave can paddle in the river and wander to the mangroves.
Story Bridge towers above the big old figs and an avenue of trees runs between its two huge pylons.
As well as a maritime-themed kids’ playground, there is a tall sculpture crafted by Stephen Killick. Called The Rock, it was stationed outside the Australia Pavilion during Expo 88.
A more recent arrival, is a brilliant mural by Mark Makhoul which brightens the back wall of the new toilet block.
The park is named for Captain John Burke, an Irishman, who arrived in Brisbane in August 1862.
He was working on the Erin-Go-Bragh, a ship chartered to bring Irish emigrants to Australia. He left on arrival to join the Australia Steam Navigation Company as a deckhand.
He earned his Master’s Licence and worked on river ships on the Logan and Albert Rivers, and with his crew saved more than 50 lives during the Logan flood of January 1887.
Later that year, he established the John Burke Shipping Line and by the time he died in 1919 had 19 ships. He is buried in the Toowong Cemetery.
The company was taken over by his son and then his grandson who sold it in 1968.