With the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim hugging its borders, Ipswich is surrounded by diverse landscapes, from sprawling countryside to peaks reaching 679m above sea level.
There’s no shortage of multi-purpose trails or waterways to explore by horse, bike, foot or boat, and all within 30 minutes of the CBD.
Clear your schedule, we’ve got you covered with this outdoor adventure guide to Ipswich and surrounds.
1. Take the reins along Flinders Goolman Horse Trail
Got horse? Can ride.
Just 16km from the CBD, Flinders Goolman Conservation Reserve is a filly-friendly playground, with three dedicated trails to choose from.
For a warm up, hoof it to the Goolman Horse Trail, a 9km circuit that skirts the base of the Rocky Knoll before heading to Goolman Lookout.
If you’ve still got some horsepower left in the tank, head 5km down the road to Flinders Plum Picnic Area and trot onto the Mt Blaine Hiking Track to immerse yourself in Spotted Gum and Ironbark forest.
From the saddle, keep your eyes peeled for sightings such as koalas, wallabies and red-tailed black cockatoos.
With the Teviot Range skirting the borders of Ipswich, it’s no surprise this city’s got a peak or two to climb.
Start with Flinders Peak, which reaches 679m above sea-level. This trail is rated as the hardest climb (Grade 5) on the Ipswich hiking circuit and promises to put your navigation skills to the test.
The reward for quad-burning scaling? Million dollar views across the Fassifern Valley and Lamington Plateau.
3. Go for a paddle at Colleges Crossing
Grab an oar and explore Ipswich’s water playground, Colleges Crossing.
On the banks of the Brisbane River, Colleges (as it’s known by the locals) is the perfect spot to launch your canoe.
Downstream will take you to the junction of the Brisbane and Bremer River at Barellan Point (14km) or upstream towards Wivenhoe Dam.
If you don’t want to venture too far, there’s plenty of water to have a leisurely paddle in the safety of the crossing.
4. Go for a walk to ‘The Rock’
Head to “The Rock”, just 20 mins from Ipswich CBD, where you’ll find a bevy of trails ranging from 200m to 19km within the White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate.
For an Instagrammable moment, you’ll have to walk 3km (6.5km round trip) on the White Rock Trail to reach the base of the rock.
The trail starts at Paperbark Flats Picnic Area, at the end of School Road at Redbank Plains and crosses over the multi-purpose track before winding down the single trail.
After you’ve grabbed a snap for Instagram, continue along White Rock Ridge Track (WRRT) to the ridge for uninterrupted views towards Springfield and Brisbane.
5. Go kayak fishing
Take your fishing to the next level and cast your line while floating upstream at Kholo Gardens.
A short, 12 minute drive from the CBD, Kholo has a dedicated access point to launch your kayak at the bridge. Put your water-based fishing skills to the test and see if you can lure one of the waterway’s locals – bream, perch or bass.
If you prefer to stick to dry land, you can still cast your line on the banks of the river. Otherwise check out our other fishing-friendly locations here.
If you choose to try kayak fishing, make sure you only venture upstream, as downstream towards Mt Crosby Weir is a green zone and fishing is prohibited.
Tip: Those in the know recommend using shallow 50/70mm diving lures and surface lures in the morning or afternoon for Bass.
6. Throw down the picnic blanket at Kholo Gardens
Don’t venture too far from your fishing spot after packing away the rod and reels.
Spanning across 40 hectares, Kholo Gardens is the perfect spot to claim a patch of grass, throw down your blanket and unwind with a picnic.
Just 12 minutes from the city centre, set on a heritage-listed coal mining site and old water pumping station, the grounds are now an oasis of subtropical rainforest, lily ponds and waterfalls.
To work up an appetite for your picnic, take to one of the tracks ranging from 170m to 560m return which will have you back in no time to pop the lid on your basket.
Not a fan of a picnic? Pack an esky and fire up the gas on the BBQs and relax under a gazebo.
7. Go for a drive to Summer Land Camel Farm
Did you know camels have a lateral walking gait, and can run as fast as a horse?
Beyond their athletic abilities, they also produce milk that’s three times higher in Vitamin C and 10 times higher in iron than cows milk.
Try it for yourself, heading 25 minutes from the CBD to Summer Land Camel Farm, Australia’s largest camel dairy and training centre.
Join the cameleers as they take you through the farming operations, or become a scientist and get a behind-the-scenes look at the products made in the laboratory.
Finish your day with a camel gelato from the Farm Cafe, which has a menu packed with dishes made from their award-winning camel milk and locally sourced produce from the surrounding Scenic Rim.
8. Grab a bike ride and hit the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
Considering the longest multi-purpose trail in Australia starts in Ipswich, there’s no better way to explore the old Brisbane Valley rail line than by grabbing a mountain bike and turning up the pedal power.
The 161km Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT), runs from Ipswich to Yarraman and passes through farmland, forests and small country towns.
If you prefer to go off road and get dirty, head to Hidden Vale Adventure Park (HVAP) and explore Australia’s largest dedicated mountain bike park.
9. Go bird watching at the top of town
You don’t have to travel to Kruger National Park to listen to the sounds of native birds singing their daily anthem.
Established in the 1880s above closed-off mine tunnels, Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve is home to over 50 recorded species of birds.
Just 800 metres from the centre of Ipswich you can swap the sounds of passing traffic to the calls of parrots, lorikeets and rosellas.
The reserve can be accessed by Quarry Street or Deebing Street and has five walking tracks ranging from 200m to 800m return, tracing the historical path of the former coal-skip tramway.
Tip: Climb the five-story winding staircase to the top of the Water Tower and enjoy 360 degree views of the city below.
10. Get some air at sunrise
If you can brave a start time before sunrise, then book a hot air balloon ride to experience Ipswich from above.
As you float up to 3,000 feet above the ground, you’ll have uninterrupted views of Ipswich’s heritage footprint, as you brush past the treetops and skim over its rivers.
Beyond the central district, the ride offers views of the surrounding countryside of the Scenic Rim and Somerset region.
After an hour of air time, enjoy a hearty breakfast and swap tales of the sights and sounds from above.