As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to access a range of activities out in nature. Whether you feel the need for challenge, or simply some peace, quiet, fresh air and contemplation, Ipswich has lots to offer…
Visit Hidden Vale Adventure Park
Hidden Vale Adventure Park is hard to beat as a mountain biking destination – but runners and hikers love to challenge themselves here too.
This 12,000-acre property is a daredevil’s dream, with more than 110 kilometres of well-mapped trails through rugged bushland.
The mountain biking community gives this destination bonus points for its ample shelters, clear signage, abundant water sources and helpful staff. After your ride, head to The Barn at Spicers Hidden Vale for a well-deserved burger, beer and fries. Trail passes and e-bike hire can be booked online, says Hidden Vale Adventure Park’s Hayden Brooks.
Hike up mountains
The Ipswich region certainly isn’t short of mountains, with Flinders Peak, Mt Goolman and Mt Blaine among the most challenging to climb.
Bring a packed lunch and plenty of water if you’re attempting Flinders Peak – most people find it tough-going and you’ll need the better part of the day to conquer this beast.
However, there are 360-degree views (and a hard-to-beat sense of achievement) for those who reach the summit. Alternatively, give the White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate a whirl, as it has everything from a 200-metre doddle to a 19-kilometre round trip trail.
Splash at Colleges Crossing
There is no better place for messing about in boats than Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve. While many people come to picnic, fish, splash in the shallows, or let the kids loose on the extensive playgrounds, the boat ramp is a popular spot for launching all manner of watercraft.
Sunday afternoons typically see plenty of kayakers and canoeists out exploring the many nooks and crannies of this stretch of the Brisbane River – sharing space with pelicans, ducks and egrets. The clear, calm waters located upstream are also making Colleges Crossing popular with stand-up paddleboarders too.
Drop a line in
Those who like to cast a line will find a wealth of other spots in which to do so in and around Ipswich.
Joseph Brady Park, located on the riverbank where the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers converge, is a prime spot for anglers, says David Lake, manager of the Ipswich branch of BCF (Boating Camping Fishing).
“You can catch anything there, from bream, flathead, threadfin salmon, catfish and eels,” he says.
The upper reaches of the Brisbane River, including Savages Crossing and Twin Bridges, is also prime fishing territory, but a little more difficult to reach. Colleges Crossing (mentioned above) is accessible for both land-based and kayak fisherfolk.
Visit the pool
But if you’re looking to do some serious lap swimming, Ipswich also has several public pools, including the Bundamba Swim Centre, Georgie Conway Leichhardt Community Swim Centre, Goodna Aquatic Centre and Rosewood Aquatic Centre.
Want to switch it up a bit? Too easy. Many facilities offer water-based exercise classes like aqua aerobics and deep water aqua.
Go bird watching
With 337 species of birds identified in the Ipswich region, it’s fair to say it’s a veritable feather frenzy out there.
Birdwatchers commonly see kookaburras, sulphur-crested cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets and Australian magpies – and then there are the masked lapwings which establish the most inconvenient nesting spots on footpaths, carparks and sporting fields. It’s worth getting the binoculars and camera out for some of Ipswich’s more unusual species – including apostlebirds, black-necked storks, and grey-crowned babblers. A comprehensive guide is available online.