Keeping the family entertained on a budget isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but there are lots of public areas that might just be as much fun as the paid options!
The Ipswich region has a wonderful and varied array of options that are completely free!
Just remember to pack a picnic, plan your day and you’ll be in for a treat without breaking the bank! And for added fun, combine a few of of these attractions into one day and you and your family will be sure to come away fully content!
Queens Park and Ipswich Nature Centre
This park is a definite must see in Ipswich! This huge area of public parkland is fantastic for the little guys – they can run to their hearts content on the rolling lawns, climb, jump, swing and even splash at the wonderful playground, stop for a feed at the Queens Park Café or take a relaxing walk through the Japanese (Nerima) gardens.
And if you’re still not completely satisfied, why not check out the native wildlife at the free Ipswich Nature Centre!
Ipswich is sometimes referred to as Queensland’s Heritage City, and right in the centre of town it’s not hard to see why. There are heaps of examples of fantastic heritage architecture, with many buildings within easy walking distance of each other.
Ipswich City Council’s Heritage Trails are well recommended – not only do they provide your trail map, but you get to read a little on the history of the wonderful heritage structures – and they even have Children’s Heritage trails as well!
Ipswich’s heritage buildings can be admired anytime – some are open to the public on special occasions!
To find out about heritage trails head to the Visitor Information Centre.
The Denmark Hill conservation area, features walking tracks, dinosaur fossils and amazing birdlife.
*Unfortunately the Denmark Hill Lookout is currently closed.
Looking for more of a slower pace with the kids? Perhaps a walk through the beautiful Nerima Gardens will do the trick! These beautifully presented Japanese-style gardens are situated within the greater Queens Park precinct and is the perfect place for a wind-down or a recharge. And the kids will love spotting turtles in the lake or one of the many water dragon lizards sunning themselves!
Nerima Gardens are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am (open Mondays through the school holidays). Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.
If you are looking for a complete day out at a public facility – from a picnic or a quiet stroll along the kilometres of pathways, or getting into the action at the water-play park, playground, grab a coffee at one of the cafés or perhaps a swim, then make sure that you check out Robelle Domain at Springfield!
The water-play area with its zero-depth soft-fall floor, lots of sprinklers and a giant dumping bucket is simply fantastic for the little guys! Orion Lagoon is a huge (and free!) public pool area, complete with lifeguards and a great for kids of all ages, and the playgrounds and park areas are hard to ignore as well.
Free to visit every day of the year!
Amberley Air Force Museum
The RAAF Amberley Air Force Base opens its doors once a month (every third Sunday) to allow visits to a museum located on the base.
It’s a great size museum for the little ones and there are a number of historical aircraft to see and even a few to climb aboard!
The defence force personnel and volunteers staffing the museum are a credit and they are more than helpful in providing information about the exhibits and the museum – plus as it is an operating air force base, you might even get to see a few of the current planes flying around.
The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre opens once a month on the 3rd Sunday from 9am to 3pm.
Colleges Crossing Picnic
Colleges Crossing has been a popular picnic spot for over 100 years and it’s never looked as good as it does today! Having borne the brunt of the devastating floods of 2011, the whole area was completely rebuilt and it’s the perfect spot for a run around with its wonderful playgrounds, rolling lawns and lovely river views. Plenty of BBQs and seating add to its appeal and there’s even a café for an ice-cream or cool drink. Get in early on weekends as it is super popular!
Colleges Crossing is open all year round, however in the rainy period you may want to check for dam releases!