Ipswich City Council and businesses are working hard to improve access for people with disability. Check out three places that get a tick for those visiting in a wheelchair.
When you are part of the approximately 18% of Australians with disability, an extra level of planning is required to decide where to visit on a day out. As a city with an abundance of heritage sites and buildings, Ipswich was never high on our list of places where we expected navigation, with Beth’s electric wheelchair to be easy.
Upon learning that Ipswich also boasts cultural and fine-dining experiences and an increasing focus on accessible and inclusive public spaces, we left our familiar surrounds of inner-Brisbane to discover Ipswich for ourselves.
Here’s a rundown of what we found when we checked out the wheelchair accessibility of three Ipswich highlights.
Ipswich Nature Centre – Queens Park
We started our day at the immaculate and well-planned Ipswich Nature Centre. Driving into Queens Park, we were welcomed by glorious trees and inviting gardens. We nabbed one of the many good-size disabled parking spaces near the entrance to the Centre on Goleby Avenue.
Walking around the Centre was wonderful – the walkways are wide, and the boardwalks provide a smooth driving surface for wheelchairs and prams, and a great vantage point for spotting critters. The exhibits give patrons some up-close encounters with native birds, mammals, and reptiles (and the typical farmyard big five). We LOVED the open-air aviary in all its swoopy, terrifying glory.
The thoughtful design of the Centre meant that we could access all areas and enclosures as easily as other visitors who were navigating on foot.
Entrance to the Centre is free, but a gold coin donation is encouraged to help maintain this great attraction.
The Cottage Restaurant – Limestone Street
Time for lunch! On strong recommendation, we indulged at The Cottage Restaurant – a must-taste experience for anybody visiting Ipswich who wants to splash out a little.
With only street parking available, it took some time to find a park where we could easily and safely get Beth’s wheelchair in and out of the car. Footpaths on the surrounding streets are narrow and steep in places so we would recommend assessing the terrain and parking situation in advance to ensure it is manageable for your wheelchair or mobility aid.
This charming Heritage Queenslander boasts an astounding menu and mountain views. Perched high on a steep block, a staff-operated lift has been installed. The lift took Beth and her wheelchair from the lower footpath up to the ramp at the restaurant entrance. While the attentive staff are happy to support any access needs, we would recommend calling ahead to ensure that the lift is ready to go.
Upon visiting the bathroom, it was pleasing to find plenty of room for Beth’s wheelchair to turn around and easily access all amenities.
We sampled the beef carpaccio with wasabi mayo and focaccia, the rolled rabbit, superbly crunchy and yummy roasted potatoes with lavender honey mustard dressing, and the delicately scrumptious mixed berry tart with anglaise. We can 100% report the food easily lives up to its well-deserved hype. Book ahead to avoid disappointment!
Pumpyard Bar and Brewery – Limestone Street
A stroll around town earned us a drink – and we had heard countless glowing reviews of this fine watering hole. The Pumpyard is very accessible in a wheelchair, with wide, gentle sloping paths and an easy-to-use lift (with low buttons) to get down to the bar from street level. Though the bar height was a little tricky for anybody in a wheelchair or of short stature to see over, the friendly and respectful staff made ordering drinks a breeze.
Both bar and dining height tables were available in the outdoor and indoor areas, so it was easy to find a spot to drive up to in a wheelchair. We happily threw down a Mango + Lychee Session Pale Ale and an Ink Gin while perched amongst the jovial Friday afternoon crowd.
While we were only able to stay for one drink on this occasion, The Pumpyard has easy to find, on-site disabled access bathrooms for anybody wanting to drink the day and/or night away. This place is a gem!