Dodge the crowds and come to Ipswich
Steer clear of the congested roads and endless crowds and queues the Commonwealth Games is about to deliver to the Gold Coast and come to Ipswich to eat, play and stay. You might just be surprised what you find in the heritage city these days.
Here are seven reasons to bypass the busy beachy strip and try postcode 4305 instead this autumn!
Better than a roller coaster, just sayin’
Forget the big theme park rides – out Ipswich way you can take to the skies with Pterodactyl Helicopters for the ultimate country tripping – and there’s wine!
Join Captain Mike Jarvis for an Ipswich wine tour, choppering vineyard to vineyard, rockstar style. On board his winged chariot, he’ll deliver you door-to-door to a bevy of hillside vineyards such as Flinders Peak Winery, Paradine Wines and Ironbark Ridge – before lunch somewhere special – Spicers Hidden Vale perhaps!
Not into wine? No bother! He has a pub crawl which does a flying visit (boom-tish!) to five country pubs before returning home – Brisbane, Ipswich … or really, any patch of ground he can safely land.
See the sunrise from this high rise!
This is a much gentler option to those gusty sea breeze activities on the coast – we’re talking about a Floating Images Hot Air Balloon flight. These depart pre-dawn from Ipswich, just 30 minutes from Brisbane, so you can catch the day’s first rays creep over the land from a basket suspended in the sky.
Taking off at an hour usually reserved only for sparrows (somewhere between 4 – 5am depending on the season), these silent giants glide over the heritage city, Scenic Rim and Somerset countryside.
You’ll share your basket with a maximum of 10 people, so you’re guaranteed a view to this sunrise show.
Your early morning flight is rewarded with a restaurant breakfast and justification for taking a mid-morning nap.
Check out this for a shopping ‘centre’
The heritage city has shopping centres too – but some are unlike any you’ve seen before – check out the Ipswich Antique Centre spread over two levels of a beautiful heritage building.
With more than 20 dealers showcasing their treasures, this converted church hall (est 1895) covers every genre from retro tikki mugs to Edwardian gossip chairs within its historic walls.
Refresh your wardrobe Carrie Bradshaw-style with a wander in the vintage clothing section upstairs.
And don’t forget Ipswich’s many other shopping options such as the shops of Top of Town – looking at you Soul Sista, Obsession Shoes, Oh Jo-Jo Boutique, and many more.
You’ll find hundreds of shops at Orion Springfield Central and Riverlink too!
Ipswich’s food scene is on fire
Do breakfast the right way and start the day at Top of Town ticking off local favourites Fourthchild Cafe & Restaurant or Rafter & Rose.
It’s no surprise the breakfast game is good here – Ipswich is Queensland’s fastest growing metropolitan city, and its food culture along with the 200,000 strong population shows no sign of slowing down.
Breakfast at Rafter & Rose lifts the flat-lay game on #DiscoverIpswich with cute decor, rustic crockery and every meal comes topped with edible blooms.
Fourthchild Cafe & Restaurant on Brisbane Street also ups the breakfast ante with both sweet and savoury breakfast fare.
Sweet tooths take note – there’s red velvet pancakes and peach melba creme brulee french toast (pictured) on the breakfast menu.
There’s a beer and food precinct
Bookend your day with dinner in the 88 Limestone precinct – you can take your pick from Dovetails Restaurant or Pumpyard Bar & Brewery here in the repurposed and beautifully restored heritage Technical College buildings.
Make dinner and dessert progressive by visiting Pumpyard Bar & Brewery for a locally brewed 4 Hearts coldie first, then Dovetails followed by Ungermann Brothers.
Dovetails takes front and centre of Ipswich’s old technical college, bringing French-style modern Australian cuisine to the CBD of Ipswich.
Shaking up Ipswich’s reputation for casual dining with something more refined, you can tuck into the likes of duck breast served with smoked beetroot puree, roast baby vegetables, pomegranate and pinot noir jus.
The dessert menu is just as good – but it’s worth popping next door to new-kid on the block, Ungermann Brothers Ice-Cream Parlour for dessert. Their product is made with not only all-natural ingredients and love, but MasterChef fame – Ben Ungermann was the popular runner-up in the 2017 season.
There’re 15 ice-cream flavours to choose from – covering the usual suspects (chocolate, vanilla etc) to liquorice and fennel, roasted garlic and fairy-bread to name a few.
Coffee? Craft beer? Tick & tick
Depending on the time of day – Ipswich has you covered from your first brew to your last brewski.
By day it’s all about the local coffee roastery Dancing Bean, which is Ipswich’s only coffee roastery – tucked into a converted warehouse at the end of a laneway behind Heisenberg Haus.
At night, check out Tap’d at the Prince Alfred Hotel, where you’ll find the largest collection of beer and cider in the southern hemisphere.
Purely by numbers alone, Tap’d has the equation for a good time: 72 beers and ciders on tap, 20 TV screens, 11 sports channels – all in one Ipswich bar.
Mountain wonders for your Insta feed
Take a hike or mountain bike at the world-class Hidden Vale Adventure Park or Flinders Peak (pictured).
For a bush walk with more options than you can poke a hiking pole at, check out White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate.
Here you’ll find walks ranging from 200m to 19km winding through this 2,500ha site, which is just 30 minutes outside of town (in the direction of Redbank Plains).
The walks range from pram-friendly to challenging – packing over 600 plant types and 150 fauna species to spot as you walk along the tracks.
Just remember to #discoveripswich so we can repost your pretty pictures.