The South East Queensland region of Ipswich may be renowned for its architectural and cultural heritage, but it’s a natural playground for those who seek adventure and the great outdoors. Situated on the Bremer River, Ipswich has over 500 parks and nature reserves ready to be explored.
So pack your hiking boots, mountain bike and sense of adventure as these are just some of the ways to get out and explore the Ipswich region and find your own adventure.
Soar in a hot air balloon
Since launching (literally) in 2001, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights have been carrying passengers over the beautifully stunning valleys of the Scenic Rim, Somerset and the city of Ipswich. The early morning start is worth it to watch the sun rise over this beautiful region. You will join a maximum of 10 passengers with your pilot Graeme Day in the big wicker basket as a gentle breeze takes you on a sky-high adventure above South East Queensland. The one-hour balloon flight delivers the gentle thrills of flying in a hot air balloon with breakfast and launch pad transfers included.
Tackle the tracks on a mountain bike
Located an hour’s drive west of Brisbane and on Ipswich’s doorstep is Hidden Vale Adventure Park (HVAP). The 12,000 acre property offers an amazing variety of terrain over a multi-use, 110 plus kilometres of World Class trail network of mountain biking, running and hiking tracks catering for all ages and abilities. The one day trail pass (starting from $10) allows access to the Trail Network during the hours of 7am – 3pm for the day selected. However, with so many trails on offer, you will be wanting to come back time and time again, with a six month trail pass (starting from $99) allowing 182 Days of adventure.
Bring your own equipment or hire a bike, including e-bikes, at a charge. There is a shuttle service to take you to the more remote trail starts and for the ultimate adventure, you can even try heli-biking with a helicopter transfer.
Hike on a night-time nature walk
Take a hike with a difference on the White Rock City Lights hike, a walking tour that gives special access to the White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate. The White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate features the distinctive, sculptured, rocky outcrops of White Rock and Spring Mountain and while you won’t see that clearly under the dark of night, you will gain a different perspective of nature at night and the city lights on the horizon.
After meeting your guide and popping on a head torch, you will head up the main ridge learning about the history of White Rock – Spring Mountain as you go. Covering over 2,500 hectares of regionally significant bush land, the estate remains sacred to the Traditional Owners of Ipswich, the sacred sites of the region provide an important link between Country and personal identity and allow the passing on of cultural knowledge. Along the way you will learn about the array of plant and wildlife species that call this area home. Once at the main ridge lookout, you will stop for a well-deserved break and time to enjoy delicious nibbles and views stretching from Springfield to Mount Coot-tha and the Northwest before making your way back to the meeting point.
*Please note: Due to the cultural significance of White Rock, climbing and traversing onto the rock itself is highly discouraged.
Stay in a tiny house
Nestled at Worlds End on Pine Mountain, a stay at Pocket Retreats Riverside Retreat tiny house will have you feeling you are in a world of your own. This is a place to escape to when you want to detach from the city pace, switch off and simply reconnect with nature. The tiny house may be small but it is big on character and has everything you need for your getaway, including a fire pit outside and a fantastic outlook over the river.
The Pine Mountain property is a working 120-acre cattle farm on the upper reaches of the Brisbane River. Owner and host, Anne McDougall, works and lives on this beautiful property and goes above and beyond to make your stay the best it can be. Relax in your own little slice of bush heaven or take a wander around the farm where you can kayak, hike, bird watch, fish and more.
Discover the Ipswich Nature Centre
In Ipswich’s historical Queens Park you will find the Ipswich Nature Centre, a place where you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Australian native wildlife. Up there with the best of wildlife refuges, a walk through the centre’s lush landscaped gardens and exhibits that have been created to represent local bushland and flora communities will give you the chance to see some furry animals that call the place home. The cute native residents include wombats, wallabies, emus, quolls, and a nocturnal bilby exhibit. There is even a rainforest bird aviary.
Grab a drink at The Rusty Nail
After all the adventuring around Ipswich, you will want to refuel with some great food and drinks. Look no further than The Rusty Nail. Located in the CBD at the top of the mall, The Rusty Nail is home to a bustling bar filled with tapas, craft beer, wine and cocktails. The drink, The Rusty Nail, is a classic Drambuie cocktail, once the go-to drink of the Rat Pack boys (that’s Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr. and chums if you didn’t know) in the ’60s. It’s a combo of Scotch whisky and spicy, syrupy Drambuie served with a twist of lemon. The story of this iconic drink is told in the artwork around the bar, as well as a big map on the wall that shows exactly where the locally sourced produce has come from. The vibe here is chill and the perfect place to unwind after a day of adventuring around Ipswich.