Fresh air and an adventure, large or small, can be the perfect way to reconnect with nature, experience an adrenaline rush, or just try something new. You may not immediately think of Ipswich as an adventure capital, but you’d be surprised by how many adventure activities can be found within the region.
Hikes, cycling trails, and even magical sunrise balloon flights are sure to get your heart racing. If that’s not enough, you may even come across a haunted spirit or two after nightfall….
No matter what your adventure of choice is, you can find it in Ipswich—here are some of the best.
White Rock Conservation Estate
Just a short drive from the city is the White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate. It’s a huge nature reserve with hikes for all levels, over 2,500 ha in size. Its biggest drawcard is White Rock, a sandstone rock formation with spiritual importance to the Ugarapul people. The best way to see it is via the White Rock Multi-User Trail, a 6.5km return trail that heads to the base of White Rock.
The Traditional Owners of the land ask that you admire White Rock from the ground and don’t climb to the summit. The hike also takes in eucalypt forest and is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the outdoors.
There’s also plenty of shorter walks and bicycle trails to discover, making it a fun family day out.
Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour
If your idea of adventure involves the paranormal, you’ll have to stick around town after dark to tag along on the Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour. Founded back in 1843, Ipswich has a rich history and has had plenty of time for haunted happenings and spirits to find their way into town.
Head to one of Ipswich’s most haunted places, Ipswich Cemetery, and gather ‘round your guide to hear stories of spooky sightings and horrible happenings, all researched and based on archives and local tales. While a ghost sighting may not be guaranteed, you’ll at least walk away with a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of Ipswich’s early days as a convict settlement, mining town, and river port.
Tours are held on Saturday evenings, but check with Brisbane Ghost Tours for dates.
Hot Air Ballooning
If slowly soaring up off the ground and into the sky doesn’t provide an adrenaline rush, nothing will! It’s a bucket-list activity for many people and there’s nowhere better to experience the thrills of hot air ballooning than Ipswich. Set sail for sunrise over the Lockyer Valley and landscapes of the Ipswich region with Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights, a locally-owned ballooning company with decades of flying experience.
Balloon passengers not only enjoy the one-hour flight itself, but also get to help out with the fun of setting up the balloon and filling the envelope up with air. Then, after your safe landing, it’s all hands on deck to help pack the balloon up.
Hot air ballooning is the perfect way to experience Ipswich and take in the scenery from above. Don’t forget your GoPro to grab an epic selfie and watch the world fade further and further away as Chief Pilot Graeme takes you up into the sky.
If it’s two wheels and speed that gets you going, you’ll need to head to Grandchester. Mountain bikers have a wealth of trails to choose from across the region, but Hidden Vale Adventure Park, in Grandchester, takes the cake. This purpose-built park has over 12,000 acres and 110 kilometers of trails, designed for all levels of riders.
Mountain bike hire is always available on-site, along with accommodation at Spicers Hidden Vale. The trails are part of the luxury resort, but anyone can access the tracks and facilities for a small fee.
In addition to Hidden Vale, there are fantastic public mountain biking parks in Ipswich. Beginner and intermediate cyclists can find plenty of trails locally, with great trails found at Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve, Grande Park, and Mihi Junction.
Grab your helmet, pack a water bottle and snacks, then head for a day of thrills through scenic and challenging trails.
Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate
Did you realise you can see all the way to Brisbane from Ipswich? If your legs are up for some hills, head to Flinders-Goolman for the 5.6km return walk to Goolman lookout. Your thighs will probably be burning on the way up, thanks to some steep inclines, but the views at the top make it all worthwhile.
On a clear day, you can see the Brisbane skyline, along with Mt Goolman and Ivory’s Rock. The views from the top are unbelievable and are the perfect place for quiet contemplation, photography, or having a bite to eat.
If you’re after something a bit easier, try the Chalk Circuit. It’s 560m one way and flat, taking you through the Bush Tucker gardens. Learn about uses of bush tucker plants by the Indigenous people of the region as you walk past informative signposts.
In addition to walking and hikes, Flinders-Goolman offers picnic facilities and horseback riding trails.
With so many adventures to be had in Ipswich, it’s hard to know where to get started!