That magical time of the year has arrived once again where the chilly winter days are behind us and the forecast is for warm, sunny days ahead.
I am of course talking about spring – one of the best times of the year to bask in the glorious sunshine and explore the great outdoors.
Whether you have got a few hours or looking for a weekend getaway, here are some top ideas and places to tick off your spring itinerary in the beautiful city of Ipswich.
Throw out the picnic rug
If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot where you can catch up with family and friends, you will definitely be spoilt for choice in Ipswich.
The city has plenty of beautiful gardens, parks and playgrounds where you can throw out the picnic rug and serve up your famous potato salad or the simple, yet delicious, chicken and salad sandwiches.
One of the most popular spots for groups to gather is Robelle Domain in Springfield. With wide-open spaces, an all-abilities playground, splash and play area, hidden waterfalls, rainforest walks and kilometres of bike tracks just waiting to be ridden, it’s the perfect location for parents seeking more than just a simple visit to the park.
Another beautiful spot where families like to gather when the weather is amazing is Queens Park, conveniently located in the heart of town. The park features rolling green hills, an exciting playground for the little ones to let their imagination run wild, plus the Ipswich Nature Centre, where you can see lots of adorable Australian animals like kangaroos, dingoes, quolls and even a fuzzy wombat for free! Here you will find plenty of grass to lay down on, picnic tables to sit at and barbecues to cook up your snags!
Lastly, if you or the kids love planes, especially the big Globemaster that flies high above from the nearby RAAF Amberley Air Base, you can’t go past Lobley Park in Churchill. Aspiring young pilots will love playing in the replica RAAF cargo plane, which features its own mock cockpit. There’s also an air-traffic control tower with an x-ray machine and radar screen to complete the fantasy. Parents can either join in the fun or kick back and relax by setting up their own table and chairs and snacking on a charcuterie board.
Take the plunge and cool off
You don’t have to spend lots of money to take the family to the beach or water parks this spring – you only have to visit one of these great splash and play areas for a day of fun in the sun.
Families can dive into the cool waters at Orion Lagoon, situated next to Robelle Domain. The lagoon is larger than the man-made Streets Beach in Brisbane’s South Bank, and has a number of interconnected pools with different depths. There are sure to be squeals of laughter from the aquativity section, where there are squirting spouts, stepping stones, and even a walk-in-beach.
There is also lots of fun to be had at the Splash ‘n’ Play water park at Providence Ripley. Here, kids can engage in their own water fight with their friends by jumping behind one of the water spray guns, or chase each other to their heart’s content across the two aqua play zones. One zone caters for younger kids where they can dip their toes in, while the other is more suitable for older kids and teenagers and features larger sprinkler features and timed jets.
Raining mushrooms, tipping buckets, a waterfall shower and a circular whirlpool at the Bundamba Swim Centre also makes for an excellent way to cool off when the temperature rises. This great play area is suitable for younger kids, as it also features a walk-in section and smaller rock pools. The Olympic pool can also be a haven for games of Marco Polo or swimming laps. There is a small entrance fee but it won’t break the bank.
Go wild over some adorable animals
Spring is a great time to visit a local farm and see lots of adorable animals, and if you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some babies!
A great one to put on the list is the Ewe Nique Hobby Farm at Haigslea. The farm is open weekends and weekdays on school holidays you can feed and pet the animals for under $10 per person. They even hold special wildlife shows and have an onsite cafe for drinks, home baked treats, sheep cheese and ice cream.
One farm that is open every day is Summer Land Camels in nearby Harrisville. You can head along and wander around the farm for free, or for a small price, you can feed the camels, go for a ride, or take a tour for a behind-the-scenes look. The camels are extremely inquisitive and love to be fed by visitors.
When you visit Naughty Little Kids in Peak Crossing, not only will you get to see and bottle feed lots of darling kids (baby goats), but you can also take a tour of the farm and taste test some delicious gelato made with goat milk. The farm is open every Sunday and is a hit with adults and children alike.
Finally, if taking a llama for a walk is on your bucket list, you can do that right here in Ipswich at The Llama Farm in Pine Mountain. The farm is home to the largest llama herd in Queensland, so there are plenty of llamas that need walking! During your visit you can also meet the donkeys, miniature ponies, miniature goats, sheep, camels, rabbits, peafowls, guinea fowl, turkeys, geese, chickens, and the owner’s friendly dogs!
With the days getting longer, spring is a wonderful time to be active and get our bodies moving.
If you love cruising around on two wheels, there are plenty of bike tracks just waiting to be explored at Hidden Vale Adventure Park in Grandchester. If you love adrenalin, there’s more than 130kms of trails through rugged bushland where you can do jumps, skids and ride extra fast. There are also lots of suitable trails for the little ones. The park is open for a small fee, which gives you unlimited access to all the trails for the day, or annual memberships are also available.
People who love walking can also explore the nature trails in the Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve. Once you descend the walking tracks amid the huge native trees, you completely forget that you’re just a few minutes away from the city’s main streets. Along the pathway you might even spot a number of the locals who call the reserve home, including owls, kookaburras, finches, wrens and wallabies.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your fitness and spend time with your furry friend, a little casual stroll through Limestone Park will do the trick. Limestone Park, located in Ipswich, has lots of recreational pathways and strength and agility stations. It’s also a great place to go bike riding or play a game of soccer, football, cricket or netball.
Stop and smell the flowers
There will be lots of beautiful aromas from all the budding flowers, and luckily for you, Ipswich has a number of charming gardens where you can stop and smell the flowers.
One of the most idyllic gardens in Ipswich is Kholo Gardens at Pine Mountain. This lush subtropical haven features a crystal-clear lily pond, walking tracks and lots of native flora that is bursting with colours. You will also enjoy the peace and quiet of the 400 metre walk through Tree Fern Lane under a natural rainforest canopy.
A sea of purple leaves will cover the grounds at Evan Marginson Park this spring as the city’s gorgeous jacaranda trees bloom. One of the best vantage points to see the purple-lined streets (and get a breathtaking image for your social media account) is along Brisbane Terrace.
Or, if you would like to bring the garden home with you, stop in and pick up some plants, seedlings, fruit trees and garden décor from Travellan Lifestyle Centre in Brassall. They have everything you need, plus things you didn’t know you needed, so you can create your dream garden in your own space. A visit to Trevallan will have you stopping to smell the roses (literally).