Free and inexpensive Ipswich activities
Despite living on the Gold Coast for the last eleven years, we had only visited the Ipswich area a couple of times. So when the opportunity arose for us to spend some time exploring Ipswich we jumped at the chance.
Now we love travelling or just getting out and about for a day, but we know that the cost of this can add up quickly so we were keen to find some free and inexpensive things to do for the day, and we certainly weren’t disappointed with what we found.
As we often do when travelling, we made our first stop at the local Ipswich Visitor Information Centre. Visitors centres are a great place to learn about what is on offer in an area. Most times these centres are staffed by volunteers who are passionate about their local area. The Ipswich volunteers were no exception and we quickly left with some guides, maps and a list of things to see.
Go treasure hunting
The Ipswich Antique Centre is housed in the old Central Congressional Sunday School Building which was erected in 1895. If you love reminders of yester-year I can highly recommend spending some time wandering through the displays. I saw lots of things that reminded me of my childhood so if you share my love of nostalgia then this is a must.
If you want to continue your vintage adventure, then head to the eastern end of Brisbane Road where you will find some great old style shops like The Vintage Advantage. Not only is it housed in a gorgeous old style building but it also sells a whole range of vintage and retro goodies.
I also found a wonderful gift shop called Precious Packages. The shop was originally a bakery and many of the original feature could still be seen. The awnings above some of these shops still have pressed metal ceilings and many of the facades are the originals.
Queensland Motorsport Museum
If you are even the slightest bit interested in Australian Motorsport, then a visit to the Queensland Motorsport Museum is a must. Most of the items in the 2000 square metre display area are part of owner Ian’s private collection. The huge collection includes die cast models, speedway bikes and cars – Holdens and Fords, and many, many more.
Glass cabinets full of interesting odd bits are found in every room. There is also a room dedicated to old magazines, race meeting guides, time sheets and much more.
Ian is more than willing to help you if you are looking for something or just walk around with you and share his extensive knowledge. Entry is just $10 per adult and kids under 14 free.
Our first stop was the beautiful Queens Park which has been part of the Ipswich landscape since the late 1800’s. Whether you want to have a picnic, go for a walk or let the kids roam free, this park is fantastic for everyone. The children’s playground is very well designed and has a variety of activities that suit a range of ages.
If you are looking for a spot to have morning tea or lunch then I can recommend the Queens Park Café. With mid-range prices and an excellent menu, it was perfect for a quick coffee break. An added bonus was the lovely outlook over the park from the veranda and the friendly staff. Just next door to the café is the Queens Park Environmental Centre which is worth a look. It has lots of information on recycling and caring for our environment.
Tucked away in the bottom of Queens Park, are the beautiful Nerima Gardens. These Japanese style gardens were opened in 2001 as a celebration of the relationship between Ipswich and its Japanese sister city, Nerima.
Although not a large garden by some standards, they are beautifully laid out and a peaceful oasis. Featuring many traditional elements of a Japanese garden, there are also many Australian elements such as gum trees and a boab tree.
Ipswich Nature Centre
You don’t usually expect to find a mini zoo in the middle of a busy city. But that’s exactly what you will find right in the middle of Queens Park. But best of all it’s completely FREE! Set amongst lovely shady trees, with flat level path ways and boardwalks, this mini zoo is easily accessible for strollers and wheel chairs. Mid-week you will find the zoo fairly quiet but the same cannot be said for weekends and school holidays.
There are a variety of animals to see, including kangaroos, wallabies, farm animals and surprisingly a dingo! My favourite was the male peacock who put on a stunning show right in front of me.
Hardings Paddock Campground
For a very low cost place to stay you can’t go past Harding’s Paddock Campground. Located about 20 kilometres out of Ipswich this small, but picturesque camp ground is the perfect spot to get away from it all for a night or two. With an undercover barbeque area, toilets and horse yards this camp area has loads of open space and plenty of trees for shade. But the best bit is that it is only $15.00 a night. What a bargain!
River Heart Parklands
We couldn’t resist stopping and going for a stroll along the River Heart Parklands boardwalk. Located right on the banks of the Bremer River, River Heart Parklands has it all. Covered barbeques and picnic tables make the perfect spot for a family get together and the beautiful park area which includes a water play section will keep the kids entertained whilst you relax. Or if you are feeling energetic there is about a 1.3 kilometre walking trail that runs through the park.