For a lot of Australians, a weekend holiday usually revolves around a trip to the beach, but we love a good getaway wherever it is, and we loved our weekend away visiting Queensland’s Heritage City – Ipswich.
Visitor Information Centre
Notwithstanding peak hour, Ipswich is an easy drive from wherever you are in Brisbane, and contrary to many people’s belief, this small city has a whole lot of charm and is definitely not ‘just’ another suburb of greater Brisbane.
After a relaxed breakfast and a short drive, we arrived around lunch time and we headed straight for our first stop – the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre.
Conveniently located within the bounds of one of Ipswich’s premiere parks – the wonderful Queens Park!
The Visitor Information Centre houses a lovely little souvenir shop and just as its name suggests, provides fantastic information on Ipswich and the region, both in written and verbal form. It’s a fantastic little stop regardless of how well you know Ipswich.
We picked up some Heritage Trail brochures from the Visitor Information Centre (they’re also available online) and they are a fantastic way to explore the city, check out some of the wonderful Heritage Listed buildings and learn about its history as well!
Plus there are special trails just for kids which our little guys loved as they wandered around trying to spot the next building on the map.
There are heaps of wonderful old buildings in Ipswich and you could spend hours following these trails and learning about the history of the city.
Ipswich Antique Centre
In keeping with the heritage theme, we just had to check out the Ipswich Antique Centre!
Housed in another of Ipswich’s many heritage-listed buildings, Ipswich Antique Centre is the place to go for antiques and memorabilia, whether you are a serious collector or just doing a little browsing.
You’re bound to find something of interest, and there’s a café in there too.
After finishing our self-guided tour of the city, we headed off to our accommodation at Quest Ipswich.
Quest Apartment Hotels are fantastic options for families who need a little more room.
Quest Ipswich is located a short drive (or 10-minute walk) from the centre of town.
Check in was simple and our little guys only had one thing on their minds – a splash in the one site pool!
There’s nothing that the kids love more than a swim, and it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Jets Leagues Club
Our first day in Ipswich quickly passed away – time really does fly when you’re having fun!
There are heaps of options for family-friendly dining in Ipswich – although Quest doesn’t have an on-site, they do have room charge-back for several restaurants around town, as well as a free shuttle bus to Jets Leagues Club.
Standing on the same grounds that has been serving Ipswich since the 1880s, and it’s still a fantastic place for a hearty meal and a cool drink.
Nice and casual with super yummy food and a cool little games room for the kids, this was the perfect choice for our first night in Ipswich.
Rafter and Rose Cafe
The next morning, we were faced with another difficult decision – where to go for breakfast?
There is no shortage of lovely café options in the city and we settled on Rafter and Rose, right in the centre of town.
Its menu is matched by its gorgeous setting, and the taste certainly does not let it down!
And you just have to try their French Toast which look absolutely amazing!
Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway
Trains are a huge part of the story of Ipswich, so a visit would not be complete without some sort of rail experience.
Once a month (generally), Queensland Pioneer Steam Rail runs its magnificent old steam trains from Bundamba Station, just near the racecourse.
The trip runs for about half an hour and there’s plenty of time on the platform for photos.
After a lovely lunch at the iconic Racehorse Hotel, we were looking for a little escape, and we found the perfect one at Seraphim Escape.
We tried out the family friendly, Christmas themed escape room and we had the best time! Highly recommended for those with inquisitive kids or even would be great as an outing away from the little guys!
Saturday night dinner was at Dovetails, set in the beautiful and heritage listed Technical College precinct, and they do a fantastic dinner and the restaurant is beautiful.
The precinct also houses 4 Hearts Brewing and The Pumpyard Bar and a bit of live music added to wonderful atmosphere and we had a lovely meal and night out.
Forthchild has an impressive reputation not only in Ipswich, but across the south-east region, and it was definitely one place that we just had to visit.
Sunday morning breakfast was the perfect way to experience this lovely restaurant and its reputation is certainly well deserved – they do a fantastic lunch and dinner, too!
Their Grande Breakfast was very yummy and impressive and the Blueberry and Ricotta Pancakes were a sight to behold!
Our final stop in our fun-filled weekend was a visit to Riverheart Parklands.
Ipswich is often thought of as a home of rail in Queensland, but it was actually the Bremer River that led to the establishment of Ipswich and today the river is celebrated through a lovely series of boardwalks and wonderful parklands, including one of our favourites, Bob Gamble Park.
This park has something for everyone, and with its awesome wet-play areas it is super popular throughout the warmer months.
After all our experiences in Ipswich, sadly it was time to say goodbye for our drive home.
The kids quickly fell asleep in the car and to us that was a great indicator of how much they enjoyed themselves on this weekend getaway.
And we feel that we’ve only just scratched the surface of this city and we look forward to many more visits!