How to spend a weekend discovering Planes, Trains and Autos

Thinking of attending the Planes, Trains and Autos festival? Here's how to make the most of your weekend!
20 Mar 2024
Discover Ipswich, Staff Writer

This May long weekend kick the adventure up a notch with a visit to Ipswich’s Planes, Trains and Autos Festival.

The festival will run from May 4 to 6 and includes Fully Charged, on May 4, celebrating all things aviation, rail, autos and more.  There are rides on miniature trains and a car display on May 5 and the Retro Picnic on May 6. 

Day 1, Saturday 4 May

Wake up Saturday morning, pack the car and head out to Ipswich.  Your first stop, Queensland Museum Rail Workshop’s Fully Charged event. It runs from 9am to 4pm, with acrobatic aerial plane displays, interactive exhibits including emergency services vehicles, up-close experiences including a V8 race car, superkarts and remote control cars. 

This year Ipswich’s only CASA approved Air Operator Certificate aviation business, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights will be attending with their balloon, basket and burners, as well as a display on ballooning on man’s oldest form of flight as well as images of ballooning over Ipswich.

Plus there’s all the fun of the museum, including the Sciencentre and train simulators to explore. Tickets are only $6 per adult and $5 per child or $20 per family if booked online before the event!​

Planes Trains and Autos 2022

Your next adventure is a Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway heritage train ride also on Saturday.  The train times are 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm and there are heritage buses available to bring you to the station and back to the museum. Or drive over to the Ipswich Turf Club to enjoy your ride.

The Celtic Flyer QPSR Photo: Lance Castle

Book in for dinner at a restaurant in Ipswich Central like Bakehouse Steakhouse, Indian Mehfil or UB’s Milk Bar so you can walk down to the Nicholas St Precinct and see cars at Park and Pose. Some of Ipswich’s spectacular cars will be on display from the Classic and Muscle Car Club from 5pm-8pm. There will also be food trucks on site, in case you’re after a light bite.

Book to stay at Oaks Aspire Ipswich Apartments, Urban Getaway, Country Motel Ipswich or the family friendly Quest Ipswich Apartments for the night so you can keep exploring on Sunday.

More accommodation options can be found here.

Quest Ipswich

Day 2, Sunday 5 May

Wake up on Sunday and enjoy a coffee before taking a drive out to Grandchester. Stop in at Harry’s Café in Rosewood for breakfast, try the eggs bene or the avocado toast. Keep driving into Grandchester to visit Grandchester Model Steam Railway for scaled down versions of actual coal burning steam engines, which children and adults can ride for $3 each. The trains will run from 10am to 2pm.

Grandchester Model Steam Railway Ipswich

After your train ride, drive over to Cars and Coffee at Woodlands of Marburg. The Retro Cruise event runs from 12pm to 2pm and is open for all unique vehicles, modern and classic. The café will be open for lunch.

After head to Queensland Raceway for some top speed go-kart thrills, with their all new karting experience.

Cars and Coffee at Woodlands of Marburg

Call into the town of Marburg on your way back to visit The Marburg Pub, Scotland Yard Antiques and The Soul Nook Collective.

Stay the night in Ipswich Central again or book into Woodlands of Marburg.

Antiques display outside the entrance to Scotland Yard Antiques.

If you’re staying in Ipswich Central for the night, without the kids pop into Monte Lane or Rusty Nail for dinner, with kids head to Jets Leagues Club.  Of if you’re staying near Marburg book into The Sugarmill Restaurant, Marburg Pub, Rosewood Hotel or Walloon Hotel.

Find more places to eat in Ipswich Central here.

Monte Lane | Ipswich

Day 3, Monday 6 May

Enjoy a sleep in and a leisurely breakfast at Dancing Bean, Queens Park Cafe, or St Shoebill Café in Ipswich Central.  Find more cafes to choose from on our eat and drink page.

Walk the street art trail, visit the art gallery, and Ipswich Nature Centre for free.

Couple enjoying a Floating Images hot air balloon flight over the City of Ipswich and surrounding areas.

Or book ahead to enjoy an early morning Floating Images Hot Air Balloon flight.  The scenic one-hour flight includes breakfast at Fourthchild Cafe afterwards.

Then head out to the Retro Picnic at Evan Marginson Park in Goodna. The picnic is a free event from 2pm to 6pm. There will be a rockabilly band on stage, dance floor, food trucks and market stalls.

The Retro Picnic at Goodna
Discover Ipswich Staff Writer
Rocky the Rock Wallaby is a Sagittarius who lives at the Ipswich Nature Centre and often contributes to Discover Ipswich in his spare time. When he's not busy showing tourists around, blogging or hanging out with his cute and fluffy mates at the Nature Centre, he likes to hit the gym for a leg session, graze on quinoa salad and ponder the possibilities of the universe.

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