With two rivers, 1100km2 of natural landscape and 237 species of birdlife to spot, Ipswich is a nature-lover’s paradise.
Get to know more about this historical city by discovering it on more than just two feet. Follow this guide to seeing Ipswich from land, air and water.
1. Take a road trip for lunch at Homage, Spicers Hidden Vale
Unlike the name suggests, there’s nothing hidden about Spicers Hidden Vale. Just 30 mins west of Ipswich, along Rosewood Laidley road via Grandchester, you’ll find this historic homestead turned luxury retreat.
Set on 12,000 acres of working cattle farmland, there’s no mistaking its country charm with tin and timber farm houses facing out to views of the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley.
Like all Spicers properties, Hidden Vale is cut from the same luxury cloth, and follows the same food philosophy, with a restaurant that’s as famous as its accommodation.
Hidden Vale’s on site restaurant, Homage, is a destination in its own right, attracting foodies with its paddock to plate dining.
From working beehives to free range farm harvests, there’s no shortage of locally-sourced ingredients to hero on the menu.
There’s plenty of ways to work up an appetite if you’re thinking of going for the seven course degustation.
Put your focus to the test with a round of archery, hire a mountain bike and explore the largest privately owned mountain bike park in Australia – Hidden Vale Adventure Park (HVAP). Or sit back for a bumpy, 4WD guided tour of the property with a 360 degree view from one of their scenic lookouts.
2. Get a bird’s eye view with Pterodactyl Helicopters
Why drive to Ipswich when you can book a rock star arrival?
Play co-pilot to Captain Mike Jarvis of Pterodactyl Helicopters to get the lay of the Ipswich land.
If you’re already in town, choose from a 20 minute Ipswich City Tour for a birds’ eye view of the city’s historical landmarks, or venture further to the Teviot Ranges to appreciate the peaks of Ipswich.
If you want more than just a fly over, Pterodactyl Helicopters ups the scenic flight ante with themed tours including a country pub crawl which leaves from Brisbane and covers up to six pubs, thankfully with a designated pilot driver.
With over 20 different tours to choose from (and the flexibility to create your own), the toughest decision you’ll make all day is choosing which way to experience Ipswich by air.
Top Tip: Plan your trip between September and November when the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom to see the city blanketed with purple flowers.
3. Paddle from Colleges Crossing to Barellan Point
Get a feel for the historical voyages of the 1800s with an oar in hand as you paddle down the Brisbane River – one of the two major waterways running through Ipswich.
Drive 10km from Ipswich CBD to Colleges Crossing (or Colleges as it’s known to locals) for a 14km (4 hour) one-way paddle to Joseph Brady Park, Barellan Point.
With over 10 different water bird and raptor species calling the banks of the Brisbane River home, make sure you get ahead of the bird spotting game with this list of the feathered locals.
If you’re not in a rush, stop by Venus Pools for a quick dip and Kookaburra Park’s small picnic area (including public bathroom) for a pit stop, sanga and cuppa.
If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, you can hire one from Brisbane River Canoes, who’ll even include a trailer if you’re really short on gear.
At Colleges, you’ll need to do a car shuffle to make sure your car and trailer are at Barellan Point when you finish. If that’s proving too much hard work, Brisbane River Canoes can also do a delivery and pick up service if you book in advance.
Top Tip: The river is infamously known for having a strong tidal pull. So make sure you set off at high tide and with an outgoing tide to avoid hitting any submerged or exposed rocks along the way.