Things to do
Why Ipswich is Worth a Day Trip From Brisbane
Just 50 minutes southwest of Brisbane, Ipswich is one of Queensland’s hidden gems waiting to be discovered during your trip to the state’s capital. Deep provincial roots and an interesting history that followed, a growing culinary scene catering to every palette and so much on offer for families with a love of the outdoors to couples looking for a quiet day out of the city, Ipswich is well worth the day trip. You may find you even want to stay a little longer.
It has a warm country feel
Locals might not like to hear this but despite the growth Ipswich is experiencing, it still has an authentic country feel to the visitor. This is something I really appreciated during our first time in the city; from checking out local cafes to passing friendly folk on the local hiking trails. Nowhere though do you get that feeling more than at Spicers Hidden Vale, a short drive from the city. If I can convince you to spend more that the day in the area, you must check in to this gorgeous country retreat.
Head to the Peak Organics at Ivory’s Rock on the weekend. There is a very small local market set up where growers sell their garden haul from the week. The market sits in a protected plot that has been planted out with vegetables. You can wander the small property and talk to local growers while the kids check out the chicken running freely in their pen. It’s an invaluable experience to teach them where their food comes from and meet a few locals along the way.
It is a fun family destination
While many families head south to the Gold Coast from Brisbane in search of bright lights and loud entertainment for their kids at its busy theme parks, Ipswich offers a beautiful point of different. This is a place where you can take the kids out in nature, without having to spend hours pack up the car for a week of camping or road tripping. Grab your bikes and head to Hidden Vale Adventure Park or Castle Hill or simply throw the kids in the car and head for a family day out around Ipswich.
With ample walking trails from White Rock’s multi-user trails, protected nicely from the sun by the scrub, to Hardings Paddock where there are a number of trails with a well equipped and sheltered picnic areas where you can enjoy lunch together afterwards.
Kholo Gardens offers a quiet and picturesque spot to set up a picnic and see some local wildlife with plenty of space for the kids to run around while Queens Park is buzzing on the weekends no doubt owing to its perfect mix of activities and space to spread out and relax on the grass. This kids will love the playground at the base of the hill the park occupies, not far from the Ipswich Nature Centre (opened in 1936) where you can wander the boardwalks to see native animals like wombats, wallabies and quolls. There is also a Japanese garden, the Nerima Gardens perched at the top of the hill which is lovingly maintained.
It will take you back in time
Walk to Top of Town where you can peruse the wares in vintage stores, marvel at the restored heritage buildings on Brisbane Street and stop in at the Old Flour Mill, Rafter and Rose or the very quaint Deann’s Coffee House to learn about their unique stories over a great cup of coffee. Stop in for a beer at Pumpyard Bar and Brewery to experience the 88 Limestone Precinct or visit The Workshops Rail Museum to learn more about the impact of the railway had in the area and the state at large.
If you are willing to venture further, drive out to Woodlands of Marburg for brunch and some time exploring the homestead. There are pieces of history to be seen on every corner in Ipswich. It’s something that is celebrated beautifully in this city.
It’s worth the drive for lunch
We spent a good deal of our time in Ipswich road tasting local food finds and we were far from disappointed. There are numerous cafes around town for a great coffee, Ellen and Rod is my top pick. For healthy treats stop in at Nourish Real Food Cafe or Urban Pantry in Brisbane Street. Fourthchild and Dovetails Restaurant feel a little more sophisticated and serve large, a la carte meals, making them great pick for a late lunch or dinner. But it’s Homage at Spicers Hidden Vale that is the stand out if you have the time to stop in on the way out of town for dinner.