Young children (and parents!) will love how easy it is to experience the great outdoors in Ipswich.
An outing to the bush with young children doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Ipswich has a range of natural areas with the types of facilities that make the whole experience more enjoyable for the whole family.
All of these areas are funded through Enviroplan, which is a council initiative to protect and manage areas with high conservation values, Enviroplan celebrates 25 years in 2021.
Hardings Paddock, Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate
Hardings Paddock is a hidden gem for nature-based exploration. There’s everything you need for a day out – parking, compost toilets, picnic huts and BBQs, and easy trails for children. The bush tucker trail is suitable for all ages and abilities, and you can learn about the Traditional Owner uses for various plants. The Gamlen Circuit is also good for some light adventure.
Hardings Paddock offers the only campgrounds within Ipswich’s conservation estates and is also popular for horse-riding. Mid-2021 there will be even more to discover at Hardings Paddock, with an environmental education hut and other features due to be completed.
Purga Nature Reserve
If you want a quick and easy outing, Purga Nature Reserve is great. As you drive in, keep an eye out for wallabies among the trees. There is parking and picnic tables, and a flat, easy boardwalk circuit that takes you through the endangered Swamp Tea-tree habitat. It’s a great spot for listening to the many bird calls and songs.
Haig Street Quarry Conservation Reserve
Tucked away in the urban centre of Brassall is a fantastic place to take children exploring. Haig Street Quarry has it all – easy bushwalks, parking, toilets, picnic and BBQ facilities and even a playground. The lookout is also a great spot to watch planes taking off and landing at RAAF Base Amberley.
Paperbark Flats, White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate
This is the most popular nature-based recreation spot in Ipswich. The Paperbark Flats day use area has toilets, picnic tables and parking. There are a range of trails available, including some flat and easy options for young children. This estate has some fascinating rock formations, and for a small challenge the Bluff Lookout Circuit provides a nice view from a rocky outcrop.
Flinders Plum, Flinders – Goolman Conservation Estate
It’s a bit more of an adventure to get there, but at Flinders Plum you really feel like you’re exploring the bush. The track to get there is single lane and rough in parts – 4WD recommended. At the end is a day use area with compost toilets, parking and picnic tables.
Best not to attempt the Flinders Peak hike – it’s for experts only – but the Sandy Creek Track is good for children, even if you only go part of the way. It is a service trail that takes you across the creek and under the majestic Hoop Pines. You might find butterflies or wildflowers along the way.