Although there is plenty to do around the city of Ipswich itself, it’s when you road trip out to its small rural towns that you really start making memories with your family.
Only 50 minutes from Brisbane or 25 minutes from Ipswich’s CBD, the small town of Marburg is the ultimate in family-friendly activities and relaxation.
Enjoy a picnic in a Bell Tent at The Soul Nook Collective
The Soul Nook Collective is located on The Old Church Grounds in Marburg and it’s absolutely divine.
Private picnics are available Wednesdays through to Saturdays within the peaceful church grounds and there is a package to suit every budget. From a simple picnic rug set up under the trees to the full glam experience of a beautifully boho-styled Bell Tent.
Artisan workshops run regularly including workshops for kids in the school holidays. We joined in a kids workshop and followed it up with our own private picnic in a Bell Tent. It made for some great family bonding, memories, and photographs.
The Old Church itself houses The Soul Nook Collective boutique gift shop and cafe. This is where you will probably find Taryn, the creator/director of The Soul Nook Collective, a place where one-of-a-kind spaces are created for you to enjoy with your loved ones.
Hang out with adorable farm animals at Haigslea Ewe Nique
Located only 10 minutes drive from Marburg, Dave and Penny welcome families to their wonderful hobby farm where both kids and adults can feed and pat the incredibly cute sheep, lambs, goats, alpacas, chickens and geese.
Grab a mini bucket (or two or three) full of carrots and grain on the way in, order a cuppa or snack if you wish, and head on over to the charming undercover area with tables, chairs and cloth-covered hay bales.
Farmer Dave will give you a quick run-down of what to expect and then you will be let loose with your bucket to feed and pat the farm’s furry, woolly and feathered residents.
We were fortunate enough to see twin lambs that had only been born hours earlier totter around the yard. Not even one full day old!
Dave and Penny have a small plant nursery and kids can take home seedlings during the school holidays to pot up themselves and grow at home.
To ensure that every visitor has a great time and gets a chance to feed and pat the animals, numbers are limited per session so bookings are essential.
Explore antiques and sip coffee
Dad, Les Birnie owns Scotland Yard Antiques, an amazing, realistically priced store that offers anything from rustic outdoor settings to fine furniture and everything in between. Knowing only the concept of mobile phones, my young kids loved the collection of antique telephones. There are some beautiful pieces in this store!
Son, Athol Birnie owns Marburg’s newest antique store, The Black Museum. This store adjoins the well-known Scotland Yard Antiques and Athol sources pieces from all over the world.
The Black Museum is open Saturday and Sunday but by appointment only during the week. This shop has amazing pieces and it’s worth giving them a call if you can only visit during the week as they are often not too far away.
Daughter, Emily opened The Special Branch Collective, a retail space offering plants, garden decor and of course … coffee and treats!
If the kids have too much energy at this point, there is a small community park just across the road from all three of these not-to-be-missed stores.
Take a break in Kholo Gardens
Only 17 minutes from Marburg (a great stop off on the way to The Llama Farm below), Kholo Gardens at Pine Mountain is a wonderful place to take a break. It’s also a sacred site for the indigenous Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul People.
There are lovely gardens, defined walkways that sometimes criss-cross over a flowing creek, an established lily pond, bushwalking tracks, wide-open spaces to kick a ball around and beautiful giant Kauri trees and Hoop Pines. Useful facilities can also be found such as barbecues, picnic tables and public toilets.
We particularly enjoyed the peaceful and shady 400-metre walk through Tree Fern Lake before spreading out a rug beside the lily pond.
Feed the Llamas and meet the other farm animals at The Llama Farm
The 80-acre Llama Farm is located only 21 minutes from Marburg (or seven minutes further on from Kholo gardens), but this is no ordinary Llama farm, this is Queensland’s largest herd of Llamas and an experience like no other.
The farm is also home to adorable miniature ponies, stunning peacocks, cute donkeys, sheep, maremmas and even a Flemish giant rabbit.
We fell in love with the gentle baby donkeys who were happy for a cuddle and scratch behind the ears!
Shane from the llama farm offers two different experiences to guests in either a farm visit or a guided llama walk, in which you can choose a llama to walk on a lead along a purpose-built trail on the farm.
Every single one of the llamas has a name and Shane knows all of them. Many of the herd were born and raised here so they are extremely friendly around humans, making for great selfies with your favourite llama.
The llama farm doesn’t have set opening hours so both experiences are by appointment only. Usually, bookings are only available on weekends but additional time slots are available during the school holidays.
Wander through an olive grove and lime orchard and taste test the produce
Watercress Creek Olive and Limes is run by fourth generation farmers in Pine Mountain, Bernard and Lorraine Mahon who began farming olives in 1998. The property now grows three different varieties and Bernard and Lorraine have also added Tahitian Lime trees in the hundreds.
Visitors can tour the olive grove and lime orchard and browse the shelves of the small shop. This is where you get to taste test the various flavoured olives!
The symmetry of the grove and orchard rows are strangely satisfying, silently beckoning you to wander down them and enjoy the rural setting. A picnic between the lime trees would be divine and you can do just that at the annual Watercress Creek Olive Festival hosted by Bernard and Lorraine. The next one will be held in April 2021!
Watercress Creek and Olives and Limes is an enjoyable visit for families, allowing kids to enjoy the Queensland sunshine and race through the rows. Parents, like me, can stroll through at their own pace.
Bookings are required.
Relax in the evening at Tallavalley Farm B&B
Located only eight minutes from Marburg, Tallavelley Farm B&B is an utterly charming three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage set on 50 acres. Driving up towards the house, you will spot cows and horses in the paddocks and you won’t be disappointed with the pretty gardens and outdoor setting surrounding the cottage.
Guests have the entire house to themselves which includes a full open kitchen, living room and large laundry. The front porch has fantastic rural views over the surrounding farmland. You can even bring your dog and horse to stay!
I loved both the indoor fireplace and outdoor firepit and the kids particularly loved collecting chicken eggs and watching the goats headbutt each other. Watching the sunset from a lounger on the roomy porch was the winner in my book!