Taking the Cobb and Co country drive to Grandchester

Ipswich has its fair share of traditional style buildings, history and beautiful countryside so we decided to take a road trip to see what we could find.
09 Oct 2020
Elaine Hill, Photograher

Our day started with breakfast at Fourthchild Café Restaurant and Lounge Bar, 215 Brisbane Street, Ipswich.  This deceptively large restaurant offers a great selection for breakfast.  The building has plenty of seating from inside towards the back of the premises and extends out onto a decking area.

Fourthchild Cafe breakfast

Fourthchild is currently open 7 days a week offering meals throughout the day, an extensive cake cabinet out the front and take away options.   We dined inside and decided to fuel up with a healthy breakfast board containing granola, nuts, fruit bread, yoghurt and fruit to get us ready for our car journey into the country.

Fourthchild cake cabinet

The building is filled with character, brick and low lighting and contains plenty of charm.  It is a very popular restaurant and was extremely busy, so make sure to book.


After filling up, we ventured out onto the Cobb & Co tourist drive which starts from North Ipswich and in its entirety will take you out to Toowoomba, but we went as far as Grandchester.  The route follows the rail line and is approximately 37km to Grandchester taking in vast open fields, farm land and small country towns such as Rosewood en route.  The drive was great, with long open roads and beautiful scenery.

Grandchester scenery

On arrival into Grandchester, we veered from the Tourist Drive and headed towards the Hidden Vale Adventure Park which shares an entrance with Spicers Hidden Vale retreat.  Unfortunately the day was showery, so we didn’t go for a long hike as we had hoped, but did manage to see some wildlife (plenty of kangaroos), spectacular views and take a short walk around the top of the hill.  The Adventure Park is home to many walking/hiking trails and is used by bike enthusiasts with many tracks available (over 110kms of trails – some easy and some much harder).  If you don’t have an appropriate bike, they have this covered and can organize hire for you.


With the location being so close to Spicers, once you have worked up an appetite at the adventure park, it is time for lunch!  The staff at the retreat were very accommodating when we popped into the chef-hatted Homage Restaurant.

Inside Homage

We were too early to dine in, but enjoyed a hot beverage and had a look around the relatively new venue where Homage has been operating since February 2020.  The dining area is vast and affords magnificent views from its French doors leading out onto a terrace.

Homage view

We walked across to Homage’s old home The Barn which is still open and used for more informal gatherings and offers a takeout menu.

The Barn

The Barn is very cosy, with a fireplace, heaters and blankets available to use.  The food is cooked on a large barbecue outside and smells spectacular.

Steak sandwich from The Barn

The menu has three options from chicken, steak sandwiches and burgers. The food was delicious, quickly served, and we sat in very cosy surroundings looking out of the barn doors to stunning country views.

Spicers views

Having eaten and walked around it was time to make our way back – the family day out was hailed a success!  We would recommend anyone to get out and about in this beautiful area for a bit of adventure and a culinary experience right on your doorstep.

Spicers Hidden Vale
Elaine Hill Photograher
Hi, my name is Elaine Hill and I am currently situated in Springfield within the Ipswich region. Having emigrated from the UK some 10 years ago, me and my family (husband, two children and various animals) I have to say we feel we are settled into the best area around. As well as photography, we love to go for walks in bushland, family barbecues, and enjoy the beautiful parks and beaches around. It is far removed from the lifestyle that we had in England. We originally come from Somerset, a county renowned for its cider and rolling countryside, however the weather – well we all know what the English weather is famous for! I have been photographing now for some three years, which started out as a hobby but has rapidly turned into a great love of mine and helps keep anxiety at bay. There is nothing more I enjoy than travelling around this beautiful area photographing walks, trails, parks, wildlife and the wonderful cafes and restaurants in this region with the family! Feel free to say hi if you see me on your travels.

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