It’s 9AM, the sun’s shining, birds are calling and there’s a whole weekend ahead, just waiting to be filled up with stuff.
You throw on your finest casual attire, grab the spread, pack the Esky and make those last motions towards the door.
Then suddenly, out the corner of your eye, you spot a familiar face. Pressed hard against the window, ears raised, eyes forward, floppy, dribbly and heartbroken. He lets out one last ditch whimper of grief… and you already know he’s coming with you.
But fear not!
It turns out that Ipswich is home to some of the best dog friendly parks and facilities your little lady or fella could hope for.
So why not grab that fluff nugget and bring them along for the ride.
Here’s my pick for the top 5 locations to spend some time with your furry family on your days off – just remember to bring the leash.
River Heart Parklands
This one’s for the casual walker, whose fitness isn’t the best and maybe makes some concerning sounds when exerting themselves.
River Heart Parklands is made up of a series of intermingling boardwalks, water features, seats and barbeques on the edge of our Bremer River system.
It’s a great spot to catch the afternoon light twinkling on the waterway and even better if you and your little mate want to take your time about things.
There’s plenty of shade, heaps of rest stops and a calming aura about the place that just feels welcoming. River Heart is also open from sunrise to 10pm, so those warm summer evenings can be spent wandering the shoreline, amongst a babble of flowing water and the soft buzz of the city above.
For those of us with human children, the parklands also connect to Bob Gamble Park, which is a prime spot to stop and have lunch while the little ones play in the waterpark and doggo keeps a careful eye on the sausages.
River Heart isn’t something you’ll want to miss. So make the time, book in an arvo and enjoy.
Colleges is for the Bob Marley’s of the pooch world. The kind of dog that’s happy to chill out while you set up camp for a few hours, maybe throw down a banquet, roll out the rug and prep those snags in all their juicy goodness.
Set along the banks of the Brisbane River, it’s teeming with open green space, extensive pathways for walkies, a delightful vendor style cafe and even a set of canoe trails leading onto a small island in the middle of the river.
And everything here is of course dog friendly. So that’s a big yes for team brunch at the cafe and a goofy, dribbly smile for anything else that strikes your fancy.
Moreover, the whole area is blissfully positioned amongst a rolling, grassy hill-scape leading up either side of the river and has incredible views stretching upstream, through the bends and contours of one of our most precious waterways.
Prime positioning for sunset is from any elevated locale, wherein your human, canine tag team can bear witness to a picturesque landscape, exploding with birdlife and natural beauty.
Open from 6am to 6pm in summer and to 9pm in winter, other facilities include, BBQ’s, drink stations, sheltered areas, canoe and boat access, toilets and enough space to drop a little music without bothering the neighbours.
For a doggy day out, Colleges Crossing is about as good as it gets. Go where you please and do what you want. It’s a top spot and it doesn’t get simpler than that.
For the explorer, who doesn’t mind a good walk, a bit of a sit down and maybe a cafe stop.
It kind of goes without saying that having access to extensive parklands means ample room for running around, so if your particular doggo is a bit of a mover, this place is for you.
At Robelle you’ll quickly find a number of stages including, The Circle crested with eateries and often the host to a regular Springfield markets (also dog friendly), the parklands weaving away through paperbark bushland to the south and a prominent lake with water features trickling away out front.
Likewise a convenient pathway/ boardwalk system can be found snaking its way throughout, so it’s pretty self explanatory navigating your way around.
But it’s not all energy busting goodness, there’s also Breakfast at Stephanies to stop by, as well as plenty of chances to kick back on the lawns and have a rest.
Further dining opportunities present themselves at Raw Energy and The Vibe Kitchen & Bar which are in kind, dog friendly and I’ll add a little side note that the pulled pork eggs benny from Lotus café, is mouth wateringly delicious. Much to your fluff nugget’s distress.
Think of Robelle Domain as our own little South Bank in the west, only closer and with free parking.
Joseph Brady Park
For the good boy, who’s just happy being near you.
Joseph Brady Park offers some unique fishing, canoeing and water based recreation opportunities.
Although it’s not a bad idea to set up shop by the barbie and just relax as well. It’s usually among the quieter of locations to visit, so if you have a preference for privacy, it’s most certainly a good call.
At Joseph Brady Park, the idea is to bring the rod, lounge by the water and wrap it all up later with a bit of lunch by the shelter or grassed area.
But mostly, this location is about being peaceful, with yourself and your sidekick, not doing a lot, be it in the water or out of it. Really just decompressing to match the environment.
Like I said, the water based recreation isn’t to be overlooked. But while you’re out there, don’t be surprised if you get carried off to some distant place, lost in thought as you paddle about the shore – Doggo upfront, his life jacket firmly secured and Esky on hand.
If the game is relaxing and getting some quality one on one time with your four legged mate, Joseph Brady Park is where you want to be.
Queens Park and Limestone Park
The big one, for the kitted out human/doggo super team.
At Limestone Park you can loop around and around for an eternity, running, walking and everything in between.
While at Queens park, you can pull it back a little bit and cruise through the arvo with a picnic blanket, maybe a hammock nap, or any form of extended cuddling will suffice. And they’re right across the road from each other!
Additionally, the whole area is more than 150 years old and is therefore absolutely covered in historic architecture to admire while the shade of an equally old blend of Bunya Pines and Fig trees, encloses Queens Park in particular, as its own little oasis in the city.
There’s also a puppy friendly cafe conveniently placed on the top side of Queens Park, so you can recharge a little bit, throw back a milkshake or just take a minute while the squish master has a bit of a snooze on the deck.
So basically, if you’ve got the gear for some mobile pooch hydration/sanitation action and the right stuff to prep a killer picnic on the fly, you can rock and roll for hours out here and have a ball.
It’s tranquil, teeming with life, multi-purpose and heaps of fun. Let’s face it, this one’s a little bit owner-centric but we can keep that to ourselves.
So the next time your little compadre is looking up at you with those big sad eyes, take them out to one of the many dog friendly locations available in Ipswich. You won’t be disappointed.
Note: Dogs aren’t allowed into the Ipswich Nature Centre or Nerima Gardens.