Top tips to wine, dine, shop and pamper yourself and your besties in Ipswich

Relax and unwind in Ipswich with cocktails, spa treatments and boutique shopping...
10 May 2022
Ashleigh Howarth, Freelance writer

How long has it been since you’ve gone on a weekend away with your besties?

If you have been stuck in the same routine of work, household chores and family commitments, a weekend away to relax and unwind with your girlfriends is just what you need.

From spa treatments to boutique shopping, brunch dates to colourful cocktails, Ipswich has everything you need to recharge your batteries so you can catch up on all the goss! 

Day one – Friday

Warm sticky date muffins at Rafter _ Rose and hot choc

9am – Pack your bags and jump in the car to make the short trip out to the Ipswich CBD, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Brisbane, and a short road trip from the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Sunshine Coast.

The best way to start your girl’s weekend away is by indulging in a delicious brunch and hot cup of coffee.

Luckily, there is plenty of cosy cafes in the middle of town serving up an array of delicacies.

Rafter and Rose is a popular spot with locals, known for its delightful indoor café and shady laneway decorated in pot plants and leafy greens. Everything on the menu is freshly made in-store, so why not try one of their famous croissants. The cabinet is also stocked with fresh doughnuts with house made jam, brownies and cakes, perfect for those who enjoy the sweeter things in life. 

Embers and Twine

10am – No girl’s trip away would be complete without some retail therapy, and without partners and kids, you and your besties are free to shop till you drop.

Ipswich’s Top of Town precinct boasts plenty of charming and eclectic shops you won’t find anywhere else.

Be sure to stop by the historic Old Flour Mill Building, home to Embers and Twine, which specialises in handmade gifts, and The Soul Cauldron, full of spiritual and healing crystals, oils, books and more.

Fashionistas will love browsing the racks at Soul Sista for the perfect chic outfit, the latest seasonal trends at Oh! JoJo Boutique, bohemian dresses at Trottie Becke, and the perfect pair of high heels at Obsession Shoes.

You can complete the ensemble by finding some bling at Brad Keaton Jewellers.

If you’re searching for something a little different, swing by Cute to Boot to find adorable baby and nursery items, pick up some art and craft supplies at Arttime, homewares at Country House Gifts and Fashion, or find a new hobby at CJ Vogler and Son – Australia’s longest running hobby shop.

The Vintage Advantage and Ipswich Antique Centre are the best places to shop for period pieces and the op shops are where you can find plenty of bargains.

Ipswich Art Gallery

2pm – All that shopping is sure to get your belly grumbling, so it’s time to stop for a light lunch. Choose from St Shoebill, Dancing Bean Café, The Retro Diner or Fourthchild Café and Restaurant.

3pm – Drop by the Ipswich Art Gallery for an afternoon of culture. The gallery houses an array of exhibitions for visitors to enjoy, featuring everything from the heritage collection to modern and contemporary art.

4.30pm – It’s time to check into your room for the weekend and freshen up. There are so many great accommodation options in Ipswich, all within a short distance from the Ipswich CBD and Top of Town precinct.

For a traditional bed and breakfast experience, you can’t go past Cumquat House.  Built in 1914, this heritage listed semi-detached building features an array of beautiful rooms offering contemporary elegance, allowing you and your girlfriends to drift off to sleep in your own private room. Cumquat House is conveniently located less than two kilometres from the Top of Town Precinct.

If you’re thinking of a sleepover-style weekend, you and the gals can all stay together in the one room at Oaks Ipswich Aspire Suites. Oaks have one, two or three bedroom suites, and even have a lap pool, gym, sauna and spa. Oaks is conveniently located a few streets back from the Top of Town Precinct.

In addition, Quest Ipswich also offer one and two bedroom suites with kitchenettes. Quest Ipswich is located one kilometre from the Ipswich CBD, near the Ipswich Showgrounds.

Mother's Day lunch at The Cottage Restaurant

6pm – Treat your tastebuds at an award-winning restaurant inside a charming heritage Queenslander built in 1861 at The Cottage Restaurant.

Once a home, the bedrooms have been converted into dining spaces which offers a touch of seclusion. There is also plenty of seating available on the verandah.

This fine-dining restaurant serves up mouthwatering meals such as Brisbane Valley Quail, seared sirloin and 72-hour brisket, Peking inspired duck and for dessert, lavender brulee and mixed berry tart.

Day two – Saturday

Ipswich Nature Centre

9am – After a night of wining and dining, and staying up late chatting, start your day with a hearty breakfast. Head to the Queens Park Café and Kiosk where you can feast on brekkie favourites such as eggs benedict, French toast, smashed avo or homemade granola and yoghurt. Set in the beautiful Queens Park precinct, it’s a beautiful spot to look out over the trees and the buildings that make up the Ipswich CBD, all while feeling the cool breeze in your hair.

10am – Just a short stroll is two of Ipswich’s most-loved nature experiences – The Ipswich Nature Centre.  If you love animals, the Ipswich Nature Centre is a free zoo-like attraction where you can see dingoes, kangaroos, quolls, emus and even a wombat up close. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate how special this place is. 

Pumpyard Bar and Brewery | Ipswich

11.30am – A girl’s weekend away wouldn’t be complete without a little pampering. You and your besties are sure to be left feeling rejuvenated and refreshed after a visit to Ipswich Massage and Herbal Spa. Treat yourself to a massage, facial or body wrap, and spend a few hours feeling comfortable and carefree.

3pm – Let your hair down and enjoy an afternoon/evening on the town. One of the best spots in town for a cold drink, a flavoursome meal and heavenly dessert is the 88 Limestone Precinct.

For a cool brew and a hip vibe, head to Pumpyard Bar and Brewery. This popular watering hole features craft beer on tap, gourmet burgers, pizzas, share plates, live music and more.

If you’re looking for something more elegant, the chefs at Dovetails Restaurant serve an array of meals featuring local produce from across the region. Local favourites include black angus scotch fillet steak, Atlantic salmon, and for dessert, poached pears and apple and rhubarb pie.

If you’re still hankering for something extra sweet, Ungermann Brothers Milk Bar is a short stroll away on Brisbane St. With a modern American Diner feel, it features great burgers, shakes and decadent desserts, such as hand-made ice-cream, waffles and more. You can’t help but think you will see the Fonz walk through the door in any moment!

Studio 188

7.30pm – For a night of entertainment, there are multiple venues you can choose from. The Ipswich Civic Centre regularly host theatre productions, comedians, musicians, and more, so when booking your trip, be sure to check out what shows are coming up.

If live music is more your scene, Studio 188 is your place to see up-and-coming bands, whereas Banshees Bar and Art Space rocks out with karaoke, drag queens and alternative music stylings.

Or if you prefer to catch up on the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Limelight Cinemas has excellent popcorn and your favourite actors and actresses on the big screen.

Day three – Sunday

Ipswich Showplace Markets

9am – One of the best spots to visit on a Sunday morning is the Ipswich Showgrounds, which is a hive of activity. The weekly Ipswich Showplace Markets features stalls selling everything from fresh produce to food and beverages, baked goods, jams, health foods, craft and handmade goods, plants, collectables and more. Chat to the locals and stock up on goodies and bargains to take home with you.

The Soul Nook Collective

12pm – Bask in the glorious Queensland sunshine with a styled picnic at The Soul Nook Collective, a short drive from the Ipswich CBD. You and your besties can be treated to a three-hour luxury lunch package which includes a gourmet grazing platter, non-alcoholic beverages (you can BYO wine and beer), a bunch of fresh flowers to take home, and comfortable seating underneath the trees. You must book in advance.

3pm – After a fun weekend of making memories you and your besties will treasure forever, it’s sadly time to head home. But it’s not goodbye forever – It’s see you real soon!

Ashleigh Howarth Freelance writer
Ashleigh Howarth is a journalist with more than nine years experience in the media industry. Her passions include travelling, dessert bars, cocktails and attending music concerts. She aims to inspire others to unlock their own sense of wanderlust to explore this beautiful big world, whether that be on a local or more global scale. You can keep up to date with her stories by following @journo_ash_ on Instagram.

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