Things to do
Treasure (and coffee!) hunting in Ipswich
Ipswich is in the middle of a creative revolution with a growing number of artisans and traders throwing their weight behind a new trail, created for lovers of all things antique, vintage and eclectic.
The CRAVE trail (creative – retro – antique – vintage – eclectic) showcases a range of outlets dedicated to all things retro and creative and it’s a treasure-hunters paradise.
Along Brisbane Road and its side-streets you’ll discover some of the district’s best craftspeople and artisans, not only restoring and creating new products but also sharing their skills with workshops and classes for visitors keen to explore their own creative side.
Furniture & Homewares Revival
Furniture & Homewares Revival on Waghorn St is one of those destinations and the first stop for our day exploring the CRAVE trail.
The big, open shed is full of restored and restyled furniture, antiques and vintage homewares. Home-made candles and milk paints are also available – as are workshops on using milk paint and decoupage.
There’s a kids’ space with colouring pens and chalkboards which is a welcome addition for any parent worried about tiny hands on precious things.
R&R Behind Red Doors
R&R Behind Red Doors has a big workshop space where they restore furniture for custom orders as well as teach others the same techniques.
Located right on the main drag in this historic Top of Town area, they also offer workshops on topics such as furniture painting, scrapbooking, kids craft, furniture upcycling and candle-making. Inside the retail space you’ll find a bunch of restored furniture as well as retro and vintage homewares to pore over. It’s an eclectic mix of vintage and retro goods worthy of any shopper’s attention.
ArtTime is a well-stocked arts supplies hub as well as a mini-gallery space for local artists.
In here you’ll find ceramics, framed paintings and paper art by local artists all on display and available for purchase. Of course you can also stock up on art supplies, but if you’re in need of a mid-morning coffee hit, ArtTime also has its own café and small kids’ activity area, which makes it the perfect respite from pounding the pavement on the hunt for retro treasure.
Art & Craft Cottage
Just around the corner from ArtTime you’ll find Art and Craft Cottage which stocks an insane range of yarns, thread and craft supplies and if you time your visit right, you might see keen crafters in the room adjacent working on their creative projects. The workshops often attract day trippers from Brisbane.
The Vintage Advantage
The Vintage Advantage, also right on Brisbane Road is a crazy-eclectic collection of vintage and retro fashion, jewellery, hats, homewares, books and eclectic knickknacks and bric-a-brac. It’s right at home on this stretch, with a heap of charitable second hand stores also nearby for books by the box-load, pre-loved homewares and all sorts of clothing and accessories.
Upcycled Treasure is a compact space crammed full of vintage and hand-made goodies including repurposed doilies, dream-catchers and upcycled treasures as well as craft supplies, this store is conveniently located next door to the uber-popular Rafter & Rose for those needing to refuel between retro-shopping.
Sam Vine and her team at Upcycled Treasure offer a heap of workshops including ‘learn to shabby’ and ‘decoupage and stencils’ which book out very quickly.
Ipswich Antique Centre
Ipswich Antique Centre, right in the CBD and occupying a stunning heritage-listed church hall more than 100 years old, will already be well known to antique collectors.
It’s a veritable treasure trove of vintage jewellery and fashion, homewares and kitsch collectibles, as well as colonial and Victorian English furniture.
A taste of the food scene…
It’s a solid morning of discovery and we haven’t even got past the CBD outlets on the CRAVE trail before grumbling tummies have us distracted. That’s not a problem though, because in the same part of town as all of these vintage gems, you’ll also find a serious treasure trove of cafes and eateries.
Fourthchild had already delivered with the best decaf long black I’ve ever come across as well as delicious home-made sausages and perfectly fried eggs with haloumi on the side for breakfast.
Cactus Espresso Bar saw us through the morning with milkshakes and the most gooey lemon tart this side of the Great Dividing Range.
So for lunch we hit Dovetails, located in historic 88 Limestone Street, with a serious nod to Ipswich’s heritage with branding irons hung on the wall and original features from the old converted Technical College buildings still in place. That’s where the heritage ends though – the menu is totally contemporary and there’s an epic wine list to accompany lunch and dinner. The fact that Ungermann Brothers Icecream Parlour and its adventurous menu and its gorgeous retro styling is located in the same precinct makes it worth the short walk.
It’s well into the afternoon by the time we finish lunch and I’m already wishing we had a second day to complete the creative antique and vintage mission. All in all more than 20 businesses have been included in the CRAVE trail, which extends out of Ipswich CBD to include Marburg, Laidley and Booval.
As well as the expected inclusions in the trail – like antique stores and vintage traders there’s also folks specialising in fabric and haberdashery, sewing machines and sewing workshops, Australia’s longest-running hobby store, quilting and embroidery supplies and plenty of second-hand furniture.
There’s a map in the works for the CRAVE trail but until then, you can get all the details via Discover Ipswich or from Ipswich’s award-winning team of local volunteers at the Visitor Information Centre. You can also check out #craveipsiwch on Instagram.