A weekend of Supercars and superfoods in Ipswich
I’ve wanted to go to the Ipswich SuperSprint for a long time and just couldn’t pass it up this year. I’m a big motorsport fan, but my partner… not so much. So, to entice her along, I made a weekend of it. I scoped out some foodie hotspots and bought tickets to The Sum of Us, a play at the Incinerator Theatre. It worked.
After an easy drive from the Gold Coast we arrived at the Metro Hotel Ipswich International. It’s smack-bang in the centre of Ipswich’s CBD and offers free parking (always a winner!), spacious rooms and park views. It’s a great option if you’re looking to fit as much as you can into your stay, with heritage parks, the arts district and restaurants all on your doorstep.
We dropped off our bags and went for a wander through the heritage-listed Queens Park, an inner-city oasis that dates back to the 19th century. The Japanese-inspired Nerima Gardens are perfect for a tranquil afternoon stroll. We picked a spot in the afternoon winter sun and relaxed for a few hours, just people-watching… and thinking about the V8s soon to come.
We worked up an appetite from all that lazing about and decided to check out the new Dovetails Restaurant for dinner. I’d seen some great reviews online and it absolutely hit the mark. Dovetails is set in what was a woodwork section of the Old Technical College and took me back to my own days at Tech. The restaurant embraces its history with seriously impressive timber joinery and columns inscribed with the names of past students. The food was exceptional.
We opted for the Octopus and Chorizo Salad, Twice Cooked Pork Belly and Lamb Loin Nicoise Roulade. We were on the verge of bursting belt buckles toward the end of our meals but managed to also squeeze in the Beeramisu (because of course) and the sticky date pudding.
We popped next door to Pumpyard Bar and Brewery for a couple of cheeky post-dinner drinks. This place has plenty of atmosphere and superb craft beer that’s produced on site. Part of the brewery is displayed inside the venue using spectacular stainless vats and exposed copper pipework. It’d be a prime spot for dinner and drinks with mates. Despite being phenomenally full I did have a glance at their menu and spotted gourmet burgers, pizzas, share plates and beer ice cream. Next time!
After a couple of drinks we arrived at the Incinerator Theatre, another of Ipswich’s heritage-listed gems, for our Saturday night main event. We saw ‘The Sum of Us’, a fantastic play about a widowed heterosexual father and his homeosexual son both trying to find love. It was really nice to get a bit of culture in an historic and cosy setting.
The big V8s day
On Sunday morning we headed out for brekky at laneway cafe, Rafter and Rose. My partner, Chloe, often pours over their Instagram and finds any excuse to visit when she’s in Ipswich. Everything is ethically-sourced and made on the premises. Chloe had the Brioche French Toast and I opted for the bacon jam (!) with eggs. It was insanely good.
We made a quick pit-stop at Ellen and Rod for a second coffee and pastry before driving out to Queensland Raceway for the Ipswich Supersprint. There were great views of the action from all areas of the circuit. We caught some on-track entertainment before checking out the merchandise displays and picking up some hot chips and burgers. We were lucky enough to secure a spot on the hill which became a prime vantage point for the main race.
The vibrations created by those engines ring true to the bone. Everyone was on their feet trying to beat the V8s for noise and it was an overwhelmingly contagious atmosphere. I had an absolutely fantastic time and have already booked a few laps with the V8 Driver Experience to get behind the wheel myself. Ipswich has it all. We departed after a great weekend, with stomachs full of amazing food, minds well relaxed and an album of new memories.