Where to go bird watching and hiking

Looking to immerse yourself in a bit of nature, maybe soak up some tree time out in the country? Here's a list of great places where you can do just that!
10 Mar 2021
Discover Ipswich, Staff Writer

If you’re looking for a place where you can hike and birdwatch, Ipswich is the place for you, there are more than 277 recorded bird species on record in Ipswich.

Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve

Colleges Crossing

Set on the banks of the Brisbane River, Colleges Crossing, is a great spot for a walk and some birdwatching. Look out for pelicans, great egrets, royal spoonbills, black kites and many more species. There’s also a lake for fishing and kayaking, bike and scooter paths and walking tracks. Bring a picnic as there’s BBQ facilities and sheltered tables. 

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

BVRT-6 (1)

The BVRT is the longest rail trail in Australia, at 161km it follows a disused Brisbane Valley rail link that connects Wulkuraka to Yarraman. The Ipswich section is 22km long from Brassall to Fernvale. It winds its way through rural settings and country towns and is perfect for fun family adventures.  Along the BVRT there have been more than 40 recorded species of birds including Australian Wood Ducks, Rainbow Lorikeets, Eastern Yellow Robins and Magpie-larks.

River Heart Parklands

River Heart Parklands

Enjoy the riverside boardwalk at River Heart Parklands and learn while taking in the information boards on the history of the river. There’s 1.2km of wheelchair and pram-friendly boardwalks that lead through to Bob Gamble Park. Stroll through a mini rainforest and past a cascading waterfall and sculpture pond and look up to see the many bird species you can find here. At night there’s a visual lighting display on the river. 

Queens Park

Queens Park

One of the oldest parks in Queensland, Queens Park includes the Japanese inspired Nerima Gardens and the Ipswich Nature Centre which includes a walk in bird aviary with golden whistlers, emerald doves, bush-stone curlews, wonga pigeons and more! Enjoy the green expanse of the park and don’t miss the outdoor chapel (behind the café). 

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate

The Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate covers just over 2,200ha and supports extensive forests and rugged volcanic peaks and slopes including Flinders Peak, Mt Blaine, Mt Catherine and Mt Goolman.  A range of recreational activities are on offer to visitors to the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate including bird-watching, hiking, mountain bike and horse riding (bring your own bike or horse). Hardings Paddock and Flinders Plum Picnic Areas also have barbecues and public toilets.

Purga Nature Reserve

Purga Nature Reserve

For a unique nature walk just 15 minutes from Ipswich, Purga Nature Reserve is a peaceful getaway. It has the largest remnant of Swamp Tea Tree protected in Australia, and there are short, self-guided walks amid the ghostly, ashen trees. The reserve has two Class 2 tracks for easy level walking, including the 350 metre wheelchair-accessible Tea Tree Boardwalk Circuit. The longer Melaleuca Circuit is still a fairly short stroll on flat land, and with the native herbs, wildflowers and ground covers in place, it’s an inviting habitat for birds. Keep your eyes peeled for Eastern Grey kangaroos, koalas and echidnas. There’s picnic tables, compost toilets and drinking water available.

Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve

Denmark Hill

Once you descend the walking tracks amid huge native trees at Denmark Hill, you completely forget that you’re in the city. It’s a popular place for bird watchers, with owls, kookaburras, wrens, finches and others making their homes in the reserve. There have been 54 different recorded species found here including Australian king parrots, rainbow lorikeets, pale-headed rosellas and more. You have a choice of walking circuits that range from 200 to 800 metres. It’s a relaxing walk down to the picnic area where you venture into Triassic Park, complete with a Stegosaurus structure protecting the dinosaur footprints and fossil displays that have been found there. 

Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve

Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve

From culture-rich mining heritage to adrenalin-fuelled downhill mountain biking, Castle Hill is a unique place and offers an experience unlike anything else in the region. For those wanting to discover the Reserves historical significance, take a walk along the Lewis Thomas Historical Trail. Explore the coal mining history of the reserve as you pass open mine tunnels, hand-dug mine shafts and relics of the imposing three storey “Castle” which once towered over Blackstone. 

Robelle Domain

Robelle Domain

The Robelle Domain parklands, in Springfield Central, offer visitors a rainforest walk, waterfalls, water play areas, bike tracks and more. Robelle Domain has an 11 kilometre pathway network for family fun during the day and at night the 9 metre high light tower installations give off a spectacular light and sound show. Across a footbridge is Orion Lagoon – an amazing oasis of interconnected pools of varying depth. While you’re in the area head to Spring Lakes where you can catch glimpses of the cotton pygmy-goose, comb-crested jacana and royal spoonbills amongst other species.

White Rock-Spring Mountain

White Rock Conservation Estate

The White Rock-Spring Mountain conservation estate is also a great place to go walking. Visitors can enjoy the full gamut of outdoor activities including hiking, bird-watching, horse riding (bring your own horse), mountain bike riding and nature study. For the bushwalker, there’s everything from a leisurely 200 metre walk to the more challenging 19 kilometre round trip trail. Look for the uncommon Spotted Quail-thrush searching the leaf litter for insects and seeds. This shy ground-feeder is especially vulnerable to the presence of dogs. You’ll also find spotted pardalotes, rainbow bee-eaters and more, as 138 species have been recorded here.

Discover Ipswich Staff Writer
Rocky the Rock Wallaby is a Sagittarius who lives at the Ipswich Nature Centre and often contributes to Discover Ipswich in his spare time. When he's not busy showing tourists around, blogging or hanging out with his bestie Milly the Wombat, he likes to hit the gym for a leg session, graze on quinoa salad and ponder the possibilities of the universe.

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