Ipswich is a small city in Queensland on Brisbane’s doorstep. Named after the Ipswich in England, it’s 30-minute drive Brisbane’s CBD and could have become the state’s capital. With thousands of heritage buildings that tell the story of a rich historical past, parks and nature, there are many things to do in Ipswich.
Ipswich’s rich past makes it a desirable getaway for history lovers, who will enjoy wandering past elegant architecture. Queensland’s oldest provincial city provides a well-preserved connection to the past, but it also has a vibrant city culture with bars, restaurants and fun after dark. Ipswich is a growing destination of good food and beer lovers.
- 20 Things to do in Ipswich
- Ipswich Restaurants and Food
- Wildlife and Nature
- Culture and History in Ipswich
- Shopping in Ipswich
- Accommodation In Ipswich
20 Things to do in Ipswich
Ipswich Restaurants and Food
1- Enjoy a Long Lunch At Homage
The restaurant’s name reflects the homage it pays to the land and the bounty of produce grown in the region.
The restaurant is an hour’s drive from Brisbane on a vast property, and part of Spicers Secret Vale.
The decor is a fusion of contemporary and classical, with high ceilings, wood and leather, and floor-to-ceiling rock fireplaces to warm up in winter.
Chef Ash Martin is a passionate advocate for the paddock to plate philosophy and the team sources sustainable, ethical, organic ingredients from the surrounding areas.
Vegetables, fruit and herbs are harvested daily from the restaurant’s garden or local farmers, including eggs from the resort’s hens and honey from their beehives.
There’s a smokehouse, preservation room and free-range beef comes from local farms.
It’s the place to settle in for a long lunch while admiring country views.
Homage is at 617 Grandchester Mount Mort Rd, Grandchester.
2- Drink Beer At The Pumpyard Bar and Brewery
The former Technical College, which opened in 1901, is home to the Pumpyard Bar and Brewery.
It’s the local hotspot for craft beer, cool music and a relaxed Queensland vibe.
Munch on a juicy burger or choose from a menu of American comfort food, such as chicken parmigiana, pizza, or deep-fried camembert wedges.
4 Hearts Brewery produces chemical-free beers made with local ingredients and is committed to sustainability.
Their beers – Sunshine Lager, Super Model Pale Ale, Kickback Red IPA, Bremer Brown Choc Hazelnut Porter – are brewed naturally and in line with the German Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law).
Pumpyard Bar and Brewery is at 88 Limestone Street, Ipswich.
3- Dine At Dovetails
While at the Pumpyard, dive into Dovetails for a delicious modern Australian meal prepared with fresh local produce.
Expect Wagyu striploin served over sauteed wild mushrooms in soy butter with wasabi aioli and fresh horseradish.
Fancy a meal of lightly fried crocodile tail seasoned with native herbs and served with rosella compote, petite salad and lemon?
Dovetails Restaurant is at 88 Limestone St, Ipswich.
4- Breakfast At Queen’s Park Cafe
Queens Park Cafe is an excellent spot for a hearty breakfast, a view of the park and it’s central to several attractions.
After breakfast, walk to the wildlife centre and then wander around the Japanese garden, relax under a large tree.
With all your cafe favourites, the Queen’s Park Cafe menu focuses on local suppliers offering modern Australian cuisine.
Queens Park is one of Queensland’s oldest parks and has been a tranquil place to escape to since 1864.
Find it in Queens Park on Merle Finimore Avenue, Ipswich.
5- Go Craft Beer Tasting At Tap’d
With a decent range of 72 beers and ciders on tap, Tap’d has an impressive craft beer menu, hearty meals and a relaxed pub atmosphere.
Unusual beers include Lindeman’s Apple Beer, which is a traditional Celtic beer drunk during harvest time, the Green Beacon Strawberry Milkshake IPA, Japanese rice larger and gluten-free pale ale.
Tap’d is at the Prince Alfred Hotel at 170 Brisbane Road, Ipswich.
6- Eat Ice Cream At Ungermann Bros
At first glance, Ungermann Bros looks like a traditional 60’s retro ice cream parlour, with chequered floors, retro blue lounges and swing music pumping from a jukebox.
The 18 ice cream flavours are made on the premises and creatively inspired by the region’s local ingredients.
Crazy flavours to try are ‘roasted garlic’, ‘blue cheese and fig’, and ‘salted caramel, bacon and pecan’ and ‘dutch spice’ ice cream.
If savoury ice cream flavours do not excite your pallet, there are sweet combinations like ‘lavender and honeycomb’ or ‘lemon, honey and thyme’.
Ungermann’s is in the Pumpyard precinct near Dove.
7- Watercress Creek Olives
Watercress Creek Olives and Limes is a farm with 1200 olive trees, 400 Tahitian Lime trees.
The business supplies olives and limes to restaurants and stores and produces a range of products such as extra virgin olive oil, chutneys, jams and lime cordial.
A great time to visit is during the Watercress Creek Olive Festival in April.
Drop in to shop, go on a farm tour or have a picnic at the farm.
Watercress Creek Olives is at 53 Bryces Rd, Pine Mountain.
For more things to do in Queensland, read:
Wildlife and Nature
8- Meet The Wildlife At Ipswich Nature Centre
Stroll through an Australian bush landscape past a Noah’s Ark of Australian wildlife.
Meet wallabies, quolls, wombats, emus and explore the nocturnal bilby exhibit, see the birds in the aviary and cuddle a baby at the animal barn.
The centre in Queens Park is free and open six days a week.
Ipswich Nature Centre is at Goleby Avenue, Ipswich.
9- Visit The Wildlife Animal Centre
Delve into animal health, welfare and breeding cycles with the researchers at the Wildlife Animal Centre.
The centre, which is a partnership between Spicers Resort and the University of Queensland, is operated by researches who are passionate about saving local wildlife.
It’s also a training centre for UQ students who have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience handling an assortment of wildlife while learning about conservation and wildlife management.
Wildlife species at the centre include reptiles, fat-tail dunnarts and koalas.
The displays are not set up like a zoo, because the focus of the centre is on caring for wildlife to release them back into nature.
Another project run by the centre is koala tracking and monitoring of koalas that roam around the area.
10- Go hiking
There are around Ipswich has some excellent places for hikers and plenty of hiking trails to choose.
Spring Mountain Conservation Estate has 2,500 ha of rocky outcrops, forests, bluffs and valleys perfect for bushwalking.
Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate has 2,200 ha of forests and volcanic peaks such as Flinders Peak, Mount Catherine and Mount Blaine, with walks to suit all fitness levels.
Culture and History in Ipswich
11- Enjoy A Tea Ceremony at Nerima Japanese Garden
Meandering along the paths past bonsai, ponds and waterfalls in Nerima Japanese Garden is a relaxing way to spend some time.
These Japanese gardens are a place of tranquillity, designed by landscapers from Ipswich’s Japanese sister city from which the garden has inherited its name.
A feature of this garden is its traditional Japanese tea house, where you can join a traditional tea ceremony to experience harmony and peace.
Conducted by Japanese tea experts, the ceremony is also an educational experience to learn about the importance of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Japanese tea ceremonies are on the last Saturday each month and cost $35 a person.
12- Go On A Top of The Town Tour
As Ipswich has many heritage-listed buildings and homes built before World War II, there’s plenty here for lovers of history.
The city was born as a mining settlement in 1827, and most of its cultural heritage and architectural is intact.
Ipswich’s ‘Top of Town’ precinct is a historic area where cafés, restaurants, galleries and shops housed in graceful, heritage-listed buildings.
Head for the block on Brisbane Street between Ellenborough and Waghorn Streets to hunt for vintage items, boutiques, homewares, art supplies and crafts.
The Old Flour Mill Building, which was designed by architect George Brockwell Gill, is now a retail centre.
Top of The Town Tour is at 126 Brisbane Street Ipswich.
13- Visit The Ipswich Art Gallery
The Ipswich Art Gallery is a museum that specialises in visual art and social history.
It offers a range of displays, workshops and exhibitions suitable for families.
There’s an impressive children’s gallery with interactive displays for kids under 12 and programs for different age groups.
There are a contemporary art collection, 19th and 20th-century artworks as well as a rotating calendar of exhibitions.
Over 100,000 people visit this gallery each year, which is an achievement for what was once a small gallery in the lobby of the Ipswich Town Hall when it first opened in 1951.
Ipswich Art Gallery is at D’Arcy Doyle Place, Ipswich QLD 4305.
14- Explore The Workshops Rail Museum
If you love the romance of rail travel, The Workshops Rail Museum is a great place to visit because Ipswich has a rich rail history.
One hundred forty-five years ago, Queensland’s first train steamed out of this workshop and had been the construction site for more than 200 steam locomotives.
Thousands of workers have worked in these workshops, and the number of workers swelled during WWII to make it Queensland’s largest employer.
It’s Australia’s oldest continually operating railway workshops.
The museum has lovingly restored carriages and locomotives, along with interactive displays, such as the Diesel Revolution.
The Workshops Rail Museum offers plenty for kids of all ages.
The young ones love the Nippers’ Railway, where they can drive a train and collect tickets, and the ‘Day Out With Thomas’ is the event for kids not to be missed.
The Workshops Rail Museum is at North Street, North Ipswich. Museum heritage tours are twice daily.
15- Drive The Cobb and Co Trail
The Cobb and Co Trail is a 120km historic drive that follows the 1860s Royal Mail coach route awarded to Cobb & Co.
The route is on long open roads following the railway line past open fields, farmland, country towns such as Rosewood en route.
It passes by historic buildings, villages, lookout points, heritage-listed pubs and landmark hotels.
Highlights include Queensland’s oldest Anglican church (St Paul’s Anglican Church), Walloon’s Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park in Walloon and the Cobb & Co Museum in Toowoomba.
Rosewood, Forest Hill and Gatton were three historical pit stops along the way.
Shopping in Ipswich
16- Go Shopping For Antiques
As this is a historic city, shopping for antiques is one of the things to do in Ipswich.
Several antique shops offer vintage wares, but if you only have time for one store, Ipswich Antique Centre is the place to choose.
Ipswich Antique Centre is set within an 1895 heritage-listed building and has several dealers offering a range of items such as jewellery, furniture, pottery and clothing.
Also, visit Vintage Advantage at the Top of Town and Carnegie Antiques is located in the heritage-listed William Berry House.
On display is a collection of vintage furniture and glassware.
Scotland Yard Antiques in Marburg is the place to go for Victorian and Edwardian memorabilia.
17- Shop In A Market
Ipswich has some excellent markets where you can shop for local produce and handmade items. Most markets have food trucks that dish up tasty snacks.
Peak Organics market is open every Saturday and is the place to go for certified organic fruit and vegetables.
Springfield Markets is open on the first Friday evening of the month (3 pm to 8 pm) and has live music, stalls selling crafts, gifts and local produce.
For Handmade Expo Market is open on Saturdays (8 am to 1 pm) and is an excellent market to shop for unique, handmade jewellery and crafts.
Museum Twilight Markets are on bi-annually at the Workshop’s Rail Museum and are an excellent family outing with live music, a range of food trucks and plenty of sweet treats.
Twilight Flicks Outdoor Market is on every second Saturday at Cameron Park.
Food Fair in the Square is the place to go to sample a range of cuisine from around the world.
Ipswich Showplace Markets are on every Sunday at Ipswich Showgrounds (6 am to 11.30 am) and is a recycled and second-hand nirvana.
18- The Soul Nook Collective
The Soul Nook Collective is a boutique store in an old church and a charming spot for a coffee or a picnic in one of the bell tents on the lawn.
Shop for boho fashion, shoes made from recyclable materials, handmade soap, posies and jewellery.
It’s a lovely spot for a casual event, a celebration or private wedding under the trees for up to 30 people (grazing platters and drinks included).
Soul Nook Collective is at 89 to 93 Queen St, Marburg.
19- Take To The Skies In A Hot Air Balloon
For a bird’s-eye view of the region, take to the sky in a hot air balloon with pilot Graeme Day, who has 29 years of balloon flying experience.
It’s a tranquil experience soaring over Ipswich and the Scenic Rim at sunrise from a large wicker basket.
Ipswich’s churches and homes look like dollhouses from the sky and gliding above it will give you a sense of the size of this small city.
Depending on the weather and the route, other potential sightings include Brisbane’s city skyline, Mt Coot-tha, Moreton Bay, Flinders Peak, Mount Tamborine and the Great Dividing Range.
Floating Images is at 259 Junction Rd, Karalee QLD 4306
20- Let Your Hair Down At The Ipswich Festival
A vibrant time of year to visit Ipswich is during the Ipswich Festival in April. There’s a fun program of live music, art, comedy, theatre and markets.
Accommodation In Ipswich
Quest Hotel has modern apartment-style suites and is within walking distance from the centre of town.
Quest Hotel in Ipswich is at 57 to 63 Warwick Rd, Ipswich.