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While world travel is an experience that cannot be rivalled, not all of us can pack up and trip around the world full time. Luckily there is plenty of adventure to be found close to home and for us, close to home happens to be the western suburbs of Brisbane, in Ipswich, Queensland.
Brisbane’s western suburbs are fast-growing, becoming a massive community in their own right, with parklands and attractions popping up all the time to meet the demand of the growing region. These days there are so many things to do in Ipswich!
While less than an hour from Brisbane city, there is an abundance of great family-friendly activities and day tripson offer to us, however, some of these are much closer to home and are proven favourites with our family and friends. And of course, with our kids!!
So we wanted to share with you our favourite things to do in our hometown, the best kid-friendly things to do in Ipswich QLD!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN IPSWICH, QUEENSLAND
Since becoming parents, our focus has been on finding local destinations that are kid-friendly and fun for all of us. Luckily we have hit the jackpot with some of the great free things to do in Ipswich QLD, that not only keep our kids entertained, but also give us places we can enjoy also as a family.
We are big fans of getting outdoors and having a picnic or just enjoying the space and fresh air for a while.
Ipswich has boomed the last 20 years with the rise of massive housing developments such as Springfield and Ripley. To meet the needs of so many more families, we now have some of the best parks and free outdoor attractions around!
Things to Do With Kids in Ipswich QLD
1. Queens Park
This one was always going to be top of our list as it’s a place we visit often because it is three-fold in family fun and entertainment. Queen’s Park is the home of one of the largest and most well-known parks in the Ipswich region.
The park has been around for as long as I can remember, as it was a place my parents took my siblings and I as kids also. In fact, it was the first park developed in Queensland, designed back in 1862 and remaining a family favourite ever since.
The park has undergone many upgrades over the years, changing with the times to suit the dynamic interests of children and families, with modern play equipment, extensive open spaces and natural bushland and gardens. There is playground equipment to suit both younger and older kids, along with some water features and a limited mobility swing for children with special needs.
There is so much to do when visiting Queen’s Park, easily filing a full day if you wanted to. The visitor centre offers a great educational opportunity for children and adults alike and Queen’s Park Cafe offers delicious meals, plenty of tables for dining and more than enough high chairs to cater for smaller guests.
The staff are welcoming and take great pride in providing quality food and diverse menu options, situated right next to the playground area. Our typical park visit always ends with lunch or refreshments at the cafe.
2. Ipswich Nature Centre
When visiting Queen’s Park, why not take a quick walk across the road and enjoy what is on offer at the Ipswich Nature Centre. Featuring a variety of native Australian animals, the Ipswich Nature Centre is the perfect stop for the animal lover, and an easy add on to your trip to Queen’s Park.
The nature centre underwent redevelopment a few years ago and now offers a beautifully landscaped attraction where you can view animals within their spacious enclosures, from wallabies to emus, lizards and snakes, as well as the endangered bilby, as well as plenty of other Australian favourites.
There is a walkthrough bird enclosure and occasional events at the amphitheatre. This is one of our favourite Ipswich attractions!
And the best part – the wildlife centre has free entry (although a gold coin donation is appreciated) and is open 6 days a week. While it may not be as large as surrounding wildlife parks and zoos with Australian native wildlife around Brisbane, this is a wonderful free activity that will delight all ages.
3. Robelle Domain
Situated a little closer to Brisbane in the Springfield Lakes area, Robelle Domain is one of the up and coming super parks that are popping up around Brisbane and surrounds.
Opened several years ago now, Robelle Domain covers a massive area of land with landscaped gardens, pathways and fountains, treetop walks and a lake. There are several playground areas within the space, and the best part – a mini water park complete with a tipping water bucket and spray jets.
This is extremely popular during the warm weather, which is almost all year round in Queensland. There is also a cafe serving light meals and refreshments.
The parklands are a perfect location for a family picnic or BBQ, or head over to the cafe for some light meals and refreshments. We utilise the open spaces for our regular playgroup catch up with friends too, since the kids, no matter how young, enjoy a bit of outdoors time.
4. Orion Lagoon
In 2015, Robelle Domain expanded to open a free lagoon attraction where families can swim under the supervision of qualified lifeguards. The Springfield Lakes lagoon has extended hours during the warmer months so that your family can enjoy a safe swimming space without the costs of a public pool.
The Robelle Lagoon is similar to the swimming facilities at Brisbane’s South Bank. More details can be found on their website.
5. Ipswich Art Gallery
There are plenty of educational and creative places to visit in Ipswich as well and the Ipswich Art Gallery is a wonderful place to visit with kids. They have plenty of art on display that changes often, but the best part is the Children’s Gallery upstairs!
The Children’s Gallery is usually free and always has something fun to do as a family. The exhibits change every few months and a new creative learning opportunity is set up.
Some recent examples have been wind tunnels so that kids could create their own flying kraft out of paper, fabric, and other bits and pieces then test them out in the wind tunnels to see if they fly. Or spriographs where everyone can create their own spirograph masterpieces to take home.
When there is an attraction with a cover charge at the Children’s Gallery, it is always very affordable, at around $7 each. You can visit Ipswich Art Gallery to see what the latest Children’s gallery fun is.
6. Ipswich Library
The Ipswich City Council has several libraries and mobile library sites available to local families. However even if you are just visiting for a short time, you will often find great free activities for kids held at the libraries each week.
This might be storytime or a craft activity. They have lots on during school holidays too, so it is well worth checking out.
7. The Workshops Rail Museum
Most kids love trains, so having a place they can go to walk through old trains and play in railway-themed kid zones is sure to be a winner! The Workshops Rail Museum in North Ipswich is a great family attraction.
They have special events through the year too, including free entry days a couple of times a year so keep an eye out! Kids especially love when Thomas The Tank Engine comes to visit!
8. Inflatable World Ipswich
One of our kids favourite places to go in Ipswich is Inflatable World. This is the perfect way to wear them out with a couple of hours of fun and exercise… plus we usually join in! Inflatable World Ipswich is located at the Showgrounds and only open on weekends and school holidays. Sessions are for 2 hours and kids under 4 come with a free adult pass too so you can join the little people. There is a junior area and 2 other sections full of jumping castles, slides and other inflatable fun.
If Inflatable World is not enough fun for you, Ipswich has a few other great kid activity places too with Just Jump at Redbank, with trampolines and inflatables, plus a trampoline park Spring Loaded in West Ipswich.
9. Catch a Movie – Cinemas Ipswich QLD
Sure, you can see a movie anywhere and it’s nothing really exciting to include cinemas on this list, however in case you are looking for rainy day activities in Ipswich, the cinema is always a winner and Ipswich has several of them! Limelight Cinema is located at Riverlink Shopping Centre, Cineplex at Redbank Plaza and Event Cinemas at Orion Shopping Centre.
Plus Ipswich still has a functioning drive in that runs every Saturday night – Tivoli Drive-In. It is a church-owned facility which means movies aren’t the latest cinema releases but they are recent releases, plus you only pay $10 per car making it a really cheap night out! Check out the movie schedule on their website.
10. Get Outdoors at White Rock Conservation Park
Located in the booming Redbank Plains area is a perfect family day out at White Rock Conservation Park. White Rock has several walking trails at different levels of difficulty, whether you want a casual stroll with the kids or something more challenging. There is even a horse riding track too.
There is plenty of space for picnics and enjoying the great outdoors and it is completely free to access during opening hours.
11. See a Performance
Ipswich is home to two theatres that run regular performances and concerts throughout the year. The Ipswich Civic Centre located in the centre of town is the biggest venue in the city for touring bands and shows, which means there is something happening there almost every day of the year.
Or for smaller plays and performances, the Ipswich Incinerator Theatre, which as the name suggests is a heritage-listed waste incinerator that has been converted into a stage. For performances and upcoming events, check the website.
Here are some other great things to do in Ipswich and the Western Suburbs below:
One of the best things about staying in Ipswich is the fact you are central to Brisbane and Toowoomba/Granite Belt areas. This is the perfect half way point to go enjoy some city life then head the other direction down the highway for a taste of country living. Essentially Ipswich is one great big country town.
Here are some accommodation Ipswich QLD options:
Metro Hotel Ipswich International
The Ipswich International is in the Ipswich city centre, making it a convenient location to stay, with food, shopping and attractions nearby. It is a 4 star hotel and close to public transport and the Ipswich Civic Centre, so it is perfect for stays that include a performance.
Oaks Aspire Apartments Ipswich
We have had family stay at Oaks Aspire when visiting for Christmas and they could not speak better of it. We even had permission to have a Boxing Day family BBQ in their downstairs community area, which was perfectly positioned next to the pool. The apartments have a beautiful view of St Mary’s Cathedral too.
Pumpyard Bar & Brewery – Great for foodies and craft beer lovers
Rafter and Rose – another popular brunch or lunch spot
Queens Park Cafe – casual dining great for lunch with the kids
Indian Mehfil – The best Indian food in town
Getting to Ipswich
How Far is Ipswich From Brisbane?
Ipswich is around half an hour from Brisbane city, making it a quick and easy alternative to staying in the city if you are visiting Queensland. It is a cheaper option than city apartments, or great for a day trip to check out some of the Ipswich attractions and scenery.
How Do You Get to Ipswich?
Ipswich has a good public transport system with Queensland rail trains running throughout the day, with multiple train stations located within Ipswich suburbs. There are also buses running to areas where trains do not, plus Uber and taxi services available throughout the city.
If you have your own private transport, it is easy to get around Ipswich and the perfect option to take day trips out west, to the Gold Coast or to Brisbane.
The nearest airport to Ipswich is Brisbane Domestic and International Airport, which is around 45-60 minute drive depending on traffic and time of day.
There is plenty on offer in Brisbane’s western suburbs around Ipswich for families, from quick park trips to full-day activities. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of looking just outside your door to see what great treasures you can find and you never know when you may be in the area and looking for something exactly like this to do.
Looking for more family fun around Ipswich? Take a drive to Colleges Crossing for playgrounds, open spaces, a cafe and the chance to kayak or canoe up Brisbane River.
Do you have a favourite local spot you always return to?