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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Ipswich Queensland, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a list of the 50 best activities and attractions in Ipswich – our hometown! So you’re getting the local’s guide on all the best things to do, best places to go, great eats and hidden gems!
From exploring the natural beauty of the area to making the most of the best free activities in Ipswich, there is something for everyone.
And if you’re visiting with kids, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered too. Keep reading for our top recommendations on family-friendly fun in Ipswich, QLD!
A Local’s Guide To Ipswich, Queensland
We don’t travel full time but we do like to make the most of our adventures near and far, even when we are at home.
Luckily there is plenty of adventure to be found close by 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, making it an increasingly popular day trip from Brisbane!
There is an abundance of great family-friendly activities and 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 family-friendly activities to do in Ipswich QLD!
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks:
- Best things to do in Ipswich with kids: Queens Park, Robelle Domain Parklands, Workshops Museum and Ipswich Art Gallery
- Best way to cool down in summer: Orion Lagoon, Ripley Splash N Play, Bob Gamble Parklands and Bundamba Swim Centre.
- Best nature trails: White Rock, Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
- Best places to eat: Dovetails, Phat Boyz, Indian Mehfil
A Brief History Of Ipswich
Ipswich is one of the oldest cities in Queensland, having been first established back in 1827 as a convict out-station.
After this time, it became known for its coal and limestone industries, Bremer River port and railways.
Nowadays, the historic mining town of Ipswich is home to over 200,000 people and continues to grow as a gateway between the city of Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs regions
Ipswich boasts a rich history and heritage that can be seen throughout the city, especially in its charming architecture.
Where Is Ipswich?
Ipswich is located in Southeast Queensland, around a 40-minute drive from Brisbane CBD. It is approximately 80km from Toowoomba.
How To Get To Ipswich
There are a few options for getting to Ipswich from Brisbane. You can drive, of course! But if you don’t want to deal with traffic and parking, there are also regular trains that run from Brisbane City to the many Ipswich train stations, as well as bus routes and rideshare options.
The nearest airport to Ipswich is Brisbane Airport, which is approximately a 45-minute drive, depending on traffic.
Best Time To Visit Ipswich
The Southeast Queensland region, where Ipswich is located, has a subtropical climate. This means that it experiences hot summers and mild winters.
The average temperature in Ipswich ranges from 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 Fahrenheit). December to February is typically the hottest time of year, while June to August is the coolest.
We tend to sit around 4 degrees hotter in summer and 4 degrees cooler in winter compared to Brissie! However, there is really no bad time to visit Ipswich!
Best Places To Stay In Ipswich
When it comes to accommodation, this is one area that Ipswich doesn’t do as well as many other cities. In saying that, there are more than enough options for accommodation to suit different budgets. And the fact that being as close to Brisbane as it is, you can easily stay closer to the city anyway!
If you are looking for a place to stay in Ipswich itself, check out:
- Oaks Ipswich Aspire Suites – This is where our extended family often stay when they are in town and they recommend it! Walking distance to the city centre and it has a pool.
- Quest Ipswich – Highly rated and close to the Ipswich Showgrounds
- Spicers Hidden Vale – Located in Grandchester, 30 minutes from the CBD, this is a luxury retreat experience perfect for a romantic getaway!
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s get into our list of the best things to do in Ipswich, Queensland!
Best Things To Do In Ipswich
There is a tonne of great things to do in Ipswich, Queensland that are perfect for locals and visitors alike! Whether you love the outdoors, are looking for top things to do in the city of Ipswich as a family or are keen to enjoy the nightlife, you will find something to suit you!
1. Visit The Workshops Rail Museum
If you are looking for a family attraction that can easily fill in a half or a full day, this is a fantastic choice! The museum is a great activity for the whole family, especially if your kids love trains! Even if they don’t…
The Workshops Rail Museum is located in North Ipswich and is home to a collection of over 60 locomotives and carriages, as well as interactive exhibits and displays, train simulators, steam trains and play areas for the kids.
We have visited many times over the years and as our kids get older, they find even more reasons to love the Workshops Museum.
This is a perfect option for visiting over the school holidays. They have a train model room suited to younger kids and toddlers plus a train station playground with bikes and other ride ones, just to name a few of the fun areas kids will love. There is even a mini science centre.
Watch a video from our most recent visit:
They sometimes have special events with free entry or their annual Day Out With Thomas when Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends take over the museum!
Prices start at $14.50 for adults and $11.50 for children. Family passes are also available.
2. Ipswich Nature Centre
This is a great option if you are looking for free things to do in Ipswich with kids. In fact, Ipswich has a lot of free attractions for families! The Ipswich Nature Centre is located in Queens Park and all they ask is for a gold coin donation.
The Nature Centre is open every day and has a range of different animal exhibits, including kangaroos, reptiles, wombats, dingoes, emus and farm animals. They even have some precious bilbies, one of Australia‘s most endangered animals.
The animals that call the Ipswich Nature Centre home are animals that have been rescued and would no longer be able to live independent lives in the wild.
Keep your eyes peeled as you walk along the many boardwalks and pathways as you will spot lots of huge lizards and birds who call the Nature Centre home too.
3. Stay And Play At Queens Park
You can easily turn your visit into a full day at Queens Park, The Ipswich Nature Centre and the other surrounding attractions. This is by far one of the free things to do in Ipswich, with it being one of the oldest parks in the city.
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 me 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 is huge, with loads of playground areas, including a water play area, a flying fox, swings, slides and tunnels galore.
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 are also plenty of picnic areas and BBQs if you want to make a day of it.
Queens Park Cafe and Visitor Centre will add to your experience for a family day out.
4. Visit The Japanese Garden
Then before you finish your day at Queens Park and the Nature Centre, pop into Nerima Gardens for a stroll through the beautifully maintained gardens.
The Japanese Gardens are located near the main entrance of Queens Park on Brisbane Street and are open every day from dawn to dusk.
The gardens were created in honour of Ipswich’s Japanese sister city, Nerima. The relationship officially formed with the city of Nermia in Japan on 15 October 1994, due to the many parallels between Ipswich and Nerima.
They have since become one of the most popular attractions in Ipswich for both locals and visitors.
5. Ipswich Art Gallery
Another popular free attraction in Ipswich is the Ipswich Art Gallery which is a great little gallery to appreciate some local artists.
However, we love it best for visiting with kids!
There is always something fun for the kids to do when they visit the Ipswich Art Gallery, with a dedicated Children’s Gallery upstairs that rotates exhibitions throughout the year.
Most of the time, these exhibitions are free and they are always hands-on fun! From wind tunnels to craft stations, shadow puppets and building blocks, you can easily spend an hour or two at the gallery with kids.
When the upstairs gallery is getting ready for a new featured exhibit, they move the fun downstairs so the kids can enjoy creative fun every time they visit. This is definitely one of the best regional art galleries around!
6. Robelle Domain Parklands
Robelle Domain Parklands is another great place to take the kids for a day out.
The parklands are located in the greater Springfield area, halfway between Ipswich and CBD and Brisbane and are made up of several different sections.
There are playground areas and a splash park, complete with a tipping bucket that is perfect to cool off on a summer day (or most of the year-round in sunny Queensland).
There are huge open spaces to enjoy a picnic or kick a football around along with walking tracks, bridges and beautiful bushland areas to explore. The parklands are right next door to Orion Shopping Centre, and another popular free Ipswich attraction – Orion Lagoon!
7. Go Swimming At Orion Lagoon
If you want to keep cool in summer, the free swimming lagoon is always a popular choice! Orion Lagoon is made up of several swimming pools, ledges and fountain areas, making it a fantastic community facility.
There are changing rooms, a cafe and plenty of places to set up a gazebo for the day. And if you do plan to spend the day there, you may want to do this as there is not a lot of shade around the pool!
They have lifeguards on duty year-round:
- Summer (September – April): Monday to Sunday: 5.00 am – 9.00 pm
- Winter (April – August): Monday to Sunday: 7.00 am – 5.00 pm
8. Ripley Splash N Play
By now you might be starting to realise that Ipswich is home to some incredible playgrounds and parklands! It really is a wonderful city to visit with kids.
Another popular choice for both a playground and a place to cool off is Ripley Splash N Play in South Ripley. Here you will find a fantastic climbing adventure playground, slides, flying fox and bike tracks, but the big appeal tends to be during the warmer months with the splash playground.
Water jets and streams are a perfect safe option for water play for kids of all ages!
Plus for mum and dad, there’s a cafe to grab yourself a coffee and cake before finding yourself a shady spot under a tree!
Our kids also love the Rocket Playground nearby – Faye Carr Park. This one is great for adults too with a free outdoor gym.
9. Try The Local Brew At Pumpyard Bar & Brewery
If you’re after something a little more grown-up, Ipswich is also home to Pumpyard Bar and 4 Hearts Brewery.
The Pumpyard has been operating since 2013 and was one of the first craft breweries in South East Queensland.
They offer both indoor and outdoor seating areas in the historical “88 Limestone” Pumpyard complex with fantastic food and of course, great craft beer! At times they will have live music playing on the deck too.
This is where you will also find one of our favourite places to dine, Dovetails, with a delicious modern Australian menu, set in the beautiful historic building. Brunch is my favourite reason to visit!
10. Grab An Ice Cream At Ungermanns
Love ice cream? Who doesn’t! Ungermann Brothers Ice Cream has become a popular choice for dessert in Ipswich. Located in the 88 Limestone Pumpyard precinct, their gourmet ice cream flavours are truly unique!
They have since also opened UBs Milkbar in the centre of Ipswich, with a burger, shake, waffle and dessert menu if you’re looking for that retro diner experience they do so well!
11. Head To The Markets
There are several regular markets that take place in Ipswich each month.
Many of these are held weekly, such as the Ipswich Showplace Markets (Sunrise Discovery Markets), held every Sunday morning from 6 AM until midday at the Ipswich Showgrounds. Here you will find a mix of pre-loved items, handmade wares, plants, food and fresh produce.
Springfield Markets are held on the first Sunday morning of every month at Robelle Domain and 3rd Sunday of every month at Springfield Central’s Main Street.
You will also find monthly markets at Walloon, Ripley and in the Nicolas Street Precinct in the centre of town. Check here for the latest market dates and times.
12. Get Outdoors At White Rock Conservation Park
Located in the Redbank Plains area, if you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors, White Rock Conservation Park is a fantastic option.
White Rock has several walking trails at different levels of difficulty, whether you want a casual stroll with the kids or something more challenging, you will find something to suit. There are horse riding trails as well!
There is plenty of space for picnics and enjoying the great outdoors and it is completely free to access during opening hours.
White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate is also a popular option for mountain biking in Ipswich too!
13. Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
If you’re after another option for something a little more active, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) is perfect!
The trail is 161km long and is used for walking, cycling and horse riding. It follows the disused railway line from Wulkuraka that commenced construction back in 1884, winding its way up the Brisbane Valley.
Some parts of the trail pass by some really interesting old rail and mining relics too.
It is currently Australia’s longest rail trail and passes through some stunning scenery and through many small towns, with grand old pubs and landmark heritage buildings.
You can easily enjoy just a small section of the trail on foot or by bike (or scooters with the kids) or plan a longer day trip or multi-day trip where you stop and stay along the way.
Out There Cycling offers mountain bike hire and shuttle services for anyone planning a longer trail ride.
14. Go On A Heritage Trail Of Ipswich
Ipswich has a long and interesting history dating back to its establishment as a penal colony in 1827.
You can easily dig into the rich history of Ipswich by doing a Heritage Trail. These self-paced trails are a great way for history buffs to get to really know the city of Ipswich.
There are cultural Heritage Trails for kids too, making this a fun way for families to explore the city and learn a little about how it once was.
Find information about the Ipswich Heritage Trails and historical markers online or visit the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre to find out more.
15. Visit The Llama Farm
Did you know there is a llama farm in Ipswich? Located just out of town in Pine Mountain, The Llama Farm is open to the public for tours on weekends and during school holidays and it is a fantastic experience!
Not only will you see Queensland’s largest llama herd, but also meet an array of other animals that call the farm home, from camels to donkeys, sheep and Macca the Alpaca.
We loved our visit to the Llama Farm! We did the Faces of the Farm tour experience and highly recommend it! You can see how much fun we had in our video above.
They also do sunset llama walks where you can lead your own llama companion on an afternoon stroll along the banks of the Brisbane River.
16. Picnic At Kholo Gardens
Another great spot to lay down your picnic rug and enjoy the outdoors is Kholo Gardens.
Kholo Gardens is a large parkland area located in Ipswich. The gardens feature walking trails, a pond and plenty of picnic tables and BBQs.
There is also a chapel and function space here, making it a great spot for wedding ceremonies and special occasions.
Take care where you walk during the hot summer days though, as anywhere with natural bushland is a haven for wildlife, including snakes.
17. Bob Gamble Park
Yet another favourite park in Ipswich is Bob Gamble Park, located alongside the Bremer River. Here you will find a fantastic playground suited to older and younger kids as well as a fun splash park and water play area.
At the top of the park there is also a free outdoor gym, with lots of different fitness equipment for community use.
Follow the boardwalks from Bob Gamble Park to River Heart Parklands. This is a lovely stroll alongside the river.
18. Ipswich Libraries
If you are an Ipswich local and looking to find a new book to read, the Ipswich Libraries have several sites around town to browse and borrow, including a Library Hub at Karalee.
Although, if you are just visiting, the Ipswich Children’s Library in Nicolas St Precinct in the Ipswich city centre is also a great free activity to do with the kids.
Here you will find regular playgroups and story time sessions, as well as some fun interactive activities to keep the kids entertained.
There are wind tunnels that kids can have fun with, watching pieces of cloth fly over their heads and out the other end of the tunnel. There are also some other interactive activities, plus loads of reading nooks to curl up and read a book together.
19. Try The Cafes
Ipswich is home to some wonderful cafes, with new ones popping up all the time. Some of the most popular include Rafter And Rose, Fourthchild and Ellen and Rod.
Just as the bigger cities such as Melbourne are making little alleyway funky cafe scene popular, even Ipswich has this same cafe charm if you know where to look!
20. Take A Ghost Tour
Just as any town with history, Ipswich has its fair share of ghost stories to tell!
You can explore some of these on a Ghost Tour with a local tour guide. Different tours will take you to different parts of Ipswich’s historic centre, such as the Ipswich CBD or the Ipswich Cemetary.
Or for something truly special, take the Haunted Mansion tour through one of the most iconic historic buildings in Ipswich, Woodlands of Marburg. You can even book a stay at the beautiful mansion for afterwards if you dare!
This is one of the most popular event and wedding venues in Ipswich so it really is an interesting look at the darker history of beautiful Woodlands!
21. 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.
22. Ride A Camel
Just 25km south of Ipswich, in the beautiful Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, you will find yourself at Sumer Land Camels. Here you can take a ride on one of these beautiful creatures through the bushland or enjoy a farm tour.
They also have a cafe, food tasting tours and are frequently a part of the regular Farm Gate Trail routes that take you between Ipswich and the Scenic Rim, all the way to the Gold Coast Hinterland.
There are sunset camel ride tours available as well, which make for a romantic evening out with cocktails!
23. Haigslea EWE-Nique Hobby Farm
Yet another great opportunity for families to enjoy a day out with farm animals, EWE-Nique Hobby Farm at Haigslea is just a short drive from the centre of Ipswich.
The farm is open Friday to Sunday mornings or every morning during school holidays and bookings can be made via their website.
Here you can meet sheep, goats, alpacas, geese, chickens and peacocks and grab yourself a coffee from the coffee shed too.
24. Hidden Vale Adventure Park
Located in Grandchester, about 45 minutes drive from Ipswich, is Hidden Vale Adventure Park and great fun in the outdoors.
With 110 kilometres of multi-use trails, this is a great place for runners, walkers, mountain bikers and more to get out and explore the massive nature refuse situated next to Spicers Hidden Vale Retreat.
They offer bike hire and shuttle services so not to worry if you don’t have your own bike!
25. Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Ipswich
There is no better way to see Ipswich than from up high in a hot air balloon!
You will be amazed at the views as you float over the city, taking in all the sights of this historic town. This is an unforgettable experience that you can share with family or friends and one that you will remember forever.
Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights leave from Karalee taking you on a sky-high adventure over South East Queensland.
26. Go Canoeing Or Kayaking
Explore the waterways of Ipswich by canoe or kayak! There are quite a few spots around Ipswich that allow you to get out onto the water for a paddle.
Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve is a popular option for canoeing the Brisbane River with a canoe launch area and expansive playground and picnic areas for families.
For the Bremer River, try the 2km paddle from Cribb Park to the centre of Ipswich for a nice short option or check this guide for other water routes to try.
27. Go On A Country Pub Crawl
There are some fantastic historic pubs in Ipswich and the Scenic Rim area that are well worth a visit (or two). The pubs are often located in small country towns that make for a great day out exploring.
Here are a few worth visiting: Marburg Pub, The Walloon Hotel (formerly the Walloon Saloon), The Rising Sun in Rosewood, The Sundowner in Haigslea and The Commerical Hotel in Redbank.
Make sure you’ve got your designated driver ready for the day!
28. Get Creative With A Sip N Dip Class
Try out some new creative skills at one of the many Sip N Dip creative classes around Ipswich (plus Toowoomba and Brisbane). They have regular classes at venues all around Ipswich, working with a range of mediums.
They supply the materials, instructor, dinner and wine and you get a fun day or night out making a one-of-a-kind creation to take home!
You can find their upcoming classes via their website. Their studio is located in Goodna, with regular Ipswich class locations everywhere from Marburg to Boonah, Brassall and North Ipswich.
More Great Activities In Ipswich For Families
In case you want even more ideas on what to do in Ipswich, here is plenty more inspiration:
- Granchester Model Steam Train
- Inflatable World at Ipswich Showgrounds (weekends and school holidays)
- Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate
- Just Jump! Indoor Play Centre
- National Paintball Fields
- Willowbank Raceway
- Limelight Cinemas at Riverlink Shopping Centre
- RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre
- Watercress Creek Olives and Limes
- Colleges Crossing Recreational Reserve
- Ipswich Antique Centre
- Haig Street Quarry Bush Reserve (great playground and walking tracks)
- iPlay Ipswich or iPlay Redbank
- The Soul Nook Collective Marburg
- Seraphim Escape Room
- Cineplex Cinemas Redbank Plaza
- Skateaway Bundamba
- Bundamba Swim Centre (50m & 25m pools plus kids zone with slide)
- Naughty Little Kids Dairy Farm – Peak Crossing
- Timezone at Orion Shopping Centre
- Queensland Pioneer Railway
- Tivoli Drive-In (Just $10 for a car)
There are also some great annual events that are worth checking out if you’re in town at that time, including the annual Ipswich Festival, Ipswich Show (mid-May), Spark Ipswich (July), CMC Rocks music festival and others that you can find out about via the Ipswich Festivals site.
Best Places To Eat In Ipswich QLD
There are so many amazing places to dine out in Ipswich, depending on what you are looking for. Here are some of our favourite restaurants in Ipswich Queensland:
- Dovetails Restaurant – Our favourite brunch location
- Phat Boyz Smokehouse & Kitchen – Slow-cooked American BBQ, amazing drinks and desserts and a nice country drive to Walloon
- 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
- Ungermann Brothers – Crazy ice cream flavours you have to try!
There are so many great things to do in Ipswich Queensland, for all ages and interests. From parks and playgrounds to museums and cinemas, there is something for everyone in this vibrant town. Be sure to check out some of the amazing restaurants here as well – you won’t be disappointed!
- Flights – We use Skyscanner or WayAway to research, set price alerts and book flights.
- Car hire – compare the best car rental prices.
- Trains & Buses – We book with Omio
- Accommodation – We use Booking.com or Agoda to book most of our hotel accommodation when we travel.
- Travel insurance – Protect yourself and your belongings with Hey Mondo.
- Tours & attractions – Our preferred attraction and tour booking sites are Get Your Guide and Viator. Booking ahead will mean you don’t miss out on popular tours!
This article was first published in July 2015 and updated for 2022.
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