If you’re ready to face your fear of heights, make a day of it by ballooning above Ipswich.
If you’re ready to face your fear of heights, make a day of it by ballooning above Ipswich.

LIST: Best adventure spots in Ipswich’s backyard

WITH domestic tourism set to flourish post-COVID, there is plenty to explore right under our noses.

The Ipswich region is ripe for adventures, with options ranging from low-key nature walks to thrilling hikes.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Ipswich Nature Centre at Queens Park

Located in the historical Queens Park, the nature centre is home to more than 42 species of over 200 animals in care.

Walk through and spot the inhabitants, including quolls, bilbies, wallabies, emus, wombats, birds, guinea pigs, lambs, pigs and calves.

Entry to the animal refuge costs a gold coin, which is put towards the animals’ upkeep.

Bushwalkers at Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve, Ipswich region
Bushwalkers at Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve, Ipswich region

Mountain biking at Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve

With 15km of track of varying levels of difficulty, the International Mountain Bicycling Association-classified Castle Hill is suitable for beginning mountain bikers and those who want a challenge. The tracks are characterised by hilly, rocky terrain making the experience short but intense. It’s located at Blackstone, just a short drive from Ipswich.

Fishing at Barellan Point

The fishing spot at Barellan Point is said to appeal to the land-based fisher as well as one who prefers to fish from a boat. With barbecues nearby, the area can easily accommodate a family day out, complete with a fresh, hot lunch. Bream, catfish and flathead are said to frequent the watery depths.

Frolic through the Nerima Gardens

Situated close to the Ipswich Nature Centre at Queens Park, the Nerima Gardens are an idyllic and tranquil space inspired by Japan. The gardens feature winding paths that meander through fir trees and Australian native flora and an ornamental lake sits among the plants.

With the approach of Christmas, the gardens will fill with spectacular lighting displays, transforming into Christmas Wonderland after nightfall.

Christmas Wonderland in Nerima Gardens at Queens Park. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Christmas Wonderland in Nerima Gardens at Queens Park. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Picnic at the Kholo Gardens

Only 7km from Ipswich CBD, the Kholo Gardens at Pine Mountain are home to hoop pine trees and rare birds. Bring a picnic of your favourite goodies and spend some time in nature, beneath a rainforest canopy. Two walking tracks are nearby, meaning you can work off that lunch.

Hot air ballooning

If you’re not afraid of heights (or want to face your fear of it), make a day of it by ballooning above Ipswich, the Scenic Rim and Somerset regions. Owned and run by Pilot Graeme Day, Floating Images hot air balloon rides lift off from Karalee.

Kayaking at Colleges Crossing

Colleges Crossing is prime for birdwatching, fishing and land-based fun but, for kayakers looking for somewhere to set sail, it is optimal. The crossing is a low-lying bridge that crosses the Brisbane River at Chuwar and is surrounded by walking tracks and barbecues.

Kayaking at Colleges Crossing is a popular warm-weather activity.
Kayaking at Colleges Crossing is a popular warm-weather activity.

Hiking at Flinders Peak

Rated “hard” by Aussie Bushwalking, the steep climb up Flinders Peak is a challenge for experienced hikers. It’s suited to those looking for spectacular views at the expense of some scrambling and more than three hours of strenuous activity. It is recommended for skilled hikers and strong boots are essential.

Hiking at White Rock Reserve

Not as difficult as the Flinders Peak track, White Rock Reserve is rated “medium” by Aussie Bushwalking and can be completed in two hours.

The track features large rocks and caves to explore.

What have we missed? Is there a top-notch spot we should have included on the list? Tell us what for by sending an email.