Ipswich may be one of Queensland's oldest towns, but there is no shortage of things to see and do in this town full of history and heritage.
1. Sip a coldie at Pumpyard Bar and Brewery
The ‘Pumpyard’ (88 Limestone Street) was originally Ipswich town’s first source of water in the late 1800s, then the building was repurposed as a technical college by the turn of the 20th century. Since 2013 it’s been the home of local craft beer 4 Hearts Brewing, the Pumpyard Bar and Dovetails restaurant and there’s live music in the laneways outside on weekends.
2. Explore the laneways
Rafter & Rose (1/17 Ellenborough Street) brings the botanicals in at its inner city laneway location, not only in the greenery that fills the interior but also with floral finishing touches on the eye-popping and mouth-watering cakes that have become their signature. Also call in to Dancing Bean Coffee Roastery (164 Brisbane Street) where veteran coffee maker Robert Mergard has converted an old warehouse, behind Heisenberg Beer Haus, into a café and local roasting base. And look out for 116 Laneway (116a Brisbane Street), tucked in beside Indian Mehfil restaurant, which serves up a chalkboard of daily affirmations with great breakfasts and sweetest cakes.
3. Ride the rail trails
The first railway in Queensland started from Ipswich and there are plenty of remnants of that history in the area today, from restored engines and displays at the Workshops Rail Museum, housed in the original heritage-listed workshops buildings, to steam train rides and the restored Grandchester Railway Station which was the first destination on the line from Ipswich in 1865 (open on the first Sunday of the month, March to November, 10am to 2pm).
4. Stay at Cumquat House
Mission Revival on the outside and boutique B&B with mod cons on the inside, Cumquat House is about 20 minutes walk (or three minutes drive) to the centre of town and some of the best eating and drinking hotspots such as Pumpyard Bar and Brewery and Dovetails restaurant, the Antique Centre and The Cottage restaurant. There’s only five suites and plenty of five-star guest reviews so plan well ahead! At 10 Salisbury Road‚ Ipswich.
5. Aviation Heritage on display
The Royal Australian Air Force’s largest base is at Amberley, on the outskirts of Ipswich, which is also home to the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre where a number of historic aircraft are on display, from a 100-year-old Sopwith Camel to an F-111. The centre is open to the public one day a month.
6. Winery and pub tours by air
Travel like a rock star on a country pub crawl or wine tasting chauffeured by helicopter. Winery tours call in to some lesser known gems such as Ironbark Ridge and Flinders Peak wineries, Bunjurgen Estate and Kooroomba Vineyards with a choice of lunch stops such as the historic mansion Woodlands at Marburg. Pub tours include stops at up to five country pubs.
7. Browse the Crave Trail
Shop for antiques, kitsch collectibles and retro fashion in the restored heritage building that houses Ipswich Antique Centre, open Thursday to Monday, but that’s just the beginning when it comes to fossicking for vintage in the heritage city. There are more than 20 stops on the Crave Trail of all things creative, retro, antique, vintage and eclectic, including Upcycled Treasure, F and H Revival, R & R Behind Red Doors and The Art and Craft Cottage which also offer workshops in their craft.
8. Pause in a park
Ipswich has more than 500 parks to explore and you don’t have to go far from the city centre to saunter through one of the oldest, Queens Park, which traces its roots back to the 1850s when land was approved for use as a botanic garden and recreation reserve. Today it occupies more than 20 hectares and includes a Japanese Garden, a café, children’s play area and Environmental Education Centre. Find it adjacent to Milford Street and Queen Victoria Parade.
9. Taste an ice confection
Ben Ungermann won fans as a finalist on Masterchef in 2017 and now runs Ungermann Brothers ice cream parlour with brother Danny at 88 Limestone Street (in the Pumpyard block). The décor is ’50s style diner retro but the flavours are thoroughly modern concoctions such as lavender and honeycomb, strawberry balsamic, coffee and cardamom and more. Open from 11am to 9pm.
10. Shows in creative spaces
Ipswich has no shortage of historic buildings that have found new uses, including the old incinerator (on the edge of Queens Park) now occupied by the Ipswich Little Theatre (15 Burley Griffin Drive) and Studio 188 (at 188 Brisbane Street) which hosts music and theatre performances behind a distinctive art deco façade.
Ipswich is approximately 45 minutes driving time south west of Brisbane via the M5. Find more ideas at discoveripswich.com.au.