48 Hours In
Looking for an easy weekend escape with history, nature, food and fun just half an hour from Brisbane? Then try Ipswich.
Steeped in history and with a cool café culture, beautiful parks and a spot of culture, Ipswich makes a great place to explore and recharge the batteries.
Here’s a quick guide to making the most of 48 hours in the gracious old world city:
4.30pm - Welcome the weekend with a cocktail, beer or wine and some nibbles in 116 Laneway Cafe & Bar, one of Ipswich’s best laneways between two historic buildings.
7pm - Head next door for dinner to Indian Mehfil, the city’s fave Indian restaurant or a couple of blocks away to the historic Top of Town precinct’s funky Fourthchild or German eatery and bar Heisenberg Haus . Otherwise about 10 minutes drive from Ipswich CBD is Arcadia, a fab contemporary Greek restaurant in an old corner store.
9am - Breakfast at charming laneway cafe Rafter & Rose in Top of Town, where the delicious home-style food is made on site from locally sourced produce.
10am - Take the city Heritage Trail to discover the many grand buildings of Ipswich’s CBD, making a pitstop at the Ipswich Farmers and Artisan Markets in the mall and taking time out for some morning tea and a browse at Ipswich Antique Centre and café. If in need of a caffeine fix look out for Urban Pantry in Top of Town's Brisbane St for a top cup of Byron Bay Mudlark coffee.
12pm - Top of Town has a smattering of interesting shops to browse including The Vintage Advantage, Gift Emporium with a secret in-house chocolaterie and Ipswich’s oldest shop – C.J. Vogler & Son, which dates back to 1877. And take a peek inside the Old Flour Mill which houses the odd indie art gallery or boutique.
2.30pm – Denmark Hill Conservation Park - Just a few blocks south of the CBD, via some streets of sprawling Queenslanders this patch of bushland contains remnants from Ipswich’s mining age with walking trails that also pass through a ‘Jurassic’ section with dinosaur footprints. Save some energy to climb the old Denmark Hill water reservoirs, from where amazing 360 degree views south to the border and east to Brisbane CBD can be enjoyed.
4.30pm - Chill out with some late afternoon drinks and casual dinner at 4 Hearts Brewing Pumpyard Brewery, (Ipswich’s first brewery in 100 years), located in the basement of one of its landmark heritage buildings which was built during Queen Victoris'a reign to house Ipswich's first technical college.
7.30pm - If in the market for some post-dinner culture, catch some Saturday night stand-up, music or cabaret at Studio 188 (Ipswich’s oldest church, converted into a funky performance space), a show at Ipswich Civic Centre, a classic play at Ipswich’s Walter Burley Griffin-designed Incinerator Theatre, or see what’s on the indie program at the heritage-listed saddlery turned arts venue Goleby’s Basement.
10.30am - Walk off breakfast with a visit to Ipswich Art Gallery, which as well as its own fine little collection, almost always has a travelling exhibition to see.
11.30am - Take Ellenborough Street down across the Bremer River bridge for a peek at Ipswich’s finest church, St Mary’s (circa 1874), which contains a few relics from Ipswich's 'Blackstone Castle' and still has the horse-tethering rings on the stone wall opposite from when church-goers arrived on horseback or via horse and carriage.
12.30pm – No visit to Ipswich is complete without a visit to splendid limestone-trimmed Queens Park, which dates from 1860s and is south east Queensland’s oldest park. Here pay a visit to the excellent Ipswich Nature Centre (gold coin entry) and the tranquil Japanese Nerima Gardens, where once in a month of Sundays a traditional tea ceremony is held in the tea house (book ahead).