History comes alive in this well-known Queensland city

Spicers from the air
Spicers from the Air

Ipswich is not just for adrenaline junkies! I want to share with you some of the beauty and history of Ipswich.

Cooneana Heritage Centre is a must-see location. It is such an interesting place to visit! As many would know, mining is a huge part of Ipswich’s history and in Cooneana you see the importance of the mines to the town. Volunteers are available to show you around the museum and tell you the stories that bring the items to life.

Queens Park is one of the oldest gardens in Queensland and a few minutes there is bound to get lower your blood pressure as you meander around the various walks. Queens Park is also home to Nerima Gardens — Japanese gardens designed in consultation with Ipswich’s Japanese sister city, Nerima. Beauty, serenity and tranquillity abound in these this perfect mix of traditional plantings living alongside Australian natives.

Read more: The ultimate adventure in Queensland’s hidden gem

Ipswich is home to many festivals during the year and it has enough historic houses to have two open house weekends, one in May, the second in September.

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Then there is the food!

Years ago, I developed a love for sausages of the German variety. Imagine my delight when we had lunch at Heisenberg Haus, where the menus are printed on old Grimm’s fairytale books. What a selection of sausages they had, too! I was ever so good and limited myself to a mixed tasting platter with a little sauerkraut.

Our trike adventure delivered us to Spicers Hidden Vale, not only a beautiful place to stay, but home to Homage Restaurant. At dinner we indulged in the tasting menu, which represents the chef’s food philosophy: local, fresh, little interference. I was so impressed with the way the food was served, not always on a traditional plate but using some interesting substitutes such as a polished rock. Much of the produce is so fresh you can see it growing in their own garden.

Spicers Gardens

Breakfast on Sunday reinforced the standards of this hatted establishment and was served in the most delightful surroundings, the balcony of the main building. This is another place I would like to spend more time.

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Breakfast with a view
Breakfast with a view

I can’t go any further without telling you about the accommodation at Spicers. We had a one-bedroom cabin, with a spa bath and a log fire in the lounge room. It was so tempting to light that fire even on a pleasantly warm night.

Spicers

Climbing into bed after our day of adventure, we were greeted by luxurious softness in the bedding and the pillows and lulled to sleep by the sounds peculiar to a semi-rural night — the odd snuffle of an animal, the small sounds of a sleeping bird.

Spicers bedroom

Next morning, we awoke to visitors in our garden, quite unfazed by these humans and their cameras.

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Friendly neighbours

Our next carriage arrived with the beat and purr of wings, perhaps a pterodactyl? Not quite, but we were about to leave Spicers courtesy of Pterodactyl Helicopters. Pilot Ben gave us a few instructions, showed us how to use our headphones and we were off to Ironbark Ridge Vineyards for a wine tasting.

What a treat it is to be ferried all over Ipswich by air, a totally different experience to other airborne pursuits and it is easy to see why people travel this way by choice. Ben proved to be a great travel commentator pointing out the points of interest, giving names of rivers and districts – he is also a great pilot and the ride was smooth as.

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Ironbark

When we landed at Ironbark Ridge we were met by our host and driven a short distance to the tasting rooms where we tasted some excellent wines. Neither of us is an expert, but to our unschooled tastes, these were wines with a distinct character hard to compare to other wines from other districts. Suffice to say, somehow a bottle (or two) managed to find their way into our luggage. A true delight is a liqueur port called Old Friends.

Pterodactyl Airlines
Pterodactyl Helicopters

Leaving the winery, Ben took us back to the Pterodactyl base where we were met by owner Captain Mike and Johey Jarvis. We all climbed into a 4-wheel drive and drove to Colleges Crossing for lunch. A colourful picnic ground with boats on the river, and a terrific café, this was the way to wind up an excellent weekend.

Have you been to Ipswich on holiday? Let us know all about it in the comments section below. 

The writer was invited to experience this tour by Discover Ipswich, but all opinions are her own.  
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