Ipswich City Council aims to activate more than 6,000 hectares of bushland for sustainable recreation. Activities include bushwalking, trail running, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, orienteering, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, camping and bird watching.
Notable nature recreation spaces in Ipswich include:
For more detailed information, please see the various activities listed below.
Paperbark Flats in White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation estate is a great place to get started with bushwalking in Ipswich. The trails along Six Mile Creek and up to surrounding features like Little White Rock and the Bluff are perfect for beginners and families. For those who are up for a 6.5km return walk, the White Rock Track is not to be missed as it takes you to one of the region's most distinctive and beautiful features.
For the serious bushwalker or trail runner, some of the best trails are found at Flinders Goolman Conservation Estate. These trails lead to spectacular places with expansive views of surrounding mountain ranges and an array of natural features and wildlife. Trails vary in length and difficulty so it is recommended that you do your homework before setting out. Trail-heads are located at Harding's Paddock (Carmichael's Rd, Purga) and Flinders Plum (Mt Flinders Rd, Peak Crossing).
For experienced, physically fit hikers the Flinders Peak Hiking Trail is an iconic Ipswich experience. Begining at Flinders Plum Picnic Area, this trail starts easily but becomes increasingly challenging as you ascend, with rough surfaces, steep inclines, cliff edges, limited signage and no water sources. It should only be undertaken by well-equipped, fit and experienced hikers with bush sense, navigation and rock scrambling skills.
Shorter walking trails can also be found closer to town at Kholo Gardens, Haig St Quarry Bushland, Denmark Hill Conservation Park, Purga Nature Reserve, Denman Park, Pine Mountain Bush Reserve, Pan Pacific Peace Gardens, Ric Natrass Environmental Park, Moodai Reserve and Walter Zimmerman Park.
Detailed information on the recreational trail network in Ipswich's Conservation Estates can be found in the Trails of Ipswich brochure series:
Denmark Hill Trails Guide (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Flinders-Goolman Trails Guide (PDF, 3.1 MB)
Haig Street Quarry Trails Guide (PDF, 1.5 MB)
White Rock - Spring Mountain Trails Guide (PDF, 3.0 MB)
Purga Nature Reserve Trails Guide (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Recreational Licences may be required for certain group activities which can be provided by contacting Council.
Check out the Parks database for other parks and reserves that offer bushwalking opportunities within Ipswich City.
Opportunities for mountain biking abound in Ipswich, from easy, flat tracks in White Rock to technically challenging single track at Blackstone Hill (usually known as Castle Hill to Mountain Bike Riders).
The trails at White Rock are family-friendly, and this is a great place to introduce new riders to the experience of riding in the bush without having to worry too much about obstacles or technical trail features. These are multi-user trails, so remember that bikes must always give way to walkers and horse riders.
From Paperbark Flats Picnic Area (end of School Rd, Redbank Plains) riders can enjoy Six Mile Ck Track, White Rock Multi-User Trail and the Yaddamun Trail. More information on these trails can be found here:
At Springfield Lakes, new trails can be accessed from Wild Iris Terrace and Speckled Circuit. While you are in the area, check out the pump track at Grande Park.
At the other end of the spectrum, Castle Hill (7B Mary St, Blackstone) is a great place for riders with more advanced skills to ride technical single track. Much loved by local riders, this MTB Mecca features a range of black diamond rated trails with challenging technical features for advanced riders as well as a network of blue rated cross-country style trails for those looking for a varied cross country ride. The authentic hand-built single trails provide an alternative to the machine-built trails in other mountain bike venues.
The newly opened Blackleg Gully Circuit also offers a great ride for kids and beginner mountain bike riders. It is a 1km, green-rated loop which starts and finishes in the quarry area, and is best accessed through the gate beside the railway level crossing on Mary Street.
Hidden Vale Adventure Park near Grandchester also welcome the public to use their mountain bike trails. They also host major MTB events through the year including The Cycle Epic, Dingo Duo, 3+3 and a 24 hour race. For more information go to their Facebook page
JR's Gym and Bike at Walloon is another privately owned MTB facility which offers coaching and hosts races including part of the Wild West series. For more information see http://jrgymandbike.com
Ipswich has some great trails for horse riding located in the larger conservation estates. Quality trail head facilities are located at Harding's Paddock (Carmichaels Rd, Purga) and Paperbark Flats (School Rd, Redbank Plains).
Facilities at Harding's Paddock include plenty of parking for your float, a watering trough, hitching rails, timber holding yards, horse gates, directional signs and picnic settings. From the picnic area you can ride out on wide trails to locations such as Goolman Lookout, Rocky Knoll, or even right down to Flinders Plum along the Flinders Goolman Track.
Although the trails are wide, these are multi-user trails and there are some steep sections so careful riding is required. The 9km Horse Trail Circuit is a great place to get a taste of what riding in Ipswich is all about.
More detail on Harding's Paddock and its trail network can be found here:
The Yaddamun Trail takes its name from the Indigenous word for horse. It starts at Paperbark Flats and takes you all the way to Springfield Lakes, returning on the same track. The return trip provides a 20km ride which usually takes two to four hours. This is a multi-user shared trail so you may encounter walkers and cylists.
The horse float parking area is on your left immediately as you enter the White Rock- Spring Mountain Estate at the end of School Rd, Redbank Plains. It features plenty of parking, a water trough, hitching rails, horse gates, directional signs and a picnic table to support your ride. Please note that this is the only watering point provided in the estate. More information is provided here:
This trail meanders through the beautiful suburb of Pine Mountain through unmade road reserves, quiet country roads and along the fringe of Pine Mountain Bush Reserve. It connects with the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to form part of a larger multi-user trail network. Look for the trail signs along Lilly Rd, Trowers Rd, Russels Rd (near the Cricket Pitch) and Pine Mountain Quarry Rd.
The Bremer River is a well-kept fishing secret. Catches at the annual Father's Day Fishing Fest have included quality specimens of bream, threadfin salmon, Australian bass, catfish, eels and bull sharks. Remember to fish for the future by releasing your catch alive after a quick photo.
Popular places to fish from the bank are Cribb Park (North Ipswich) and Joseph Brady Park (Barellan Point). Please see the canoeing section above for canoeing/kayaking access points.
Boat Ramps are located at Cribb park (Norma Brown St, North Ipswich), Riverside Park (Settler Way, Karalee) and Richardson Park (Brisbane Tce, Goodna).
The mid-Brisbane River between Pine Mountain and Kholo is a great place to target Bass, especially in Summer. Great fishing can be had by drifting in a kayak or canoe and casting lures to structure along the banks. See the Canoeing section for information on access points.
With both the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers flowing through Ipswich there are plenty of great paddling opportunities for locals and visitors.
Some of Southeast Queensland's best paddling is right here in Ipswich.
Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve (Mt Crosby Rd, Chuwar) is the most accessible place for a paddle, with a canoe launch area and outstanding picnic and barbecue facilities, as well as an excellent kiosk. The water here is usually clear and by heading upstream you will quickly find yourself in a serene stretch of water that feels like it is miles from anywhere. The crossing is a great place to unwind on the weekend.
For the more adventurous, a popular one day (21km) paddle journey starts upstream of Ipswich at Burton's Bridge (E. Summervilles Rd, Borallan). From Burton's Bridge you can paddle with the current down to Sapling Pocket for a picnic before continuing to Kholo Gardens to stretch your legs, then on to Kholo Bridge to your journey's end. You will encounter numerous sets of rapids as well as long, still sections along the way, so consider your level of skill, experience and fitness before setting out. You will need to coordinate a drop-off and pick-up for this trip.
It is not uncommon to see platypus in this section of river as well as some great birdlife, so keep a lookout, especially in the early morning.
As a paddling destination the Bremer River has a lot to offer, with 25km of suitable water. A well-planned trip which takes into account the direction of tidal flow so that you are always paddling with the current is especially enjoyable. You will be surprised at the local birdlife and just how tranquil it is when you get on the water. A number of safe access points are provided along the Bremer:
Here are some tips on getting the best canoeing experience possible from your day on the water:
The birdlife in Ipswich is quite diverse with over 250 species identified. Some of the best places to go birdwatching are shown in the table below:
|Denmark Hill Conservation Park||23 Chelmsford Avenue or Quarry Street.||Easy paths and tracks. Bush birds including king parrots, variegated fairy-wrens and honeyeaters can be seen.|
|Haig Street Quarry Bushland Reserve||39 Haig Street, Brassall.||Easy paths. Bush birds including wrens, honeyeaters and speckled warblers can be seen. Sometimes waterbirds can be seen in the pond.|
|Kholo Gardens||243 Riverside Drive, Muirlea||River birds including darters, cormorants, kingfishers, ospreys, brahminy kites, white-bellied sea-eagles can be seen. Rainforest walks with birds of wetter forests such as varied trillers, little shrike-thrush, wonga pigeons and occasionally powerful owls can be seen.|
|College's Crossing||408-492 Mt Crosby Rd, Chuwar||Water birds including ducks, pelicans, brahminy kites and ospreys can be seen.|
|Walter Zimmerman Park||Kirkston Place, Pine Mountain||Easy tracks. Bush birds such as common bronzewings, lorikeets, parrots, speckled warblers, varied sittellas, white-throated cuckoo-shrikes, fuscous and black-chinned honeyeaters can be seen.|
|Paperbark Flats, White Rock- Spring Mountain Conservation Estate||The end of School Rd, Redbank Plains, south of Redbank Plains Road.||Walking tracks through varied bush allow you to see wrens, honeyeaters, parrots, speckled warblers and spotted quail-thrush.|
|Hardings Paddock||Carmichaels Road, Purga. (Off Ipswich Boonah Rd)||Gamlen Circuit (3.5km) is excellent for spotting bush birds including wrens, honeyeaters, grey-crowned babblers, speckled warblers and spotted quail-thrush.|
|Flinders Plum picnic area||Mt Flinders Road, Peak Crossing. (follow the dirt road to the end)||For a good bird walk follow Sandy Creek eastwards for a couple of kilometres. Bush birds along the creek include raptors.|
|Purga Nature Reserve||Middle Rd, Purga.||Boardwalks through Swamp Tea Tree. Birds can be seen along the boardwalk edges including finches, thornbills, speckled warblers and tawny frogmouths.|
Turn west from Haigslea Amberley Rd - c.2.5 km north of Walloon. Park at junction of Raysource Rd and Haigslea Cemetery Rd. Walk west and south on dirt roads. Please be aware of approaching vehicles on the road.|
Do not enter any private properties.
|The Western Walk takes you to a dam with waterbirds including nankeen night herons. Bush birds along roads include grey-crowned babblers, speckled warblers, wrens and owlet-nightjars.|
|Daly's Lagoon/Bundamba wetlands||
Ripley Rd about 9km south of Ripley. Park and view from the road verge.|
Do not enter any private properties.
|Waterbirds include ducks, egrets, white-bellied Sea-eagles, darters and cormorants. A small swamp further along the road which is a private property has waterbirds including jacanas, moorhens, swamphens, Australasian grebes and buff-banded rails.|