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Recreation

Naturally Wild – Adventure is in my nature

Ipswich City Council is the first council in Australia to appoint a Nature-Based Recreation Officer to focus on the growth of sustainable recreation and to attract suitable outdoor events to Ipswich through a program called Naturally Wild.

Naturally Wild 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:

  • Denmark Hill Regional Park
  • Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate (Camping is available at Harding's Paddock)
  • Haig Street Quarry Bushland Reserve
  • White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate
  • Purga Nature Reserve
  • Kholo Gardens

Nature based events held in Ipswich throughout the year include:

  • Mud Lark in the Park – September 2015
  • Cycle Epic (Hidden Vale Adventure Park) – September 2015
  • Kholo Adventure Race (Kholo Gardens) – October 2015
  • Ipswich Trail Run Series (Hardings Paddock - White Rock) - February 2016
  • Ipswich Trail Run Series (Hidden Vale Adventure Park) - March 2016
  • Select from the activities below to see how you can go on a natural adventure in Ipswich.

Bushwalking and Trail Running

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, 1.9 MB)  
Flinders-Goolman Trails Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB)  
Haig Street Quarry Trails Guide (PDF, 842.6 KB)  
Purga Nature Reserve Trails Guide (PDF, 766.0 KB)  
White Rock - Spring Mountain Trails Guide (PDF, 1.1 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.

Mountain Biking

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).

White Rock

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: 

White Rock - Spring Mountain Trails Guide (PDF, 1.1 MB)

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.

Castle Hill (Also known as Blackstone Hill)

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.

For those who are new to mountain biking the wide gravel service tracks provide an opportunity to build confidence before moving on to singletrack.

Privately Owned Tracks

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

Horse Riding

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).

Harding's Paddock

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: 

Flinders-Goolman Trails Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB)  

Paperbark Flats

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: 

White Rock - Spring Mountain Trails Guide (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Pine Mountain Bridle Trail

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.

Fishing

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.

Canoeing and Kayaking

With both the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers flowing through Ipswich there are plenty of great paddling opportunities for locals and visitors.

Brisbane River
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.

Bremer River
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:

  • Shapcott Park (Gladstone Rd, Coalfalls)
    Perfect for smaller craft, this canoe launch area is at the narrower end of the Bremer and features overhanging bottlebrush trees and abundant bird life. Keep an eye out for turtles coming up to breathe.
  • Cribb Park (Norma Brown St, North Ipswich)
    The Cribb Park boat ramp provides clear access to the River and is only a 2km paddle to the heart of the CBD. Although this section of river is in an urban area, it is surprisingly peaceful and quiet.
  • Joseph Brady Park (Riverside Avenue, Barellan Point)Launching from Joseph Brady Park allows you to explore the junction of the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers. It is recommended that you time your paddle to ensure that your return journey is in the same direction as the tidal flow as the current can be strong at times.

Canoeing Tips

Here are some tips on getting the best canoeing experience possible from your day on the water:

  • Canoe with, or gain advice from someone who has paddled the river before.
  • Check the tide as some locations are inaccessible at low tide.
  • It's more fun and safe if you paddle in groups of three or more.
  • Canoe prepared; take along a backpack or waterproof container to hold a mobile phone, raincoat, some spare clothes in case you get wet, a towel, a first aid kit, plenty of water and food.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat.
  • Always let someone know of your intended canoeing plans and the time you expect to return.
  • Take along binoculars for a closer look at our native waterbirds and wildlife.
  • Store your camera and binoculars in a waterproof bag when not in use.
  • Always wear a personal flotation device for those unexpected spills.
  • Always be aware of hazards such as fallen and submerged trees, overhanging branches and rapids.
  • When you encounter rapids, get out of your boat and walk downstream and have a look before proceeding.
  • Let someone know when you expect to return from your canoeing trip.