09 November 2018
The heritage city and adventure playground of Ipswich is powering ahead in the tourism sector with new visitation figures revealing an impressive 1.6m visitors for the last financial year, an upward swing of 27 per cent.
The region is luring large events, sporting festivals and bus groups which are boosting visitor numbers but the increase is also attributed to a growing awareness of all the region has to offer, just a few minutes from the state’s capital.
“It feels as though Ipswich is being discovered by a new generation of adventure seekers,” Tourism Manager Alistair Tavares said.
“We have the highest mountain peak in the greater Brisbane region, Flinders Peak, and also the most extensive mountain biking trail network on mainland Australia at Hidden Vale Adventure Park,” he said.
Mr Tavares said these and other hiking and biking infrastructure across the region, coupled with Ipswich’s emerging coffee, bar and restaurant scene, were great drawcards for day trippers from the SEQ region.
“Upgraded sporting infrastructure allows us to secure national sporting carnivals such as the 2019 BMX Australia Championships and in the past year Ipswich hosted around 17,000 who attended the Queensland Netball State Championships at Limestone Park,” he said.
Tourism Research Australia data shows visitors across three areas – domestic overnight, domestic day trips and international overnight arrivals had all increased in the year to June on the previous year.
Key cultural events are now calling Ipswich home, including CMC Rocks Qld - the largest international country and roots festival in the southern hemisphere. For the March 2019 four-day festival at Willowbank Raceway, fans snapped up 21,000 tickets in under two hours.
Hidden Vale Adventure Park manager Hayden Brooks said he had seen huge growth in numbers visiting the park.
“It’s pretty popular, and it’s just a really big network so you can ride all day and not ride the same thing twice,” he said.
The park hosts mountain biking and trail running events throughout the year including this weekend’s 99 Bikes Dingo (November 10) and the annual Epic event in September that attracts up to 2000 participants.
Pumpyard Bar & Brewery in the 88 Limestone heritage precinct in Ipswich city is one of the modern hospitality offerings and operations manager Abbie Glossop says visitors are often surprised to find what’s happening in the city these days.
“We’re definitely getting a lot more visitors from Brisbane and people say that it’s a surprise to find something like this Ipswich – I think people are beginning to realise things have changed out here and there’s a lot on offer,” Ms Glossop said.
New businesses and upgraded offerings are also emerging, including the new premium motocross destination, Willowbank MX; freshly renovated Cumquat House accommodation; heritage landmark Woodlands of Marburg under new management and Soul Nook Collective which has teamed with Pterodactyl Helicopters to offer remote picnics and glamping in bell tents.
The new Haigslea EWE Nique Hobby Farm just a few minutes from the CBD offers a family farm experience.
Popular laneway café Rafter & Rose, which doubled in size in the past year, was named in the Sunday Mail’s best Queensland breakfast spots for 2018.
Masterchef star Ben Ungermann’s ice creamery, Ungermann Brothers, is also luring visitors with an ever-changing array of imaginative flavours.
Ipswich boasts 6500 hectares of reserves and conservation estates, 196km of biking trails and more than 7000 heritage-listed sites in the city.
The region is home to a number of operators, from Pterodactyl Helicopters - the number one attraction as rated by Best of Queensland - to The Workshops Railway Museum, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights and trike tours.
The region’s many tourist attractions include the oldest park in Queensland, Queens Park; steam rail services with Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway; the Ipswich Nature Centre with its resident wombat, bilbies, rock wallabies and spotted quolls and gold coin admission; and The Workshops Rail Museum located at the birthplace of rail in Queensland.
For more to see and do, see discoveripswich.com.au