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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:

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

For more detailed information, please see the various activities listed below.

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, 3.1 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, 3.0 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.


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.

Bird Watching

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:

Place Address Comment
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.
Raysource Road 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.