Think of locations for wining and dining, and Ipswich isn’t a name that would often appear at the top of your list. After all, some might argue, how could it compare to the big city, Brisbane? However, Ipswich has fast become one of South East Queensland’s premier locales for a divine weekend away, filled with all the luxuries you could crave.
So hit the road, Ipswich-bound – and get ready for a weekend that’s simply magical.
There’s plenty to see, but after a big week there’s nothing more enticing than heading straight to your hotel to unwind. Metro Hotel Ipswich International is your home base for the weekend, and with good reason. Close to Ipswich’s hotspots with stunning views of the CBD and D’Aguilar Range, it’s also full of plush comforts – and a delectable feast. The hotel is home to Platform 9 Bar and Restaurant, with a modern Australian menu crafted by the restaurant’s head chef Guy Farrow, who previously worked in the five star kitchens of London’s Savoy Hotel. So go on, settle in for the night. You deserve it.
After breakfast at Platform 9 Bar and Restaurant, start the wining part of your trip with a tour of Ipswich’s boutique wineries. Don’t drive to each, though – fly in style. Pterodactyl Helicopters offer tours of the region’s wine trails, flying high into the clouds to give you a scenic view of the city below. Make sure you stop off for a feed during your travels – with cuisine designed to tantalise your tastebuds, it’s a culinary experience to remember.
Spend some time exploring the city and its historic sights – Ipswich is a gorgeous city at its core. There are plenty of routes to take on a heritage trail, whether your interests lean towards majestic old buildings or those who once occupied them. You can also take a wander down the Cobb & Co. Tourist Drive, retracing the steps of the historical Cobb & Co. mail route while breathing the fresh country air. Or, stroll through Queen’s Park with a self-guided audio tour explaining all the must-see sights.
Hit up a brewery for dinner – Pumpyard Bar & Brewery, home to the delectable Four Hearts Brewing Company, offers a feast for all your senses. Housed in a century-old, heritage-listed building, the menu is equally as enthralling as the location. (Soft shell crab souvlaki, anyone?) Make sure you try one of the beers on tap – with no chemicals, nothing artificial and no preservatives, you’re getting a flavoursome brew with every sip. Then, head back to your hotel. An early night is in order for Sunday’s treat…
Yes, you’re up before dawn, but it’s with good reason. It’s time to see the sun rise, all while floating at new heights, in an adventurous hot air balloon ride! Floating Images will be your guide as you soar over the horizon, gazing at the winding Bremer River, Flinders Peak and the Great Dividing Range. You’ll also catch a glimpse of lovely old buildings, standing tall for centuries. (P.S, it’s a romantic activity for two if you’re on a getaway with your sweetheart.)
Keep up the relaxation with a pampering spa treatment at Sang Day Spa – it’s a haven of tranquility, and where better to visit as your last locale in Ipswich? This is one of the Ipswich region’s hidden secrets, and owner Sang Ha has been developing her exclusive treatments (utilising natural products in their rawest form) for 25 years. There’s plenty of treatments to choose from, and also a men’s menu for the guys after their own indulgent afternoon.
Time to leave Ipswich behind – but don’t fret. We’re sure you’ll be back soon!
For more information, visit discoveripswich.com.au
Words by Natasha Pavez