Ipswich photographer Donna Isaacs shines a light on some of the city’s best walks.
When I was child, I had these books that were called adventure books. In these books you could pick your own adventure, the book would get so far and then you would have to choose which path you would take, you could read the same book many times yet each time you read it, it would be different. I am reminded of these books each time I journey along Brassall bike paths.
There are undisputed benefits to walking outdoors and in Ipswich we have so many places to start.
I traveled along the Brassall Bikeway from WM Hughes St, North Ipswich following it to Brassall with my three children. We also discovered the stage four Brassall bike path from the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to Wulkuraka.
The path itself is well thought out, wide enough for my family of bike riders, smooth enough for my youngest learning to roller skate to practice along and stretches of distance long enough to reach my outdoor walking goal.
Brassall Bikeway stage four Diamantina Dr is one of the entry points to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) and the Brassall bikeway to Wulkuraka, it’s a 3.6km continued concrete path of the bikeway. While the BVRT is a dirt path, both are perfect for bike riders.
As we were walking we used the bikeway and the first thing I noticed was other people using the path, a nod of the head and a good afternoon, the mood was joyful. The second thing I took in was the view, on the horizon is breathtaking views of the mountains.
Brassall from WM Hughes St
You will notice a rail theme along this pathway and this is explained on a heritage place plaque which tells the story of the original Ipswich rail line that travelled through the now pathway.
Incredible to think that the path I am walking on has been travelled by people of yesteryear travelling to Grandchester Station and perhaps even by the author of Mary Poppins, P L Travers herself in the early 1900s.
Apart from the historic value, this pathway has photo-worthy birdlife to challenge your photography skills, we spotted Superb Fairy Wren’s at dusk and some tracks we a thought might have come from a Curlew.
As the sun lowered into the trees, the grass lit up in an afternoon glow. Reaching the Mihi Junction Mountain Bike Trails, my children found it fun to run along the track that we had all to ourselves.
Once upon a time, the year was 1828 in fact, a man called Allan Cunningham stopped to rest his bullocks under some fig trees in Ipswich.
Cunningham later went on to discover the gap in the mountains seen from the Ipswich fig trees he had rested under. The moral of the story – when on great missions, rest your bullocks.
These are the very figs that in 1828 provided shade to a man on a mission. A man who, through the path of Ipswich, explored a path to what is now known as Cunninghams Gap.
If you visit Cunningham’s Knoll opposite Queens Park (a monument built at the site, which was once a convict station to mine Limestone, during the Depression), you can rest under these figs and watch the sunset as I often do.
Denmark Hill Conservation Park and Water Tower
Pack the kids some snacks and venture over to Denmark Hill for a half day exploration that will delight small children.
Find dinosaur tracks by following the marked pathways. The site is educational and interesting for all family members.
Reach great heights climbing many floors of stairs to the top of the water tower for a 360 degree view of Ipswich and signage with detailed information about landmarks.
In late 2011 Queensland Urban Utilities made a new viewing platform on the old rooftop of the water tower.
From the top you can see grand old houses, the Ipswich CBD, towering St Mary’s Catholic Church and Queensland’s first grammar school, as well as mountain ranges including the Great Dividing Range, Brisbane Valley Range and if the sky is clear Brisbane CBD.
River Heart Parklands
Along with the water park and forest play area the river walkway is a scenic place to enjoy a pram friendly stroll.
Starting from the car park located next to the forest play area the stroll will take you to opposite Riverlink Shopping Centre. Set aside an hour and a half at easy pace. Feel secure as this walkway is monitored by Ipswich’s Safe City camera network 24/7.
White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Park
If nature trails are your thing, introduce yourself to the White Rock Conservation Park.
Children are able to experience basic rock climbing and nature walking from the Paperbark Picnic area to a smaller lookout area that in a round trip took us two hours with children aged from 6-9 years, however climbing White Rock itself is a more challenging option for adults and I recommend to do it with a group of rock climbing enthusiasts as you may need a hand reaching the peak.
The Instagram worthy view from the top of The White Rock Ridge makes the hike more than worthwhile. Nature is calling.
Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve
Blackstone Hill has really interesting history, it was once home to Brynhyfryd Castle, which was built in 1891 by a Welsh coal mining magnate, it had 49 rooms over three levels.
These days the site is located within the Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve which has about 16km of mountain biking trails and 4km of walking trails and historical markers.
It takes about 30 minute to get to the old castle site (which is located by a historical marker) and is an up-hill active family friendly walk.
Lions Lookout is at the top of Queens Park. From the lookout you can see over the city of Ipswich and often watch planes flying about. If you wanted a slightly challenging walk, you can start at the Nature Centre Queens Park car park and jog or walk up to the lookout a 40 minute round trip, or you can access the lookout anytime via the information centre car park.