I'm going to be honest - when thinking about fun and interesting places to visit near Brisbane, Ipswich is not the first city that comes to my mind. In fact, the only times I've been here was to pick up a kitten for my friend, and to take my brother to the hospital. However, I go on so many day trips in the greater Brisbane area that I feel as though I'm running out of new places to go! That is when I thought - hey, what about Ipswich?
After doing a quick search on Google, I'd found several places in the greater Ipswich region that I wanted to visit. I was keen as a bean to go somewhere I never thought I'd spend a day in!
With a good friend and my life partner (i.e. my 6 month old pug), we piled into the car and set off on our little adventure out west. We had previously decided that our first stop be at Rafter & Rose, a dog friendly cafe with a picture perfect laneway. Unfortunately, they seemed to be undergoing renovations and the cafe wasn't open, but luckily for us, there were a range of cafes nearby with outdoor seating, meaning that my puppy wouldn't get left out.
We decided on Cactus Espresso Bar - great food and amazing service, thank you guys! Will definitely be visiting again the next time we're in the area.
Also, as a side note, they have the cutest takeaway coffee cups with cartoon cacti on them.
Cutest takeaway coffee cups!
With our stomachs nice and full from our big meal, we headed to the Denmark Hill Conservation Park, where we planned to climb the five storey staircase to the top of the water tower. Now, my puppy is terrified of stairs and had to be carried up, but still it was very manageable despite the heat and the ball of fur that I was holding. Seeing as the climb was so easy, we were not expecting such a beautiful view...
The photos we took did not do it justice - it was hard to take photos at the lookout/viewing platform as there was a metal fence all around. You just have to go and see it for yourself! What's even better is that despite it being school holidays, we got the place all to ourselves - definitely one of those places that has been overlooked, although I cannot think of a reason why it would be.
Panoramic view from the top of Denmark Hill Water Tower
The water tower itself has some cool murals on it too - worth walking around and having a good look.
Cool murals on the water tower.
After we finally managed to tear ourselves away from the water tower, the three of us decided to head further out west, to see some 'Big Things'. After all, it's not a road trip in Australia until you see some Big Things along the way, stop, and take pictures! There are several cool ones near Ipswich, but I won't go into too much detail and let the photos speak for themselves.
The Big Bundy Bottle (2320 Warrego Hwy, Haigslea)
Big Bundy Bottle - no need to go all the way to Bundaberg to see one!
The Big Elephant (4138 Warrego Hwy, Hatton Vale, Lockyer Valley)
There is also the Big Orange for those who, like me, are into Big Things - its about a 10 minute drive from the Big Elephant. However, I've already taken photos with it before so decided to give it a miss this time round.
All in all, this was a great trip to the greater Ipswich region - everyone had a good time, and it's definitely something I'd recommend to you all. It was so great that it inspired me to write my first Weekend Notes article, even though I first got approved 3 whole years ago!