Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published May 3rd 2017
Visit the animals at the Nature Centre in Ipswich
Parks are an asset to any city or town as they create an area for tourists and locals to stroll leisurely while enjoying the beauty of the trees and flowers. Trees are important to our environment as they produce oxygen by using the energy from sunlight. Many tourists look for parks to spread out their lunch before heading onto their next destination. There really is nothing more relaxing than walking around parks whilst soaking up the sun and breathing clean air.
Set in the older yet central part of Ipswich, Queens Park is more than just your average park. It would be quite easy to spend an entire day there, not just for the children but also the adults. First surveyed in 1842, the current site was granted approval to proceed in 1858 and heritage listed in September 2002.
There is plenty of free car parking all over the gardens. Opening seven days a week from 9.30am to 4.00pm, Queens Park offers a calm and relaxed atmosphere for all who visit. At first, a leisurely stroll around the streets of the park will give you a clear indication of what there is on offer but make sure you wear good walking shoes as the park is set on a hill and some areas will provide a workout for both your lungs and leg muscles.
View from Lions Lookout, Queens Park Gardens Ipswich (Author's photo)
I started with a view of the park from the Lions Club lookout. The lookout gives you an appreciation of the vastness of the park while also providing a great vantage point for viewing the spread of the city with the meeting of the horizon.
The Bush Chapel, Queens Park Gardens, Ipswich (Author's photo)
The Glasshouse is not open all weekends, however, I was fortunate it was open on the day of my visit. A lovely lady volunteer met me at the door and handed me a brochure which labelled each plant inside by a number in the plant's pot. I was particularly interested in the orchids which were in bloom when mine at home are not.
Although many families were spending time around the playground and barbeque areas, their interests also lay in spending time at the Ipswich Nature Centre which in situated on Goleby Avenue as you drive into the park. This area is home to some of Australia's native animals which include the kangaroo, emu, snakes, lizards, birds, cows, goats, sheep and my favourite the wombat, although he was asleep during my visit.
Signs along the walkways depict the animals in the enclosures (Author's photo)
Entry is free, however a box at the gate for a gold coin donation is appreciated for the upkeep of the centre and animals. The area inside the centre has wide walkways and is a smoke free environment. Visitors are required not to feed the animals, picnic inside the centre, enter any animal enclosures or bring their pets while visiting this area.
Inspired by "Sister City" link between Ipswich and Nerima City, Japan, Nerima Gardens in Queens Park represents Japanese characteristics and natural Australian elements. Opened in 2001, Nerima Gardens is a place of peace and tranquillity. Walkways meander around and in and out of the centre of the gardens with the access over streams by wooden Japanese style bridges. People can be seen meditating by the ponds which create a perfect backdrop with the faint rustling of the leaves and the birds chirping in nearby trees.
The Burley Griffin Incinerator, now home to the Ipswich Little Theatre, is located off the Griffith Road entry into the park. The building is one of the thirteen incinerators designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his partners, architect Eric Nicholls and businessman Leonard Kanefsky, and this incinerator is the only example of Walter's work in Queensland. The incinerator was in use until the early 1960's when it was discontinued. However, sections of the Ipswich community were aware of the building's historical and architectural importance and rallied to the Ipswich City Council for a lease on the building. As the Ipswich Little Theatre was looking for a new home, it was decided the incinerator would make a good choice and so the restoration and conversion of the incinerator began. The Incinerator Theatre opened in November 1969. Copies of brochures on the history of The Burley Griffin Incinerator and the 2017 programme of the Ipswich Little Theatre can be located in a weather free box at the front gate.
Instead of bringing lunch to the park, I decided I would have lunch at the Queens Park Café which is always busy with customers. The café is quite large with many tables both in and outside on the long and winding verandah. This visit I chose to sit outside on the balcony overlooking the Croquet Club and surrounds, however, I have sat inside on other occasions. Even with the number of patrons, my meal was brought to me within ten minutes of ordering and there was no rush given to me by the staff to leave once eaten.
Conference & Workshop area at Queens Park Environmental Education Centre (Author's photo)
Right next door to the café is the Queens Park Environmental Education Centre. They key use of the education centre is to support the animal habitat and other environmental activities within the park, however, the Conference Room can be hired out to various clubs and organisations.
If you are thinking of visiting Queens Park make sure you drop into the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre at the top end of the park to obtain a map and other brochures on what the park has to offer.