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Travel guide Ipswich


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Big day out in Ipswich

 

The speedo is already clocking 150km/h, yet a little voice in my head still screams "accelerate" as I lap my Ipswich locale, V8 engine howling.

No, I'm not participating in the time-honoured tradition of "doing laps" - the car decidedly bereft of fluffy dice - but a V8 supercar driving experience at Queensland Raceway, 20 minutes from the heart of Ipswich.

This is adrenalin - with a capital A.

Under a new tourist venture, would-be rev-heads can take the passenger seat or steering wheel in a V8-powered racecar on one of Queensland's premier race circuits.
For $199, tourists are promised five laps of pedal-to-the-metal excitement around Champions Way, including an intensive instruction session where you discuss, among other things, the dynamics of a corner.

You will learn that a corner has four points - the approach, the entry, the apex and exit - which becomes amazingly relevant when your engine is screaming almost as loud as your lungs.

So there I was: a super hero in a Super Cheap Auto jumpsuit, racer's helmet and nerves just a little less steely than the vehicle itself…behind the steering wheel.

By lap four, I thought I could fly….and at 170km/h, I almost was.

Other attractions in Ipswich
For a serious change of pace, and another uniquely Ipswich experience, a visit to the Workshops Rail Museum is enough to convince even the cold-hearted of the romance of rail.

Built in 1885, the 60 acre site is the birthing suite of Queensland Rail, which at its peak employed 3,000 people.

Today, it employs 70 people in what will be the only museum in Australia where visitors will be able to see "real railway people doing real work".

On the day we visit, a carriage off the grand Great South Pacific Express is undergoing maintenance while her distant cousins such as the Blue Baby are parked nearby.

The Workshops experience, which takes about three hours to fully appreciate, is a significant feature of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network.

The $20 million attraction includes a 100-year-old timekeeper's office, a range of steam locomotives and a gigantic model railway.

There are few people who live in Ipswich who have not been touched by the railways.  The museum is about more that just trains. It is also about the impact of rail and its significance on the community of Ipswich. There is almost not a person in Ipswich who doesn't know someone from the railways or is married to someone who works for the railways.

And that is certainly true for this writer, whose grandfather, uncle, sister and best friend's father, all spilled sweat for Queensland Railways.

While in Ipswich, also worth a visit is the impressive Ipswich Art Gallery located in the Old Ipswich Town Hall which is another notch in Queensland's Heritage Trails Network, and one of Australia's most modern art museums.
A highlight of the museum is Lottie's Place the Energex childrens gallery, where children can explore exhibitions specially designed for them such as the electronic paintbox, where they can create mess free finger-paintings.

The Bendigo Bank Hall of Time showcases the rich history of Ipswich and surrounds, via the latest multimedia technology. Interactive displays feature touch screens and audiovisual material. There is even a (computer) Time Machine that will take you travelling through history

While in the area, and by appointment only, take a drive to the gloriously restored Booval House, a two-storey colonial Georgian building, more reminiscent of the deep south than south-east Queensland.

The former convent caters for weddings, bus trips, educational groups and conferences.

If you plan to stay the night in Ipswich, Parkview Colonials, opposite landmark Queen's Park, offer a cosy bed in a renovated Queenslander characteristic of the area, and are a short walk from Nerrima Japanese Gardens and Queens Park Nature Centre.

For a more upmarket alternative, the 40 minute drive out to Grandchester and Peppers Hidden Vale, is a relaxing remedy to a busy week.

At Grandchester, and also at nearby Rosewood, visitors can indulge once more in the romance of rail, aboard magnificent steam train rides once a month.

For a town which built its reputation on railways and rev-heads, Ipswich has done a 360 degree spin and come of age.

For more information:

Ipswich Tourism
http://www.ipswichtourism.com.au
Tel +61 7 3281 0555

Queensland Raceway
http://www.queenslandraceway.com.au
Tel +61 7 5461 9100

Queensland Workshops Rail Museum
http://www.theworkshops.qm.qld.gov.au/contact/
Tel +61 7 3432 5100

Ipswich Art Gallery
http://www.gal.org.au
Tel + 61 7 3810 7222

Booval House
http://www.boovalhouse.com.au/
Tel +61 7 3282 6333

 

Parkview Colonials
http://www.home.gil.com.au/~parkview/go.htm
Tel + 61 7 3812 3266

About the author
Christine Retschlag wrote this article

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