Spicers Hidden Vale, the luxurious country retreat at Grandchester, just 30 minutes' drive from Ipswich, has so much to offer it's easier to list what you can't do. Perched on top a ridge with sweeping mountain views, it's a popular holiday getaway as well as hosting conferences and weddings.
An original historic homestead houses the award-winning Homage Restaurant, and accommodation over-looking 12,000 acres of Australian bush, heritage cottages with one to four bedrooms, with everything you could need for luxurious air-conditioned comfort. Sit on your verandah and watch kangaroos hop by or laze by the pool with heated spa. It's heaven!
There's no end of activities, such as mountain bike riding, bush-walking, tennis, swimming, bocce, croquet and the animal farm....
A 20 minute drive from Ipswich on the Warrego Highway at Marburg, The Girls' Coffee Bar has a loyal clientele drawn to its great coffee and delicious food offerings. As part of Phippsy's complex - a popular stop for drivers halfway between Brisbane and Toowoomba - this charming little eatery has al fresco and indoor air-conditioned dining.
Open for Breakfast, Lunch seven days a week, The Girls' Coffee Bar's Breakfast specialty of Eggs Benedict is a firm favourite - poached eggs, locally baked ham on homemade dark rye toast with a tasty hollandaise sauce. The wide range of open grills, wraps, salads and homemade Gourmet Pies are also much loved, while sweet-tooths won't be able to resist goodies like the Caramel Swirl Brownie or Choc-Ginger Cheesecake. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available, and jams and honey can be purchased.
Coffee is supplied by Melbourne-based company, Amanti, with 'The Girls' using the blend which has a tangy flavour and lovely, light lingering after-taste. Early-morning commuters make use of the 'Text Ur Coffee' by ordering via their mobile phones and picking up their caffeine fix 15 minutes later. For something a little stronger, the café/restaurant is fully licensed....
Solitude, reflection, observation - the inside world of an artist is clearly visible in their studio environment. Artworks have the capacity to evoke memories and emotions and visiting the work-space of artist and author Lyne Marshall, located a short half hour's drive West of the Ipswich Central Business District, offers an opportunity to see her work in the space it was created.
An avid traveller, Lyne's creates from observing and reflecting on the unique and intensive presence of wilderness landscapes. Her artwork is a direct response to an emotional and spiritual encounter with the beauty and design in nature, the cycles of life and the elements exposing layers of the earth through time.
The journey to Lyne's studio, nestled in the Australian bush with views across the Minden Valley, is an adventure in itself. You can view her original paintings, limited edition prints on paper and metal, sculptures by both Lyne and her husband Peter, hand made jewellery and Lyne's books on the creative process.
There is adequate parking for any type of vehicle, wheelchair access to the gallery, and interesting conversation. However this is a working studio so booking an appointment time is essential....