Did you know Ipswich’s very own Japanese-style garden is nestled quietly within Queens Park? Nerima Gardens offers families a chance to unwind and slow down. With its spectacular gardens, exotic temple, serene lakes and hidden paths to explore, a visit to the gardens is guaranteed to quieten even the most restless of souls.
Nerima Gardens – The Japanese Gardens of Ipswich
In October 1988, a delegation led by the then Nerima Deputy Mayor Mitsuishi visited Australia seeking a Sister City. After visiting three Australian cities, Ipswich was selected as the most suitable owing to the similarities between the two cities. In recognition of this, Nerima Gardens was designed and constructed.
Nerima Gardens seeks to capture the elements of a Japanese-style garden whilst retaining a distinctly Ipswich identity through local plants, including rare and endangered species. An idyllic retreat that carefully reflects many Japanese design elements and meanings, the park features numerous winding paths, ornamental lakes, a traditional Japanese tea house, fir trees, and an abundance of Australian native plants – many of which are indigenous to Ipswich.
Nerima’s design takes the visitor on a journey of discovery, with the lower section portraying the ocean and Moreton Bay, while the upper area represents the Ipswich region with its undulating landscape, vegetation and river.
Nerima Gardens – A Soothing Walk in Nature
From the moment you walk beneath the solid stone entrance to the gardens it becomes very clear that this is a very considered and meticulously designed space. Like stepping into another land, the concrete pathways stretch before you, winding through the landscape and disappearing into the distance behind towering trees and plants.
My children, previously talking loudly and running towards the entrance, immediately quietened down and slowly fell into step with me as we began to walk the path. I imagine the gardens have this effect on everyone who steps within their gates.
Tranquil and serene as the atmosphere descends around you, and yet, from the gentle rustling on the ground, bats calling from the trees and bird song twinkling down from above, it is clear that life is thriving in this environment, too.
It is easy to take your time as you walk through the gardens. There is so much natural beauty to absorb, as well as some beautifully crafted manmade structures. Mini bridges, wooden boardwalks and delicate stepping stones lead the way, with a traditional Japanese tea house sitting quietly near the entrance.
Complete with rattan matting and a small veranda overlooking a stream, visitors can actually organise a traditional tea ceremony here through the Visitors Information Centre.
A small rock waterfall that trickles in a continuous stream into the large, central ornamental lake feels like a meditation soundtrack is being played in the background. Filled with lilypads and water life, a visit to the lake during the flowering season will reward you with brightly coloured waterlilies to admire.
Keep an eye out for hidden pathways, especially one that weaves beneath two large hedged walls. Your children will enjoy moving between the giant bamboo stalks and pointing out the trees laden with hanging bats (be careful to avoid their dropping on the pathways below!).
A gentle stroll through the gardens will reward you with multiple wildlife spottings, gorgeous natural scenery and perfectly manicured gardens. Like stepping into a small Japanese parkland for a few stolen minutes, the effect these gardens will have on resting your heart, mind and soul will stay with you for some time after you leave.
Nerima Gardens – Other Useful Information
Address: Queens Park, Goleby Avenue, Ipswich
Tuesday to Friday – 9.00 am – 3.45 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays – 9.00 am – 5.45 pm (4pm in Winter)
Website: Nerima Gardens
Other Attractions to Visit at Queens Park
If you haven’t been to Queens Park before, we recommend coming prepared to spend a full day here exploring – or else space it out over multiple visits. Designed with families in mind, the park has numerous attractions on-site, which are all worth a visit with the kids. An idea of how you could spend your day here may be:
- Start your day at the impressively large children’s playground, which has plenty of different play equipment to cater for all ages and abilities.
- After tiring the kids out, head across the road and wander through the Ipswich Nature Centre. Meet a range of local animals and birds in this small, quaint zoo and bring only a small gold coin donation along for entry.
- By now, the kids have probably worked up quite an appetite. If you had time to pack a picnic before leaving this morning, then now would be the perfect time to spread it out on the expansive lawns under a shady tree and enjoy it. Otherwise, you can visit the Queens Park Cafe, which has a delicious lunch and kids’ menu and ice creams to devour.
- After lunch, a quick visit to the Environmental Education Centre, which is located next door to the cafe, will provide the kids with some quiet activities as they learn all about Ipswich’s unique flora and fauna and how we live affects the environment.
- Lastly, head over to the beautiful Nerima Gardens. Ending your full day here in these peaceful surroundings will help active little bodies and minds calm down just in time for that car ride home.