Commune With Nature and Calm Your Spirit at Nerima Gardens

Inspired by a ‘Sister City’ link between Ipswich and Nerima City in Japan, Nerima Gardens in Queens Park is a celebration of two cultures and a special place to commune with nature and calm the spirit. 

In October 1988, a delegation led by the then Nerima Deputy Mayor Mitsuishi arrived in the country to visit three cities with the aim of selecting their Sister City to forge goodwill between cities of different countries, cultures and experiences. 

Commune With Nature and Calm Your Spirit at Nerima Gardens
Photo credit:  City of Ipswich /

From these three Australian cities, Ipswich was selected because of the similarities it shares with Nerima. Spanning 48.17 square kilometres, Nerima like Ipswich is located next to a capital City, Tokyo. It is also near an international airport and both cities are in the same time zone.

Ipswich and Nerima’s Sister City relationship was formalised on 15 October 1994.

On 17 May 2001, the first stage of Nerima Gardens was opened by former Ipswich Mayor John Nugent and Nerima Mayor Saburo Iwanami. The site serves to commemorate the Sister City relationship between these two cities.

Commune With Nature and Calm Your Spirit at Nerima Gardens
Photo credit:  City of Ipswich /

Whilst it aims to capture the elements of a Japanese-style garden, visitors will notice that Ipswich’s distinct identity is also evident throughout with the use of local plants that includes rare and endangered species.

The Nerima Gardens’ design elements include walled entry gates which symbolise protection from outside forces and passage to oneness with the earth; the life bridge which provides a moment to pause and reflect; and the tea house, a special building for holding Japanese tea ceremonies.

Commune With Nature and Calm Your Spirit at Nerima Gardens
Photo credit:  City of Ipswich /

Sadly, due to the restrictive nature of the pathways, delicate gardens and limited areas for a large group of people to gather without affecting other park users’ ability to move about freely in the area, events are not allowed within Nerima Gardens.

Published 20-March-2023

Visit the Special Christmas Wonderland at Nerima Gardens in Ipswich

Whilst everyone will agree that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest, it won’t stop people from celebrating the joys of Christmas. If you’re looking to do something special this holiday with your family, plot a visit to the Nerima Gardens for a truly unforgettable time.

Nerima Gardens has been turned into a Christmas Wonderland as part of the Christmas in Ipswich 2020 program. It’s a sight to behold, with over 50,000 colourful lights on the lush greens. 

“The lighting design is by the super creative Sharon Penny and the intricate placement of millions of lights in the dark was the hard work of so many people bringing this creation to life!  Flame Trees, origami boats, waterfalls, tunnels of dripping light bulbs, the tree of life – like walking into a dazzling wonderland from another world,” photographer Leah Desborough said

Photo Credit: Leah Desborough Photographer/Nerima Gardens/Facebook

Christmas Wonderland is a ticketed, half-hour event to ensure a COVID-19 safe environment. Proceeds for the tickets — priced at $5 (individual), $15 (group) and $20 (group) — will go to charities that have had a hard time raising funds due to the pandemic. 

“It’s been a hard year for all, and charity groups are no exception,” Mayor Teresa Harding said. “The funds raised through ticket sales to Christmas Wonderland will go some way to helping these organisations continue the important work they do in our community.”

To score tickets and to get updates on the opening times at Nerima Gardens, visit the Christmas Wonderland event page

An Updated Guide to the Best Ipswich Walks

Ipswich has some of the most incredible but underrated walking trails in Queensland that both casual and experienced walkers. Only less than an hour’s drive from Brisbane CBD, Ipswich walks are family-friendly and well-suited for prams and wheelchairs. 

Time to put on your most comfortable shoes and check out these best sites to visit:

Springfield Lakes Promenade

The Promenade is an easy stretch that features a section of the Springfield Lakes. It starts off on Springfield Lakes Blvd and down to the Waterside Reserve. 

Public artworks of metal crocodiles and other designs are scattered all around the walking paths so it makes for a nice and interesting walk with the little ones. There’s a barbecue area and a fenced playground at the Promenade Park and it’s a lovely place to rest or cap off a Sunday afternoon romp with family.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Nerima Gardens

Within the eastern section of Queens Park is a Japanese garden, an ideal place to find your zen and solace. Nerima Gardens has a few winding paths surrounded by native Australian plants and fir trees, some Japanese-styled bridges across calming ponds, and a verandah overlooking a lake filled with ornate flowers and greens.    

If walking helps you think, this is where to go to get those creative juices flowing. This garden is well-maintained and has benches all around if you’d like to just sit, relax, breathe fresh air and relish in Mother Nature’s beauty.

Photo Credit: John Stephens/Google Maps

Denmark Hill Conservation Park

Set at the heart of the city, this Ipswich walk delivers the best views from the west. The old quarry in this area has been closed since 1952, leaving an abundance of natural places to explore for day-trippers, pet owners, birdwatchers and families or groups.

Pick from three different walking tracks — the Waterfall track (200m), the Circuit track (800m) and the Water Tower track (800m). The old water reservoir towers now serve as a climbing spot for visitors to view the best landmarks of Ipswich.

Denmark Hill Conservation Park is also home to the Triassic park, where dinosaur footprints on preserved sandstones are found. 

Photo Credit: Rhys Lauder/Google Maps

Kholo Botanic Gardens

A short drive north of Ipswich city is this gorgeous nature reserve that may be the best place to reset, rejuvenate and recover a peaceful mental state. If you need a break from your hectic life, reconnecting with nature at the Kholo Botanic Gardens should be the fix.

The Kholo Botanic Gardens is a paradise of flora and fauna amidst a spacious green open space. This subtropical bushland offers heaps of walking paths, varying from 400m to 800m.

There’s a bit of history here, too, with the restored and preserved structure of the Redbank Uniting Church from 1904. This is actually a favourite spot for small weddings.

The botanic gardens provide public toilets, drinking water stations, BBQ and picnic areas.  

Photo Credit: Sudha_Lyoness/Google Maps

Ipswich Heritage Trail

If you have a full day to spare, reconnect and rediscover the city and join the Ipswich walk through the heritage trail. The “Then and Now” series come highly recommended for both kids and adults who want to learn more about the people, places and events that shaped Ipswich. 

You’d surprised at how much fun, educational, and physically rejuvenating the heritage trail walk can be. Secure the maps at the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre at Queens Park if you’d like to set your trail at your own pace.    

Photo Credit: Ipswich Heritage Trail