Monday, April 20, 2015

Firm Focus: Hotel Helps Make Your Big Event Memorable

GREAT LOCATION: Metro Hotel Ipswich International general manager Earl Muir

ON SATURDAY, May 2, the Ipswich CBD will be alive with the action, colour and entertainment of the annual Ipswich Festival.

Part of the activities will be the showcase of events presented by the Metro Hotel Ipswich International, service sponsor of this year's Ipswich Festival.

General manager Earl Muir said the hotel could assist customers looking for a great location in Ipswich for their special event.

"We proudly support the Ipswich Festival and we are taking this opportunity while people are in town to remind people we are here," Mr Muir said.

Amidst the array of things to do, pop into the hotel at 43 South St, Ipswich and meet with the experienced events team to talk to them about your upcoming event, be it a wedding, gala dinner, formal or special birthday party.

"Our team will be able to give you many ideas from themed rooms, menus, entertainment and everything that will make your event an experience to remember. And while you are there, enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly and tease your tastebuds with a selection of canap├ęs," he said.

By simply having a chat about a future event and checking out the venue, you could win one night's accommodation, full buffet breakfast and dinner for two and a sunset flight with Pterodactyl Helicopters worth $980, so make sure you fill in the entry form.

The hotel's events showcase is being held from 11am-4pm, leaving time for visitors to stroll around the corner to take up position for the Ipswich Festival Parade at 6pm.

"We offer a complete package for weddings, the only hotel in the city that does so, including accommodation, venue, food and beverage package it means that the couple have a flat, per head cost and room for them to add their own personal touches to their special day," he said.

When it comes to conferences, the variety of rooms available is sure to please. Each room has high speed data connectivity, data projector and standard resources, Metro offers conference packages.

Mr Muir is no stranger to hospitality, starting out with the hotel scene around backpackers in Europe, working in resorts in far North Queensland and with Rick Stein, Alistair McLeod and other well-known chefs.

"I have been here for a year now and it is a very rewarding opportunity," he said.

Metro Hotels is the public face of Transmetro Corporation, an Australian owned public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The group currently provides a national accommodation network of properties, with more than 1000 rooms in key locations and major cities across Australia.

Visit Metro Hotel Ipswich International during the festival celebrations on May 2. 

For more details phone 3812 8077

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Metro Hotel Ipswich International showcase for weddings, parties, gala dinners and formals

Metro Hotel Ipswich International showcase for weddings, parties, gala dinners and formals

Metro Hotel Ipswich International functions showcase for weddings, parties, gala dinners and formals! 

When: 2nd May 2015 from 11am to 4pm
Where: 43 South Street, Ipswich QLD

Enjoy a FREE glass of bubbly and a selection of canapes from our Head Chef Guy Farrow!

Experience a selection of themed room perfect for your next event. Come and enjoy how we can enhance your next special occasion or even and meet our experienced event team at Metro Hotel Ipswich International.

Go in the draw for your chance to win the Sunset Flight Overnight Experience for two people valued at $980! To enter, fill in your entry form at Metro Hotel Ipswich International.


Metro Hotel Ipswich International showcase for weddings, parties, gala dinners and formals

Monday, March 30, 2015

Shayne Neumann | Metro Hotels Stand - Regional Showcase Event Ipswich

Shayne Neumann | Metro Hotels Stand - Regional Showcase Event Ipswich

Shane With Gail, Emma and Earl supporting Metro Hotels & CCIQ Bremer Region tonight. Well done sponsors & exhibitors.

Follow Shayne Newman on twitter at

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ipswich Festival 2015 Highlights

Ipswich Festival 2015 Highlights

The spectacular Ipswich Festival is back in 2015 bigger than ever! Packed with fantastic shows, events, parades and concerts to suit the whole family.

Fire on the River launches the festivities with a spectacular explosion of colours lighting up the night sky. Join us for an enthralling display of fireworks synchronised to a dedicated soundtrack that is sure to delight the whole family. This spectacular pyrotechnic display has become a festival favourite with a stunning showcase of the very best "feature" fireworks and fire canons.

Best vantage points are at Riverlink Shopping Centre and David Trumpy Bridge.

Date: Thursday April 16th @ 7pm
Location: Riverlink Shopping Centre, Upper Level, Ipswich Central

Parade of Light - Cheer on the cavalcade of our spirited community groups, classic cars, lively marching bands, local businesses, festival characters, schools, and energetic dancers.

For the first time, the Ipswich Festival Parade moves into the night creating high excitement and a colourful carnival atmosphere. Be amazed as giant, magical lanterns journey along Ipswich's inner city streets creating a night of spectacular surprises.

Themed "Our People, Our Culture", the parade celebrates Ipswich's rich history and diverse community and will be an impressive display that is sure to entertain. The annual parade is a must-see highlight of the festival.

Date: Saturday May 2nd
Location: Brisbane St - Between Waghorn and Bell St

Lunchtime Sessions - Revolutionise your lunchtime routine! Festival LunchTime Sessions feature five exciting days of free live entertainment in Ipswich City Mall. This is a FREE event!

Dates: April 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 29th, 30th
Location: Ipswich City Mall, Ipswich Central
Shows: See below

The Magic Parlour
A day of monumental magical mayhem! Two incredible shows so close up and interactive - they will delight and amaze you. The Super Steph Magic Show and Damien the Magician. Plus balloon art, live bunny and magical tricks galore. This one is for the kids as well as the young at heart.
Tuesday April 21st 11am - 1.30pm

The Romance of Strauss, Bach and Bluegrass
Lunch with over 20 musicians from the strings section of Ipswich City Orchestra. Come and be swept away to old Vienna with Strauss Waltzes played by the professional Orchestra's String section. Then get your hands clapping for some good old fashioned bluegrass with the Suzuki Students of Ipswich.
Wednesday April 22nd 11am - 1pm

That's Entertainment!
Let us take you on a journey of timeless music and history, with 'Back to Basics' recreating the era of the Andrew Sisters, followed by a mash of your favourite hit pop rock songs of the 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond with live band Shriners Park. Tea & light refreshments early or BYO lunch.
Thursday April 23rd 11am - 2pm

Big Band Brassy
Swing and sway to the smooth and brassy sounds of the amazing C17's Amberley Brass Band and the gold medal award winning Redbank Plains State High School Marching Band. Sit back and relax or dance to the beat of big band swing, classical, new world symphony, and so much more.
Wednesday April 29th 11am - 2pm

Swing it!
With a double scoop of comedy and a generous serving of musical mayhem the Swingin' Martinis belt out the best of Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin classics through to the Proclaimers via ABBA and Tom Jones - all fused together to bring you some good old high energy and cracking entertainment.
Thursday April 30th 12noon - 1pm

Night Time Sessions:
Latin Dance with Brazilian Soul
Join in the fun or opt in the free dance class when Brazilian Soul perform a variety of Latin dance styles, all authentic from South America.
Wednesday April 22nd 5pm - 6pm

SwingaBilly Ray
It's a revival of the golden age of swing jazz. Kick up you heels doing the lindy hop, the Charleston, St Louis shag, or shim sham and jitterbug - all this to the sounds of your favourite swing tunes from yesteryear. Everybody welcome. Free Swing Dance Class.
Thursday April 30th 5pm - 7.30pm

To view more Ipswich Festival highlights visit their official website:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

International Rugby League May 1-2 Queensland NRL Representative Round

International Rugby League will return to South-East Queensland this year with Brisbane and the Gold Coast set to host a blockbuster stand-alone weekend of representative rugby league in May.

In a huge coup for NRL fans in Queensland, Suncorp Stadium will host the traditional Trans-Tasman Test Match between Australia and New Zealand, supported by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), on Friday May 1.

The Test is the only international match between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis in 2015. The Test Match will be a key game in rugby league's program of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli.

May 1 also sees the Australian Jillaroos take on the NZ Kiwi Ferns at Suncorp Stadium, while Pacific powerhouses Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea will be part of a triple-header at Gold Coast's Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday May 2.

The first match on Saturday night (May 2) will feature the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The PNG Kumuls will then take on Fiji Bati, before Samoa return to the international stage following their successful Four Nations campaign against traditional rivals Tonga.

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Country Superstars Rock Ipswich as CMC Plans to Stay

CMC ROCKS is set to have a home in Ipswich for years to come after a hugely successful three-day international country and roots music festival wrapped up yesterday.

More than 30,000 fans came through the gates during the festival with US international act Big and Rich closing last night's program to great acclaim.

Troy Cassar-Daley backs CMC Rocks' future

The festival has a three-year deal out at Willowbank with Ipswich City Council and the State Government but Matthew Lazarus-Hall, the CEO of co-promoter Chugg Entertainment, said a long-term stay was in the pipeline.

"We want a permanent home here," he said.

"We have moved this festival twice and we'd love to be here as long as people want us to be here."

Mr Lazarus-Hall said Ipswich, and south-east Queensland generally, was a hub for the genre.

"We've moved the festival to where the audience is," he said.

"Everyone who has come to the festival has had a great time."

More than 75% of the suppliers for the festival were from the region, ensuring a massive injection into the local economy.

Mr Lazarus-Hall said the Willowbank site was like "a mini city" with all the facilities available for fans to have a great time.

"We have even got a doctor and pharmacist on site," he said.

"It is very rare you have everyone running in the same direction but everyone from the local suppliers, to the council and State Government has been a dream to deal with.

"Mayor (Paul) Pisasale has been amazing. He has said, 'whatever we need to do to make it work, let's get on with it'.

"We really appreciate the opportunity to bring international acts out but also to promote Australian acts."

Grammy Award winners such as Lady Antebellum, Chris Young and Kacey Musgraves played as did Australian stars.

The Aussie acts proved a big drawcard for Ipswich's Tammy Telford.

"This is the day I wanted to come, to see Adam Harvey, John Williamson and Troy Cassar-Daley," she said yesterday

"I'm from Ipswich, so this is absolutely fantastic that us Queenslanders get to go.

"I'll be coming every year. I'm a huge country fan."

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ipswich, where the sky’s the limit. Hot-air ballooning over Ipswich.

Ipswich, where the sky’s the limit. Hot-air ballooning over Ipswich.
Hot-air ballooning over Ipswich, Queensland.

FIRE lights the sky in the pre-dawn of a Queensland day. Soon we are floating gently upwards, borne by a hot-air balloon above the heritage city of Ipswich.
Beyond the balloon gondola, the landscape wakes to the sun. The Great Dividing Range, in shades of grey and blue and green, shrouded in mist, rises in front of us and below us the narrow ribbon of the Bremer River cuts its way through the city. Sunlight catches on the brick and stone buildings of Queensland’s oldest provincial city, dotted with parks and gardens.
Before long we are flying over farmland and vineyards, drinking in the landscape from 550m while Floating Images chief pilot Graeme Day tends the burners and the wind takes us where it will.
On a two-day visit to Ipswich, I find myself in the air almost more often than on the ground, as I sample some of the activities that make the region an easy choice for a Brisbane getaway. Only 30 minutes’ drive from the Queensland capital, Ipswich is undergoing a renaissance that is seeing many of its heritage buildings put to modern use, with the undulating countryside of southeast Queensland’s Scenic Rim just minutes out of town.
In the city centre, the modern Metro Hotel International is the pick-up and drop-off point for ballooning and helicopter tours. Balloon rides finish with a champagne breakfast at the hotel’s Platform 9 restaurant.
At Ironbark Ridge vineyard, a mob of kangaroos, more than a dozen strong, stands stock still beside the driveway, alert but immobile as they watch us pass. We’ve arrived in rock-star style … by limousine transfer from Brisbane and then by helicopter, landing in a mown circle of grass on the edge of the vineyard.
“We also occasionally get a couple of koalas wandering through,” says winemaker Barry Hoffensetz, who planted the first vines on his property in 1983.
Ironbark Ridge is the oldest of about a dozen boutique wineries on the regular drop-in list of Captain Mike Jarvis’ Pterodactyl Helicopters tours. Soon we’re heading to the cellar door, a historic miner’s cottage that served as Hoffensetz’s surgery in Ipswich before he retired as a GP.
Tastings are waiting. Ironbark Ridge has 3.4ha under vine with mainly chardonnay, shiraz and grenache grapes, but smaller plantings of boutique varieties such as marsanne, rousanne, viognier, dolcetto, verdelho and nebioli. All the vines are hand-planted and the grapes are hand-picked.
It has not always been easy. “We had 10 to 12 years of drought, then an abundance of rain at the wrong time in the past four years,” says Hoffensetz.
But he and his wife, Jan, and others in the region, have persevered and the heli-tours have helped. Pterodactyl Helicopters is one of several businesses boosting Ipswich’s tourism industry beyond its well-known heritage attractions.
At the second of two vineyards on our combo-tour from Pterodactyl’s wine and pub tours, Normanby Wines owner Mick Hall extends a grape-stained hand in welcome to his “best backyard in the world”.
Hall came to Australia five decades ago, from England, and now declares the nearby village of Harrisville “the hub of the universe”. He and his wife Jenny have lived there since 1972 and planted their first vines in 1999. They have seven varieties of grape on 3ha of their 66ha property. I’m intrigued by wine names I’ve never heard before: veraz (a blend of verdelho and shiraz) and durif. Hall says Normanby Wines is one of the few Queensland vineyards to produce durif, a rich dark red wine.
A few minutes’ flight away — and about 30km from Ipswich by road — is the historic Royal Hotel Harrisville, where we tuck into schnitzel for lunch and down a couple of cold beers. Publicans Steve and Monika Patrick bought the pub three years ago, and will soon open their first accommodation, in a restored railway carriage, to complement the free camping they offer to travellers.
In stark contrast to the Royal’s elegant Queenslander-style verandahs, our next pub stop is the Sundowner Saloon at Haigslea, on the busy Warrego Highway. With a front garden of tall cactus, saloon doors and Clint Eastwood gazing down from the restaurant wall, it’s country and western territory.
We finish our tour in town at Ipswich’s new boutique brewery, the Pumpyard Bar. On the ground floor in the heritage-listed former Ipswich Technical College, where blacksmiths and plumbers once learned their trades, the place is all industrial-chic, with a long wooden bar and shiny stainless steel brewing tanks lining the walls.
Award-winning brewer Wade Curtis and co-owner James Long are hopeful their 4 Hearts Brewing venture will attract not only locals but Brisbane-ites looking for new places to drink and dine.
With 10 taps, the brewhouse is offering its own seven beers (with names such as Coalminers Stout to reflect the city’s heritage), “guest” boutique beers and ciders, and organic soft drinks. The beer-focused menu includes a signature beef cheek dish and even beer ice-cream.
Pumpyard is the first tenant in the redevelopment of the sprawling old Technical College, to be known as 88 Limestone, in Ipswich’s Top of Town district. This takes in Ellenborough, Brisbane and Limestone streets, all bustling with renovation and redevelopment projects. Cafes and restaurants are springing up and there are vintage fashion stores, the Daily Planet comic shop and CJ Volger & Son’s model and hobby store. None of it is far from the Ipswich Art Gallery, which lays claim to being the nation’s most visited regional art gallery, and Jamie Oliver’s first Australian Ministry of Food kitchen.
But it’s the Latin phrase emblazoned on the frieze on the front of the Limestone 88 building that catches my eye. Auspicium Melioris Aevi, it reads. The translation, I’m told, is roughly, “the promise of a better age”. Somehow, it seems appropriate.
Lee Mylne was a guest of the Metro Hotel Ipswich International, Floating Images and Pterodactyl Helicopters.

Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights runs one-hour balloon flights daily, including a champagne breakfast. More:
Pterodactyl Helicopters has a range of options including wine and pub tours. More:
Metro Hotel Ipswich International has 97 guestrooms and nine one-bedroom apartments. More: