Toowoomba: A City in Constant Bloom
With over 150 parks and gardens, Toowoomba is a haven of peace and respite in mountainous Southern Queensland. The regional city offers limitless walking trails ranging from leisurely strolls through themed gardens to treks up to scenic lookouts. Toowoomba is also a festival hub, with family-friendly events throughout the year, attended by visitors from all over the state and country. Add to this a rich history and thriving arts scene and you get a buzzing holiday destination. To accommodate the region’s visitors, there are a number of holiday rentals ranging from hillside retreats to city centre apartments.
Parks and Gardens in Toowoomba
Picnic Point is the most popular lookout and park in Toowoomba. Take in sweeping views of the valleys and mountain range, go for a stroll in the landscaped garden with waterfalls, hike along longer trails leading down the range or to Table Top Mountain or have a quiet day with the family. BBQ facilities are onsite as is a large, shady playground.
The Japanese Gardens at the University of South Queensland offer 3km of walking paths, a waterfall, lake and bridge and 230 species of Japanese and Australian flora. This is the most authentic, traditional Japanese garden in Australia. This peaceful setting is often frequented by artists inspired by the scenery and families with young children who come to feed the ducks in the lake.
Closer to the centre of Toowoomba, you’ll find Lake Annand Park, with landscape inspired by New Zealand’s natural wonders. The lake includes a geyser-like fountain and the park also features an artificial flow of lava. A number of kiwi plants add to the theme. This park is traversed by a bike path which follows East Creek all the way to Queen’s Park, home to year-round flower displays.
Toowoomba’s Rich History and Heritage
Step into Toowoomba’s past and visit the National Carriage Collection at the Cobb & Co Museum, consisting of 50 horse-drawn buggies used to ferry people and mail across Australia in the mid-to-late 1800s. Another part of the Cobb & Co Museum is the Factory, where visitors can take in interactive displays, learn about the trades that made Southern Queensland prosperous and even create their own artefacts.
While in Toowoomba, travellers can catch a performance at the heritage-listed Empire Theatre, an art-deco venue that was once the largest silent movie theatre in regional Australia. Nowadays, visitors can view shows of all sorts, including ballet, musical theatre and a variety of plays. If you’d like to learn about the Empire Theatre’s past, sing up for a historic tour.
Get some exercise as you discover Toowoomba of yesteryear. Walks are offered on Mort Estate, the oldest neighbourhood in Toowoomba. Built in 1862, Mort Estate houses numerous heritage buildings including the historic Railway Station. For a self-guided tour, head over to Toowoomba’s Visitor Information Centre and pick up a brochure.
Art and Galleries in Toowoomba
Perhaps you’d prefer to soak up contemporary Toowoomba culture alongside the region’s history on your holiday? If this is the case, spend some time at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, which offers a mix of the latest local works of art and historically significant exhibitions. This museum is the oldest in regional Queensland and admission is free.
Delve further into local culture and visit USQ Artsworx, a gallery run within the University of South Queensland showcasing talent across the university and wider community from visual art exhibitions to cabaret performances. Finally, take a painting home with you and get to know Toowoomba, Queensland and Australia’s emerging talent at the Tosari Galleries, which focus heavily on indigenous art.
Toowoomba’s Festivals and Carnivals
Every year in September since 1949, Toowoomba has hosted the Carnival of Flowers, a 10-day series of horticultural events, street parades, live music and entertainment for the whole family. In addition to floral displays, garden competitions and flower bed tours, Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers boasts food and wine shows, fashion events, concerts and even a Kids’ Day Out. Amateur botanists from around Australia flock to Queen’s Park each year and numerous free activities are available for those simply looking to soak up the spring atmosphere.
Queen’s Park is also the base for Easterfest, a carnival happening each year at Easter with everything from family-friendly activities to religious worship. Throughout the festival, visitors can see musical performance by international artists, sample local food and Chai tea, get their adrenaline pumping on rides or enter Kids’ World, an Easter centre set up just for the little ones.
Toowoomba is only 1.5 hours from Brisbane, ensuring an easy drive for a weekend getaway. This Southern Queensland holiday destination caters well to couples and young families who seek to enjoy the great outdoors in a civilized setting, with plenty of cultural activities to partake in when it’s time to rest.