Toowoomba seems to be a name straight out of children’s books, the ones where stress-free lives and happy endings are a frequent occurrence. However, it is a real name, of a real place in Australia. Toowoomba is a regional city in Queensland, just 125 Kilometers away from Brisbane, the capital city of Brisbane. It is known as the ‘Queen City’ of the Darling Downs and happens to be one of the major centres for commerce, industry and education in Queensland. Filled with a number of exciting attractions, Toowoomba is just waiting for you to explore it all!
Cobb & Co Museum
Time travelling is something not many thinks is possible – but museums prove it wrong! Museums can take you back in time, showing you the times when steam trains were in fashion and horse carriages were used to take people around royally, just as displayed in Toowoomba’s popular museum, Cobb & Co Museum. It was originally built to house the stunning collection of 19th-century horse-drawn vehicles of W. R. F. Bolton, all of them having restored and maintained over thirty years. Along with that, there are more than a hundred artifacts, including ancient machinery, tools as well as saddles and appliances of domestic and occupational use. Take a stroll around the museum to look in Toowoomba’s history and Australian transport options and have some delicious scones at the museum’s café.
One of the beautiful attractions of Toowoomba is a heritage-listed theatre and art-deco venue, called Empire Theatre. It is one of the largest regional performing arts complexes, not just in Toowoomba, but in Australia. The Empire Theatres is known to stage some globally well-known shows, thus pulling in national and international plays and performers to the city. Right from ballet performances, comedy shows to music and live performances, the theatre hosts them all. The theatre is a lavish and ethereally designed, complete with state-of-the-art technology and can make any show a magical experience within the walls. Historical tours are taken around the property and are also a great choice for organizing weddings, conferences and other events.
Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery
Toowoomba definitely has an artistic streak, found in its museums and galleries, such as the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. It was one of the oldest public art galleries in regional Queensland, established in 1937; it was then relocated, in 1994, from Toowoomba City Hall to its own award-winning façade adjacent to it. A permanent home to the Lionel Lindsay Art Gallery and Library, the collection has more than 400 beautiful Australian artworks, by well-known artists – whereas the library consists of rare books, significant letters and ancient manuscripts. The other collections comprise of different Australian arts, right from drawings, paintings and photographs to ceramics, small scale sculpture and jewellery. The gallery tries to provide a diverse range of educational activities with the help of their extensive exhibition program.
Laurel Bank Park
Spread over 4.5 hectares of space is the beautiful Laurel Bank Park, where peace and serenity are an all-time thing to experience. The park was created in 1932, when Mr Samuel George Stephens, the Managing Director of Darling Downs Building Society, donated to the city and its people. He had already planted some shrubs and flowers on the land and therefore, came to be known as ‘the man of flowers’. The park has a number of manicured gardens, a unique scented garden, a playground, gazebo, croquet greens and picnic area, with exotic trees dispersed all over the place. The park is beautiful all the time, but is even more so during the spring, with the cherry blossoms and sublime allure.
Queens Park and Botanic Gardens
Toowoomba is blessed with many picturesque parks and one of them is Queens Park, located just near Toowoomba’s Central Business District. The park is filled with beautiful attractions, such as a well-maintained floral garden as well as a formal and extensive botanic garden in the north-eastern section. Whereas the north-western and south-eastern sections consist of massive grassy expanses, ideal for sports; they also have special swings, so that disabled children can have their own fun as well. The southern section has children’s play equipment, along with walking tracks and a bicycle track Spread over 26.3 hectares of land, the park has always been used for many community activities, events and festivals.
Toowoomba is a proud home to Toowoomba Speedway, established by Made Too Go Pty Ltd. One can find cars of each and every genre in this place, right from sprintcars and racy V8s to even Formula 500s. While one can check the speedway’s calendar to choose the event they want to attend, it is recommended that you plan your visit around the time when ‘The Ultimate Pink Night’ is taking place. It is one of the many events the Toowoomba Speedway hosts, with the aim of raising enough money – and awareness – for breast cancer. If you are the one to enjoy car races and adventure, Toowoomba speedway should go on your itinerary list right away!
Russell Street Historical Walk
Imagine a dirt road developing on to become a historic street – that’s the Russell Street in a nutshell. It was originally known as Farm Road and was simply a dirt track, used by squatters to transport their cattle and sheep to Brisbane and come back with supplies to their respective properties. In 1954, it was named as Russell Street after Henry Stuart Russell, an early Toowoomba resident who was a politician, author, explorer and grazier. This walk is a self-guided walking tour, where you will be greeted by historical landmarks, boasting fine architecture, right from the mid-19th century. This 2.5 kilometres of Queenslanders path provides a mesmerizing insight into the Australian architectural styles – a perfect way to spend a breezy evening.
Crows Nest National Park
Located on the Darling Downs of Southern Queensland is the Crows Nest National Park, just on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. It is characterized by a mesmerizing waterfall, breathtaking sceneries and a huge eucalypt forest. The forest has quite a versatile variety of eucalypt trees, right from stringybarks, bloodwoods to gums and ironbarks, whereas the park is full of wildlife, including bandicoots, swamp wallabies, platypus and the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, an almost extinct species in Queensland. The Crows Nest Falls is the most special feature of this place, having lent the name to the national park itself. The falling water descends 20 metres, settling over the steep granite cliffs. The park is filled with natural features, where you will be surrounded by chirping sounds and peace.
Preston Peak Wines
Located just a few minutes away from Toowoomba, hidden in the folds of the regional Queensland’s mountains, is the Preston Peak Winery. It was established in 1995 and produces more than 26 variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet and Shiraz – and some other alternate varieties, including Viognier, Mataro, Verdelho and Carmenere. The winery’s Cellar Door provides quality wine tastings, sales and tastiest cheese platters five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday. The winery has a well-equipped bar, ample car parking and coach parking space, private dining area and fun facilities of entertainment and live music. The place is quite suitable for hosting events and functions, including corporate parties and receptions.
Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland
Looking over the panoramic Toowoomba is the Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland. It is located on the crest of the Great Dividing Range and offers sweeping views of the picturesque Main Range and the Lockyer Valley. The parkland is spread over 160 acres and is filled well-maintained lawns and fascinating escarpment views, with the entrance lined with mature hoop pines and South Queensland kauris. There are free barbecues in the place, which are free to use; you can pre-pack a lunch or use those stands to enjoy your picnic. You can also go to the nearby cafés and restaurants to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious meal. Birdwatching, peaceful time, a family time, taking the famed Toowoomba selfie – this attraction is quite a wholesome place!
Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens
The University of Southern Queensland has a little piece of Japan tucked away in the Northern side of the campus, called as Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens. Ju Raku En, in Japanese, means ‘to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place' – and that’s exactly what these gardens do! It is the largest and most traditionally created Japanese stroll garden in the whole of Australia. The mountain stream and waterfall elements, the Dry Garden, Azalea Hill, central lake and around 230 types of Japanese and native Australian plants and trees come together to provide a harmonious and peaceful blend in the garden. This 4.5 hectares of land is a hit among the locals as well as the tourists, with its photogenic backdrops and serene atmosphere.
Salt Caves Toowoomba was established in 2011, with the aim of introducing people to the benefits of Speleotherapy, or simply, salt therapy. These salt caves are equipped with an ominous but peaceful setting, as if you are actually walking in a modern cave, with state-of-the-art facilities. The floor has a thick layer of loose salt and soft and lush Tibetan yak-hair shawls are provided for the visitors to snuggle in. The place is always reverberating with soft and soothing music, while the therapy is carried out through pumping dry salt aerosol in the air. This therapy has many health benefits, right from improved sleep to strong immune responses – and definitely something everyone should experience at least once!
Toowoomba Flower Market
There are many types of markets, with the flower markets being one of the more-loved and exotic types. The flower market of Toowoomba is a beautiful one, specializing in offering some of the finest floral arrangements and gifts one will ever lay their eyes on. It is a specialist wholesale market, having retail florists bring in flowers grown locally and with care. The market opens up early morning, around 8:30 AM and functions till 4 PM, from Monday to Friday. The Saturdays are lazy days, where the flower market works from 7 AM till noon. One can also place their orders for special occasions, such as weddings, parties as well as Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and Australia Day, to name a few.
Restaurants are all about eating while cooking classes are all about, well, cooking. However, the Sauce Toowoomba strives to provide both! The café is a hip and trendy one, providing excellent food options and as the visitors claim great coffee. Apart from that, however, they also organize a variety of cooking classes and courses. There are also courses on creating Asian dishes, or on making kid’s dishes and baked goodies. It is open from Monday through Saturday, from 8 AM till 4 PM and is one of the most-visited classes and café in Toowoomba, used for celebrating birthdays and other special occasions.
Highfields Pioneer Village
Located just 20 minutes away from Toowoomba is the pretty outdoor museum, by the name of Highfields Pioneer Village. It is home to more than 50 historic building and structures, which has been saved from destruction and restored in this one place. These exact buildings, mostly originating from the Darling Downs region, document the Australian history for the visitors to experience. Along with that, there are a variety of other attractions, including an Ambulance Museum, Fire Brigade Museum and Queensland Energy Museum, among others. The Myrtle May – a miniature railway and Henry the Model T Ford Bus holds a special place in the visitors’ hearts, as these vehicles are put into functioning on the last Sundays of every month.
With all the parks and gardens in the place, Toowoomba might just be a fairytale town, full of fragrance and cheery colours. Toowoomba’s historic museums, amazing restaurants and wineries and the deserving label of ‘The Garden City’ might be the reason tourists are lured to the city – however, they continue to stay due to this inland city’s charm.