10 Best Things To Do In Toowoomba
Toowoomba gives you cool mountain air, a distinguished style and old world charm.
It’s been called the garden city of South East Australia.
It is Queensland’s largest inland town, sitting pretty on top the Darling Downs.
If you do decide to travel to Toowoomba, you’ll have a wonderful restful holiday.
The people are friendly, and the city still retains that peaceful, bright almost laid-back feeling that you miss when you’re in Melbourne.
And like other great inland areas, Toowoomba offers an attractive variety of things to do.
We picked out our top 10 best things to do in Toowoomba, and here they are.
1. Flower Carnival
The Alfred Thomas Memorial will prepare you for the Annual Flower Carnival which is an exotic array of orchids, daffodils, blooms, daisies, white and pink roses and 16 other varieties of flowers.
The Carnival has been running for over 65 years.
It draws more than 100,000 spectators, including families, couples, retirees and travelers, with a famous celebration of flowers, food and wine.
It’s got something for everyone.
The most amazing spectacle are the flower carriages that snake their way through the city streets, made mostly from flowers.
Flowers take center stage, but local produce also features.
2. A Bike Tour
For any newcomer, you need to start with exploring the sights and sounds of the city.
Your best way to do that is saddled on a bike, gliding down city streets, where you have ample time to stroll into the Art galleries, take pictures and view the flower gardens.
There are a number of bike hire companies in town and for less than 5 dollars a day, you can get a wide option of city bicycles or mountain bikes.
As you do that, you will need some refreshing and that brings us to the third best thing for any human. Eating!
3. City Cafes
Toowoomba’s popular coffee house is simply known as ‘Coffee House.’
They have won awards for their award-winning coffee and friendly staff.
The Coffee House serves breakfast and brunch to compliment their brand-new luxury apartment complex, Laguna Serviced Apartments.
Coffee House is a contemporary place, with bright colors, spacy interiors, piped music and a new look menu.
Choose from chicken wraps, burritos, Ameican style fries and grilled steak, toasted wraps and sandwiches made to order.
While you’r at it, sample the aromatic roasted Merlo coffee!
I love the city walk cafes that pack a mean brunch.
One of the meals that stood out for me is the unique Toowoomba pasta.
There’re like 10 different ways to prepare your pasta using garlic, shrimp, prawns, sour cream and turmeric.
Definitely one of the quick dishes you can enjoy without feeling too full.
Like most cities, you still get a number of options for international cuisine including Chinese, English old-Style, Lebanese, Thai, West Samoan and Afghan cooking.
Afghan Cooking Brings The Community Together!
The Garden City has seen an ever growing influx of Afghanis settling in the local community.
So the visitors, thanks to a joint venture between Mercy Community Services, Toowoomba Regional Council and the Multicultural Development Association, gathered together at St Luke’s Hall to teach the locals about genuine Afghani cooking.
“It’s all about social connection,” explained David Barton, team leader multicultural diversity hub of Mercy Community Services.
“It’s a way to bring the mainstream community together with people new to the community. They cook together, prepare the meal together and then they eat together.”
Sponsored by Multicultural Affairs Queensland, entry to the cooking classes – and the subsequent eating thereof – was free.
4. Toowoomba Heritage Sites
There are about 50 heritage listed sites in the CBD and inner city suburbs alone, so if you are a History Major Student, this has to be one of your ‘must-do’ items during your Studies.
Both Laurel Bank Park and Queens Park provide the basis for splendid walks through exotic scented gardens, colorful flowerbeds, widespread grassland and avenues of large leafy trees while allowing walkers to experience the history of this garden city.
Picnic Point is a delightful assortment of natural walkways through natural bush land, speckled with Australian gum trees.
5. A Wine Tour
Toowoomba has a number of vineyards sitting outside the city.
Thanks to its altitude and hilly mountain range, the grapes of the area are sunned just nicely for a great bottle of wine.
6. Flower, Food & Wine Festival
There’s nothing quite as fun as a festival. And Toowoomba has its fair share of international festivals like the Ergon Energy Flower, Food & Wine Festival.
It’s main preposition is ‘farm to place’ specialities like cow and goat milk cheeses, relishes, fresh berries and ripe vegetables.
Every Festival features a good turn-out of local and international celebrities.
7. National Park Tour
Now, it’s time to venture outside the city to witness some of the most spectacular natural sights you can ever see in any country.
Southern Queensland is home to a great variety of fauna, flowers, natural bushland and..granite rock. More specifically larger than life granite rock walkways and caves, balancing precariously on smaller rocks.
It makes you wonder, how…or who made it happen.
Girraween National Park is less than three hours’ drive from Brisbane and is one of 16 national parks in Southern Queensland Country.
Enjoy the spectacle of the Pyramid Granite outcroppings all across the park. They are huge boulders performing a delicate balancing act like an acrobat, in front of a adoring audience of wild yellow and white flowers.
While you’re there, attempt the Granite Arch walk.
It’s as hard as it sounds, actually it’s only 1.6 km turning into a 30 minute walk simply because you’ll spend a lot of time gazing into the beautiful woodlands.
However, you’ll easily cover the 1.6km walk that takes you past Bald Rock Creek, stringy bark forest before passing through Girraween’s natural stone archway.
8. Picnic At The 10 Waterfalls
You’ll find some of the most secluded waterfalls in the country a 10 minute drive out of Toowoomba.
It’s the perfect place for a weekend picnic, against this incredible natural backdrop.
Coomba Falls is the first stop, and icy cold swimming hole, with clear blue waters and some great rock outfalls along the sides of the pool.
Next, you can try The Cascades Pool, Kauyoo Pool and Bottlebrush Pools at the Crows Nest National Park. Follow the signs along the 2.7km walking track to reach The Cascades Pool and Kauyoo Pool first.
At both waterholes you will find a sandy ‘rainforest’ beach with easy access to shallow water.
Next, you have to enjoy the beautiful swimming spots dotted along Dairymple Creek in the Goomburra Section of the Main Range National Park.
Other scenic places you must enjoy include
- Bunya Mountains
- Laurel Bank Park
- Crows Nest Falls
- Rimfire Vineyards
- Clifford Park Racecourse
9. The Quality Hotel – Burke & Wills
Coming back to the city, you might want to settle for the night at The Quality Hotel – Burke & Willis.
I say this because it really has an interesting history, that makes for fantastic storytelling at 9 pm when you’re enjoying your late-night coffee.
It goes like this…
The Burke & Willis Hotel speaks the ‘Sixties’ in construction and architecture.
It was constructed in 1957, and known as the Exchange Hotel.
Back then, its construction was quite a feat of engineering.
It was demolished in 1956. In its place the Lennons Hotel was built. This hotel, then the tallest building in Toowoomba, was opened in 1957.
It was subsequently renamed the Lennons Toowoomba Hotel-Motel in 1966 and changed hands in 1969, becoming the Koala Motor Inn. After going through a number of name changes and new managements, it emerged as the Quality Hotel – Burke & Wills.
When the Lennons Hotel opened its doors in 1957, the Toowoomba Chronicle ran a large number of adverts and articles on the new hotel. The formal opening of the Lennons Hotel was carried out by the Mayor MJR Anderson at a dinner in the hotel.
The Lennons Hotel Toowoomba was part of the Lennons Group of Hotels, which also operated in Brisbane, Broadbeach and Kirra.
The hotel as it stands now was designed by Dr Karl Langer, an acclaimed Austrian architect who came to Brisbane in 1939.
He and his wife brought direct experience of the European Modern Movement to Australia and fulfilled key roles in many art organisations over the years.
The hotel is supported on a large concrete ‘raft’ that prevents it from sinking into the swampy ground.
In 1957, a number of shops were attached to the hotel on the ground floor. They had telephone connections to each room in the hotel so guests could place their orders easily.
Shops included a hairdresser, a chemist, a florist, a beauty salon, a gift shop, a clothes shop and a newsagent.
The fountain in the front court of the hotel featured a black granite penguin sculptured by Leonard Schillam. The water from this fountain was used in the hotel refrigeration system.
Every room in the hotel was “luxuriously appointed”, with wall-to-wall carpeting, large windows, a telephone and bathroom and toilet facilities. Each room had its own colour scheme, many devised by the architect’s wife, artist Gertrude Langer.
The main bar in the hotel was constructed out of more than 4000 champagne bottles and was the largest hotel bar in Queensland at the time, accommodating 600 customers.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. There’s nothing like a fascinating story behind a hotel you’re booked in to get you sleeping (or wide awake) at night on your travels.
10. The Forest Cafe
As you walking the streets of Toowoomba, you’ll notice the Forest Cafe.
I fell in love with it! It’s quaint, simple and feels ‘happy’.
That one thing draws me into any cafe and leaves a lasting impression with me.
I hear it’s newly opened.
The hospitality is friendly, welcoming and the menu is narrow yet varied to cause you to browse over it for 4 minutes before ordering anything.
Couple that with nice plate presentation, great assortment of cakes and you’ll be a happy customer.
So there you have it.
For my money, you have the 10 best things to do in Toowoomba, ranging from festivals, cafes, trekking, cycling, mountain trails and more!
Of course the one thing that brings it all together is great food and wine, and Toowoomba has that in plenty.
What do you think?
Have you been to Toowoomba? Let me know what stood out for you.