Local Favourites: Toowoomba

Toowoomba Pasta started a global craze.
Travel right to the sauce.

Toowoomba may be one of Australia’s most accomplished towns. Not only is it famed for its breathtaking garden festival, incredible natural surroundings and rich heritage, it even has a famous American pasta dish named after it. In fact, Outback Steakhouse’s Australian-themed Toowoomba Pasta was a huge global hit that remains a leading favourite in South Korea. 

Inspired by this unexpected celebrity, we decided it was time to travel to the pasta’s namesake to explore some other surprising and unique experiences that get the local vote and make this town such a much-loved destination for travellers, whether they’re here for the incredible Carnival of Flowers in September, or simply stopping to enjoy the town.

World of flavour at the Toowoomba Farmers Markets

Toowoomba Farmers Markets. Image via Tourism & Events Queensland

From exotic cheese to Afghan sweets and Indian samosas, local providores tell the story at the Toowoomba Farmer’s Markets, where tables spill with international flavours, hand-made bread, gourmet chocolates and delicious jams. During the cooler months you’ll find plenty of warm winter soups and casseroles, which makes this a particularly essential drop-in. The markets are held every Saturday morning under the windmills of the Cobb and Co Museum

The Italian experience at La Pizzaiola

Since 1989 La Pizzailoa has captured the local flavour in dishes that honour Italian pioneers who made Queensland their home in the 1800s. A local hit that won the Diners’ Choice Award, this cosy establishment captures an authentic Italian experience with locally sourced produce from the Darling Downs and fresh pasta that is now a local staple. Try the Lilchi pasta with Crystal Bay prawns and Italian parma. 

Hidden Bars and Cocktails

Follow in the footsteps of the intrepid local. Tucked away in a small laneway, the Sante Cocktail Bar is an atmospheric hideaway wreathed in fairy lights and ambience. Treat yourself to a delicious seasonal cocktail created from local ingredients – depending on the time of year you’ll find twists on old favourites, from the White Mocka-Tini with coffee tequila and chocolate liqueur to innovative beer-based cocktails. 

Family and friends at the lively Zack’s Bar

Turn the lights up for a tipple with a little local history at Zack’s Bar, located on the Ground Floor of the Burke and Wills Hotel. With its humble origins as the 19th century Exchange Hotel, before upsizing into the glamorous Lennons in 1957, touted as ‘the tallest building in Toowoomba’. Today this refurbished landmark is a local attraction for friends and families who enjoy its modern Australian cuisine over a beer, wine or cocktail.

Rare exhibits at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

The rolling pasturelands around Toowoomba have been captured beautifully by many local and travelling artists over the years. Take a wander through the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and discover these local treasures for yourself, from significant works of celebrated artists such as Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Rupert Bunny, to printed maps and accounts of discovery dating from the early 1600s and rare artefacts relating to Australia’s First Nations Peoples.   

Time warp at the Jondaryan Woolshed

Jondaryan Woolshed. Image via Toowoomba's breathtaking countryside. Image via T&GWSBT
Jondaryan Woolshed. Image via Toowoomba’s breathtaking countryside. Image via T&GWSBT

You’ll almost feel like you’ve stepped through one of the gallery’s historic picture frames at the Jondaryan Woolshed. This beautifully preserved shearing shed is the oldest and largest operating shearing shed in Australia, and a local landmark that has drawn both visitors and locals for 160 years. You also find a superb cheese factory and damper hut on site.

How do I get to Toowoomba?

Toowoomba is only an hour and a half drive from Brisbane, and just over two hours from the Gold Coast. The local airport also has direct services to Melbourne, Townsville, Darwin, Western Queensland and Sydney.

Where to stay

The Comfort Inn Grammar View boasts one of the premier locations in Toowoomba, situated near the Town Centre in quiet, tree-lined Margaret Street. The Comfort Inn Glenfield is ideally located on the south-side of Toowoomba within walking distance to shops and restaurants, and only a short drive to the Preston Peak Winery. Econo Lodge Toowoomba Motel & Events Centre is located a short drive to the city centre.

Book your next stay with Choice Hotels.

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