Those in need of some R&R in South East Queensland should make a bee-line for the ‘garden city’ of Toowoomba.
Just one-and-a-half-hours’ drive west of Brisbane, this regional centre is the perfect short break destination. Situated on the top of the Great Dividing Range, and overlooking the rolling pastures and bushland reserves of the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba presents visitors with a rich trove of historical and cultural experiences, alongside a vibrant arts and dining scene.
Here are some of the top things to do in Toowoomba. Book your stay with Choice Hotels.
1. Take a walk in the park
There are many Toowoomba attractions that offer a release from the hectic pace of daily life, and one of them is the city’s plethora of parks and gardens. Situated at a height of 700 metres above sea level, a hugely diverse array of trees, shrubs and flowering plants thrive here. The centrepiece is sprawling Queens Park, but also make time to see Laurel Bank Park and the Ju Raku En Japanese garden. The Queensland State Rose Garden is home to around 2,000 rose bushes. If you are lucky enough to be visiting the city in October or November, you can expect to see the rose garden at its absolute best. The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is held throughout the month of September to celebrate the arrival of spring blooms.
2. Enjoy the view from Picnic Point
Toowoomba’s Picnic Point Parklands offers sweeping vistas across the Main Range National Park and Lockyer Valley. The view is stunning during the day, but takes on an ethereal feel in the evening as the lights of Brisbane dance in the distance. The Parklands offer oodles of amenities, including BBQ facilities, plenty of lawn space, a play area, a cafe, and a range of walking trails.
3. Hitch a ride back in time
History buffs are in for a treat at the superb Cobb+Co Museum. Home to the National Carriage Collection – 50 horse-drawn vehicles from yesteryear – and galleries devoted to the natural and cultural history of the region, the museum also contributes to the preservation of practical skills from the past. From black and silver smithing, to leadlighting and hat making, visitors can watch artisans practising their craft in the museum’s workshops.
4. Explore the urban art scene
In recent years, Toowoomba has seen the emergence of a distinctive urban culture of graffiti-emblazoned alleyways, laneway bars, and pop up cafes. Access a map of street art sites and take a stroll to soak it all in. For a more traditional take on the arts, drop by the excellent Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. It hosts temporary exhibitions alongside its permanent collection (and there’s more amazing street art behind the building!).
5. Try a local brew
Sightseeing can be thirsty work so seek out local brewhouse 4 Brothers, which occupies part of the heritage-listed Downs Co-Operative Dairy Factory. Take a seat and try a tasting paddle of signature drops, including the Lazy Brother Pale Ale and Arrogant Brother Smoked Beer.
Need a place to stay?
Comfort Inn Grammar View is an easy stroll to everything Toowoomba has to offer, including magnificent Queens Park. The hotel offers modern accommodation across 32 guest rooms, including family, one bedroom and deluxe suites. In-house Vista Restaurant does Modern Australian cuisine with an emphasis on the freshest local produce.
Located on the southern side of Toowoomba, Comfort Inn Glenfield is set in landscaped gardens, and is in close proximity to the USQ campus and its Japanese garden. There are 51 well-appointed rooms, and free Wi-Fi is provided. Chrysdals restaurant is open six nights a week.
Econo Lodge Toowoomba Motel is conveniently situated on the approach into the city from Brisbane, and is just three minutes’ drive from the Visitor Information Centre. It has everything you’ll need for a comfortable and cost effective stay.
Cover image: Tourism and Events Queensland