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Friday, September 22, 2023

20 Things to do in Toowoomba

Toowoomba is a green city in Southern Queensland and part of the state’s unofficial Darling downs region. It is the second-most-populous inland city of Australia after the capital, Canberra, and the largest inland city of Darling downs.

There are many things to do in Toowoomba and it is often referred to as the garden city of Queensland because of its numerous parks and gardens (more than 150 in number). You can find amazing places to visit around Toowoomba.

Gardens and parks are the top attractions, but besides that there are many other things to do in Toowoomba. The Cobb co museum, Downssteam tourist railway & museum, the picnic point lookout, Preston peak wines, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, the carnival of flowers, Highfields Pioneer Village, Salt cave, and Royal Bull’s Head Inn are popular tourist attractions.

Toowoomba is known for its pleasant weather owing to its height of 650 meters above sea level. Both summers and winters are not too hot nor too cold, respectively. Toowoomba is warm from November to February, receives rainfall from March to May, and is cold from June to August.

August is the busiest month for tourism, so hotels and flights will cost more. September and October host the spring season and are considered the best months to visit Toowoomba as per the weather. The best part about visiting Toowoomba in September is that it hosts the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. Without further ado, let’s learn about the things to do in Toowoomba.

Things to do in Toowoomba
Photo by Tatters on Flickr

20 Things to do in Toowoomba 

1. Enjoy Natural Beauty and Games at Laurel Bank Park Along with Visiting the Scented Garden

Laurel bank park is a small public park in the city centre with mature trees offering ample shade. It is a great place for community events and family activities. The park has many picnic tables and a permanent large marquee BBQ area. Laurel Bank park has well manicured gardens and a beautiful display of vibrant flowers.

Laurel bank park is one of the venues for the annual carnival of flowers held every year. Other things in the park include water conservation ponds, two croquet lawns, climbing castles, tunnels, statues, and an activity center.

Within Laurel bank park is the scented garden, an initiative by the Downs Association of the Blind for the visually impaired. So if someone is blind and wants to know about the things to do in Toowoomba, they have their answer.

2. See More Natural Beauty at the Queens Park

Visit Queens Park at the corner of Lindsay street and Campbell street. Also known as the Toowoomba Botanic Gardens, Queens park is open 24 hours but is best enjoyed during the daytime. It is a beautiful and well-maintained park for a family picnic with tons of greenery, numerous colorful flower beds, and trees imported from other countries. These trees today provide excellent shade.

Queens park has an area called the dog off-leash area. If you have a dog, you can take it here and exercise it. Queens Park also hosts the Toowoomba carnival of flowers held in September every year. Make sure you grab your coffee from Kelly’s coffee van at the car park before leaving.

Queens park
Photo by Tatters on Flickr

3. Continue with Lake Annand Park

Third on the list of things to do in Toowoomba is to visit Lake Annand park in South Toowoomba. It is a calm and quiet park and is considered Toowoombas best recreational area. It is well-suited for family picnics and has barbeque facilities, playgrounds, biking tracks, and a curved bridge to take a stroll above the water.

The parks fountain adds to the appeal. You can spot ducks and different bird species in the lake at the park. Lake Annand park is one of the few parks where you are allowed to feed the ducks.

4. Enjoy Serenity within a Traditional Japanese Garden Setting at Ju Raku En Japanese Garden

Continue with your list of things to do in Toowoomba by visiting the Ju Raku En Japanese garden. It was designed by Kinsaku Nakane, a professional Japanese gardener and is one of the largest traditionally designed Japanese gardens in Australia. It is also known as Japanese garden USQ as it was supported by the University of South Queensland.

Spread across an area of 3 hectares, Ju Raku En is home to many waterfalls, bamboo groves, and grassy seating areas. It has picnic tables facing its pond. Ducks, geese, turtles, and catfish are inhabitants of this garden.

The 200-odd Japanese and Australian native plants and trees in the garden provide an ideal setting for weddings and a stunning backdrop for picture shoots. You have the option to take a guided tour of the garden.

Ju Raku En Japanese garden
Photo by John on Flickr

5. Stroll at the Ravensbourne National Park

Ravensbourne National Park is an hour’s drive from Toowoomba. It is a rainforest-type park with four walking tracks of different lengths, and each one offers you a different experience. You can witness Piccabean Palms, tree ferns, vines, native orchids, and other tall trees.

Among fauna, you will spot birds of different species and wallabies as you walk by. You can get panoramic views of the Lockyer Valley and the Great Dividing Range at Ravensbourne at the Gus Beutel Lookout.

Ravensbourne national park has two day-use areas with picnic tables, shelters, and toilets. It is suitable for barbeques, and many weddings have taken place here.

6. Hike Table Top Mountain

Hiking is also one of the things to do in Toowoomba, and that brings the article to include information about  Table top mountain. The hike at the Table Top mountain is very challenging as you will have to climb over rock screes, and the last 50 meters of the climb are almost vertically up.

Going up usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, so you must carry lots of water. You must wear the appropriate attire and the right shoes for the climb. And make sure to apply sunscreen and an insect repellent.

Although a difficult climb, but worth it as the views from the top are breathtaking. You will get to see many views on your way up, and once you are up, you can view the Lockyer valley and its surroundings. You can set your time to hike the Table top mountain to watch the sunrise or the sunset or during the night to view the stars.

7. Eat at the Picnic Point Restaurant and Enjoy the View from The Famous Picnic Point Lookout

Picnic point restaurant, located on the hilltop, is an excellent place to munch and view. The stairs leading to the restaurant have beautiful gardens on the sides, which along with the interiors add to the ambiance.

Picnic point restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch and occasionally for dinner. It has different menus for breakfast and lunch and serves you different classes of wines. It is the perfect place to grab a quick snack or a coffee.

Just outside the restaurant, is a mini waterfall, along with a sitting area and a play area for children. Make sure you get your sunset view of the Picnic Point lookout before leaving.

Picnic point
Photo by Josselin Berger on Flickr

8. Camp at the Crows Nest National Park

You cannot ignore camping among the things to do in Toowoomba. The crows nest national park is just a short drive north of Toowoomba. It is a wonderful place to camp under the tall eucalyptus trees. It has a total of 13 campsites with fire pits and picnic point parkland with toilets close by.

You can swim in the Kauyoo pool and Bottlebrush pool, both of which are shallow. The Kauyoo pool area also has a sandy beach. While swimming, you can see the animals that live on the granite outcrops.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby and the dark-brown Swamp Wallaby are common. At night, there are chances you can spot the sugar glider, the feathertail glider, or the greater glider. Make sure to get a stunning view of the valley of diamonds from the Koonin lookout.

9. Camp and Enjoy Other Activities at Lake Cressbrook

Lake Cressbrook is a second alternative for camping besides Crows nest national park. With tents and all toilet facilities available, the camping experience gets easy. The residents of Towoomba get their drinking water from Lake Cressbrook, hence swimming is not allowed. Boating, canoeing, and fishing are permitted water activities.

On land, you can attain a good bushwalking experience, have a barbeque, or just play a sport. Make sure to get a glimpse of kangaroos and other wild animals – a myraid of things to do in Toowoomba at Lake Cressbrook.

10. Visit Bunya Mountains National Park

Bunya Mountains National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Queensland. The rainforest-clad peaks protect the largest bunya pines in the world. Check out the hidden waterfalls of the rainforests here. Mount Kiangarow lookout, at a height of 1135 meters, is Bunya mountains highest point. You must get your view of the sunset from this lookout.

Bunya Mountains National Park is well-suited for camping, with plenty of furnished homes big enough to accommodate families. You can spot wallabies that are frequently present near the accommodations. The area is excellent for birdwatching as well. Bunya Mountains Tavern and Poppies on the hill are restaurants nearby.

Bunya mountians national park
Photo by Tatters on Flickr

11. Go Back in History at the Cobb Co Museum

Toowoomba is not just about parks and mountains because visiting museums is also one of the things to do in Toowoomba. Head over to the Cobb co museum on Lindsay street.

Right at the entrance of the museum, you will find three Penny-farthing bicycles. On entering, you will first see the gift store with a variety of items, including olden-days carriage-themed gifts. As you move further in, you will see various classes of invertebrates, a huge dinosaur bone, and a huge turtle on display.

Now you enter the main section of the museum, the national carriage collection. You will find here different types of carriages and steam trains that Australians used for travel back in the day. Lastly, you will come across silversmith, millinery, whip plaiting, and blacksmith workshops. Before leaving, you can grab some scones, coffee, rolls, or muffins from Cobb’s coffee shop.

12. Watch a Show at the Empire Theatre

The things to do in Toowoomba do not end with parks, mountains, and museums. You can head over to the heritage-listed Empire theatre at Neil street, and watch comedy, music, choir, and cultural performances of top stars.

It is a huge theatre with seating for 1565. Their website has complete information on the upcoming shows. You can check it out to plan your visit accordingly.

13. Visit the Points of Interest at Ruthven Street

(a) Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

The Toowoomba regional art gallery is so-called because it contains artwork of artists from the region (Toowoomba). The items on display change every month, hence no two visits will be the same. However, there are three permanent collections – The Fred and Lucy Gould Art Collection, the Toowoomba City Collection, and The Lionel Lindsay Gallery and Library.

The Fred and Lucy Gould Art Collection is a section dedicated to art from specific periods. You will get to see gold and silverware, antique furniture, fine porcelain, and glassware. The gallery conducts educational and public programs from time to time. You must check out their website to know what is going to happen and plan accordingly.

(b) Eat and Drink at Ground Up Espresso Bar

Ground Up Espresso bar, at 501, Ruthven street is a great place for refreshments. It is open from 6:30 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon. Head over to ground up for your breakfast, brunch, or lunch. With the walls on both sides of the restaurant covered in street art, the dining experience is one-of-a-kind, though it gets crowded at times.

They serve a variety of items in breakfast and lunch and have a massive variety in tea, coffee, and cold drinks. Their coffee is loved by many and is considered the best in town. Other popular dishes are the croissants and the strawberry cheesecake danish. Their menu keeps on changing.

(c) Purchase Local Stuff at Maker’s Market

If you are looking to purchase some local Toowoomba stuff, then add Maker’s Market to your list of things to do in Toowoomba. It is held every second and fourth Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm in Mills Precinct.

The organizers of the Maker’s Market are known for their professionalism and for maintaining a warm vibe. The kid’s play area and live music add more to the vibe. The market has decent access for wheelchairs and is also dog-friendly.

Local producers showcase their unique work here. Artwork, books, jewelry, and fancy items are the things that you can expect here. Maker’s market also holds raffles. Make sure to grab sausages, sourdough bread, and pastries.

(d) Recreate at Kloud9ine Trampoline Park

If you are with kids and are wondering about the things to do in Toowoomba, then head over to the Kloud9ine trampoline park, a great place for kids to have fun jumping. It is Toowoomba’s only climate-controlled trampoline park and has four interesting challenges – Kloudzone, Dodgeball, Pro zone, and Stunt Bag.

You can book the park for birthdays and special events. While the kids play, you can grab a coffee or other refreshments from their cafe.

(e) Enjoy more Games at Chipmunks Playland and Cafe

Chipmunks Playland & Cafe is another venue for fun things for kids in Toowoomba. It has a baby zone, a toddler zone, and main zone for 0-2 years, under 5 years, and 5+ years respectively. The best part about Chipmunks is that there is no time limit for the games.

You can also have birthday parties here. Their cafe offers you a variety of snacks and beverages – wraps, burgers, french fries, pizzas, ice cream, tea, coffee, shakes, and smoothies.

(f) Try Korean and Japanese Cuisine at Kajoku

You must add trying Korean and Japanese cuisine to your list of things to do in Toowoomba, and for that, head over to Kajoku. They offer Korean chicken, BBQ, single dishes, smaller plates, and sharing dishes. They have vegetarian and gluten-free food as well. Karaoke is held every weekend.

14. Buy Local Produce from Toowoomba Farmers Markets

Local Toowoomba farmers get their fresh produce every Saturday under the windmills of the Cobb co museum. The market runs from 7 in the morning till 12 in the afternoon. Apart from fruits and vegetables, you can buy eggs, raw honey, local meat, artisan bread, herbs, clothes, and various handmade items.

If you are hungry, you may grab something to eat from the food stalls and trucks. Make sure you grab some coffee or desserts from Ben & Co and Cupcakes from Hammy’s Cupcakes, both of whom are present almost every Saturday. The live music adds builds the vibe.

15. Watch a Race at The Toowoomba Speedway

If you are a car racing fan, then one of your things to do in Toowoomba must be to visit the Toowoomba Speedway, also known as the Hi-Tec oils speedway. Check out their website to get complete details on the upcoming races. You can witness sprint cars and lighting sprint races. Besides racing, the speedway has good options to choose from in food.

16. Taste Handmade Chocolates at Chocolate Cottage Cafe

For chocolate lovers, visiting the Chocolate Cottage cafe is one of the things to do in Toowoomba. Located in Highlands, a suburb of Toowoomba, they offer you 60 different varieties of handmade chocolates. Their breakfast and cafe menu has a variety of dishes to offer.

Chocolate Cottage cafe’s building is an old schoolhouse that was renovated. It has indoor as well as outdoor lawn seating. If you choose to sit outdoors, you will witness the greenery all around while you sip your tea and coffee.

17. Acquire Some Knowledge of The Past at Downssteam Tourist Railway and Museum

Visiting the Downssteam tourist railway & museum in Drayton, a suburb of Queensland, is one of the things to do in Toowoomba if you are an admirer of trains. They don’t have a compulsory entry fee, but there is an honesty box. The museum also has a beautiful garden to enjoy the serenity and a gift shop for souvenir purchasing.

The dedicated volunteers guide you through the museum where you can see train carriages of the old days and other things associated with trains. You must not miss seeing the Dreamtime carriage. It has all the seats removed, and the walls have artwork done by an artist of aboriginal origin. The station plans to run regular trains across Darling downs.

18. Get Some Salt Therapy at Salt Cave

For a wellness experience, include visiting Salt cave as one of your things to do in Toowoomba. As the name suggests, a Salt cave is a cave made out of Himalayan salt where dry salt aerosol is disseminated in high concentrations throughout the room.

It is administered by qualified therapists, Sue and Toby and offers services suitable for all ages – massage, Hypno-meditation, facials, Tai Chi Qigong classes, Reiki and Bowen therapy, and group massages and spa. After a long and tiring day of touring Toowoomba, Salt cave can make you feel relaxed by offering their services with soothing music in the background.

19. Witness More of Yesteryear at Highfields Pioneer Village

Head over to the Highfields pioneer village to see what life was like for the Pioneers hundreds of years ago. You can taste authentic Australian food over here. The billy tea and the damper are must-tries here. It has over 60 heritage buildings and five museums with each depicting different stories of the past.

  • Toowoomba Fire Brigade Museum, showing how people in the past worked to keep us safe from fires.
  • Ambulance museum, showing what ambulance was in the old days.
  • Southern Cross Museum, showing products made by the Toowoomba Foundry including the Southern Cross Windmills.
  • QLD energy museum, showing advances in the electricity industry in Queensland.
  • Transport museum, showing vehicles of an old era.

20. Solve Puzzles at Tick Tock Escape Room

Solving puzzles could be one of your things to do in Toowoomba. If it is, then head over to Tick Tock escape room at Margaret street. There are two rooms, The Cabin and Room 204. You are locked in the rooms with your friends, and you must solve the puzzles to come out.

So that is all about the things to do in Toowoomba. It is undoubtedly a vibe-city with tons of unique experiences to attain. Visiting during the carnival of flowers is something you must strive to do.


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