If years have passed between Garden City visits, you are having an important before and after conversion story. Toowoomba has actively scaled up, replacing some of the old country charms with big-city fixtures. Toowoomba’s population is now on par with Townsville and Cairns, not only crowning Queensland’s largest inland city, but also Australia’s 15th largest city. Not only is the population booming – so does its calendar and culinary scene, with more than 2.5 million visitors 800m above sea level to explore each year. If you find yourself in the South Queensland Country, stop and smell the roses with this list of The Best Things to Do in Toowoomba.
Follow your nose
Put your flora knowledge to the test at Laurel Bank Park, one of the jewels of the Carnival of Flowers each September that spans 4.5 hectares. Boasting perfectly manicured gardens and giant carpets of bursting, bright blooms, we suggest not to leave this beauty off your Toowoomba list.
Stop and smell the roses at the scented garden for an olfactory treat: to find it, walk towards the center – it’s the garden within the garden, created by the Downs Association of the Blind for the visually impaired.
Explore the Toowoomba Farmer’s Markets
For anyone who loves to visit a weekend market, a visit to the Toowomba Farmer’s market is a must-do. Held every Saturday from 7 am to 12 midday under the windmills at the Cobb+Co Museum, a visit here is the perfect way to experience the flavors of the Darling Downs. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to buy direct from farmers and local food artisans with excellent seasonal produce on offer including local meat, hand-made bread, pasta, jams and chutneys, fresh herbs, honey, and more. There’s fresh coffee, handmade soaps and beauty products, arts and crafts, leather goods, jewelry and more to peruse as well.
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 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. These 2.5 kilometers of Queenslander’s path provide a mesmerizing insight into the Australian architectural styles – a perfect way to spend a breezy evening.
Visit the zoo
Being the home of the only pride of African lions in Queensland means they have a special responsibility to keep these majestic big cats well and happy. The zoo specializes in captive breeding for many critically endangered and vulnerable species from around the world. The zoo is also home to the only white lions permanently taking up residence in Queensland, and the largest herd of zebras and giant tortoises in the state.
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.
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 meters, settling over the steep granite cliffs. The park is filled with natural features, where you will be surrounded by chirping sounds and peace.