Enjoy hearty lashings hidden within heritage laneways in the vibrant, rural city of Toowoomba, just an hour and a half inland from Brisbane. Then, stretch your legs among the abundant gardens–including the glorious Queens Park Toowoomba.
Or for a nod to Australia’s past, check out the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and Cobb & Co Museum in town.
Further afield is the fascinating Australian Army Flying Museum 20 minutes east at Oakey or the Highfields Pioneer Museum, 20 minutes north.
A WALKER’S PARADISE
Central to Toowoomba, you’ll find acres of neatly cultivated garden at Queens Park. It was developed by botanist Walter Hill, who was also responsible for Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Mature ornamental Asian and European trees provide shade in the summer, ahead of their autumn blush.
Elsewhere, take in grand views of the Great Dividing Range and the Lockyer Valley at the iconic Picnic Point, a cottage garden frames a large open platform.
You’ll find plenty of short walking tracks through forest, including one that take you to the base of a falls.
It doesn’t stop here, though. With a Japanese garden, and the Laurel Bank Park featuring a playground, barbecue and picnic areas and two croquet lawns. It’s english cottage gardens set the perfect scene for the annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers in spring.
In town itself, enjoy exquisite architecture dating back to the 1860s on the Russell Street Historical Walk. You’ll find plenty here, from wide-brimmed ornate Queenslanders on stilts to the sun-worshipping Empire Theatre.
COBB & CO MUSEUM
Toowoomba is proudly home to the Cobb & Co National Museum. And headlining this gorgeous facility is the National Carriage Collection comprising almost 50 carriages, gigs, drays and wagons that chart Australia’s transport evolution up until the start of the 20th Century.
Farm work rigs contrast dramatically against the polished luxury leisure vehicles driven by private coachman.
The collection provides context to Cobb & Co’s rising significance through Australia’s rural and outback regions.
Heritage trade workshops provide an interactive insight into Australia’s early retail past with silversmithing, millinery, whip plaiting and blacksmithing displays.
TOOWOOMBA REGIONAL ART GALLERY
Australia’s rural art scene is popping right now. And you can really enjoy modern mixed media works in the bright, clean setting at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.
Of course, if it’s the classics you seek, embrace the romance of Aussie masters from yesteryear, too, including Frederic McCubbin and impressionist Emanuel Phillips Fox.
You’ll find a lot of jewellery here, plus pottery, glass and precious metalware from Europe, Asia and Australia harking back to the 1700s.
HIGHFIELDS PIONEER VILLAGE
Hang your hat a little at the Highfields Pioneer Village with fresh damper straight from the oven served with tea, a short drive north of town.
Survey a beautifully-preserved mini village aboard a Model T Ford bus, or the Myrtle May mini steam rail, on the last Sunday of each month. Aussie outback history is meticulously preserved at the fire and ambulance museums onsite.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY FLYING MUSEUM
See up close every type of aircraft and helicopter flown by the Australian Defence Force. Admire aircraft in the hangers above, or climb aboard and inspect the cockpit displays.
There are great photo opportunities for the kids. Or, for a comprehensive insight, contact the museum for a tour a week ahead. Limited hours apply, so check the website in advance.
More than a century ago, shearers downed tools during Australia’s first strike of its kind at the Jondaryan Woolshed, 40km west of Toowoomba.
It’s Australia’s oldest and largest shed still in operation today. Admire it on a self-guided tour through the shearing shed and adjacent buildings, dating as far back as the 1840s.
- Read Neil Choyce WO1’s plans to restore the Project Nomad at the Australian Army Flying Museum
- Visit caravan parks in Southern Queensland Country