20 Fun things to do in Toowoomba

Toowoomba is a city with quaint country charm and plenty of things to do.  Just a 90 minutes drive west of Brisbane, the Darling Downs is the perfect weekend getaway so plan your perfect itinerary with this list of 20 fun things to do in Toowoomba.

Discover some of the best things to do in the Toowoomba region.  See gorgeous old homes with vintage charm, stroll through the beautiful parks and gardens and enjoy Toowoomba’s fantastic foodie scene with many restaurants and cafe’s showcasing the region’s best produce.

Crisp winter air and clear summer days are part of the changing beauty of this town which presents a different perspective for every season.

20 Fun things to do in Toowoomba

Gardens and Parks in Toowoomba

There are so many things to see and do in the Toowoomba & Darling Downs region.

Home to the Spring Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba is often referred to as Queensland’s Garden City.  

Panoramic views overlook Australia’s Great Dividing Range.  Enjoy the cool mountain waterways, gorgeous sunflower farms, national parks and local vineyards.

Street art along the laneways throughout the city so grab your comfy shoes and take a walking tour of the stately old homes and the historic pubs and learn about their colourful histories.

1: Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers

Toowoomba Rose Garden

Toowoomba is well known for it’s beautiful parks and gardens.  Visit in spring when these gardens are at their best.

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is held annually, and is a 10 day celebration of spring.  This year it will be held between 1 – 30 September, 2021.

Spring is when the city comes to life.  Vibrant blooms celebrating spring – poppies, tulips, roses, magnolia’s, stocks in every colour imaginable.  Enjoy Toowoomba’s festival of fun and laughter.  Join street parade, live music, great food, arts and crafts and so much more.   Remember to book your accommodation early.

2: Catch a stunning sunrise at Picnic Point

Lockyear Valley

Not far from the city centre, the heritage-listed parklands offer sweeping, panoramic views toward Table Top Mountain and the Lockyer Valley.   Sunrise is impressive!

Take one of the trails from the picturesque Picnic Point Parklands as you explore the pinnacle of the Great Dividing Range.  Grand vistas overlooking the eastern side of the range, beautiful bushlands to explore and birds chortling as you pass them by.  Choose a cosy spot on the cafe verandah to take vantage of those amazing views.  Find the Picnic Point walking trails here.

3: Take a Historical & Heritage Trail

Toowoomba - Vacy Hall

Toowoomba boasts a rich heritage and a visit to the Darling Downs would not be complete with including some of these walking trails.  

Pick up the Historical Trails tourist guide from the Information Centre and ‘do the trail’.  Toowoomba’s historical trail features many stately old homes and buildings of early Toowoomba.  Many of these historic buildings, churches, pubs, banks and grand old homes are still in use today and offer self-guided tours.

4: Visit the Cobb & Co Museum

Cobb & Co Museum

A huge part of Toowoomba’s charm is it’s history.  The iconic Cobb & Co Museum plays tribute to the Australian transport era with the finest collection of horse-drawn carriages on display.

Be sure to do a guided tour as you’ll learn so much about our history and visit out other exhibits and interactive displays and heritage trade workshops such as; lead-lighting, blacksmithing or millinery, and touring exhibitions make up the museum. Come for one of the daily guided tours.  What’s On & Opening Hours.

5: Chill out at the Queens Park Botanical Gardens

Queens Park Botanical Gardens - Toowoomba

A short walk from Toowoomba’s city centre is the Queens Park Botanical Gardens.  Set across 25 hectares of grassy parklands, the park is well shaded with trees and colourful garden beds.  It is the city’s largest park.

Ideal for family picnics, with playgrounds for the younger ones and an off-the-leash area for your four-footed friends.  Wander around and enjoy the park, ride your bikes or lay down a picnic rug for a picnic and a lazy afternoon.

Queens Park is located across the road from the Cobb+Co Museum so make an afternoon of it … and relax

6: Visit the Grand old homes and Historical pubs

If you want to explore more of these grand old homes and period architecture, take one of the historic walks through the city such as:  Mort Estate historic walk, Toowoomba’s Cultural and Legal Precinct historic walk, Russell Street historic walk and Queens Park historic walk.

These heritage walks will take you through some of the most interesting architecture of early Toowoomba.

Vacy Hall in Toowoomba

7: Stay at Vacy Hall

At least visit heritage-listed Vacy Hall, one of Toowoomba’s most charming boutique hotels with an interesting past.  Built in 1873, Vacy Hall is set in over an acre of beautiful gardens and just a short walk to the centre of Toowoomba.  Read more about Vacy Hall.

8: Queensland State Rose Garden – Newtown Park

Queensland State Rose Garden - Newtown Park

A spectacular rose garden with over 2000 roses, including Heritage Roses in Australia, Frank Reithmuller and Alister Clark collections Newton Park holds the World Federation of Rose Societies Award of Excellence 2018.

9: Visit the Toowoomba Farmer’s Markets

The Toowoomba Farmers Markets are held every Saturday morning from 7 am to 12 midday at the Cobb+Co Museum.  Its the perfect place to experience the freshness of the Darling Downs region.

Buy direct from the farmers and food artisans with seasonal produce on offer including local meat, hand-made bread, pasta, jams and chutneys.  You will also find fresh herbs, honey, coffee and hand-made soaps and beauty products, arts and crafts and leather goods.  Enjoy the fresh flavours!

10: Pack a picnic and head for Spring Bluff Railway Station

Spring Bluff Railway

Spring Bluff Railway Station is a heritage listed site located on the main railway line between Ipswich and Toowoomba.   It stems from 150 years of railway history and the attraction of its beautiful landscaped gardens making it a perfect picnic destination.

Especially spectacular in September during Toowoomba’s Spring Carnival of Flowers.  The spring display is absolutely stunning.   Thousands of visitors enjoy the magnificent display with an array of poppies, ranunculus, stock, snapdragons, petunias and many other colourful annuals.  Find out more about Spring Bluff Railway Station here.

11:  Enjoy the Arts and Culture

Take a tour of the art galleries, theatres and creative spaces in and around Toowoomba for a new experience.

The First Coat Festival in 2014 transformed Toowoomba’s urban spaces into something truly magical.  Streets, lane-ways and commercial spaces are now open-air galleries for all to see.

Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, USQ Artsworx, Feather & Lawry Gallery, Tosari Galleries and the Toowoomba Art Society offer ever-changing exhibitions, including space dedicated to local artists.

12: Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre

A heritage listed art-deco venue that provides a wide variety of performing arts.  Australia’s largest regional performing arts complex, the Empire Theatre stages world class shows with both local and international performers.

Check out ‘what’s on‘ during your visit.  Performances range from popular music, ballet, comedy or other live performances.  The lavish art-deco styling of the venue makes for a memorable experience.

13: Wander through the Streets of Art

Toowoomba's Street Art

If you’re a lover of art, step outside and into the streets and laneways of Toowoomba.  Since 2014 during the First Coat Street Art Festival, new works have been popping up everywhere with talented artists breathing new energy into this city.

It’s well worth spending a few hours to take in the vibrant colours and art pieces of all shapes and sizes.  Discover more of Toowoomba’s street art here.

14: Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens

Toowoomba - the garden city

One of Toowoomba’s most serene parks, the four and a half hectare Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland.  An exquisitely manicured garden around a central lake provides a tranquil home for ducks, geese and ibis.

Known as ‘Ju Raku En’, the Japanese gardens emphasise the use of rocks to create three dimensional pictures.  These lawns combine perfectly with peace and harmony.

15: Get on your Bike

Exploring Toowoomba is a cinch with over 70 kilometres of cycle tracks for recreational cyclists.  Mountain bikers can challenge themselves on escarpments or one of the many cross-country bike trails, mountain or rail trails nearby.

For the serious cyclists, Ride the Range is held annually in March and one of South East Queensland’s toughest and longest charity ride open to serious endurance riders only.  Read more here.

16: Pack a Picnic

Pack a picnic

Pack yourself a picnic or even better, pick up a Grazing Box from Urth Cafe and Co before you head off for your drive in the country and you’ll be sure to have everything you need.

There are plenty of picnic destinations to choose from that are off the beaten track.  You will need to be self-sufficient (carry water, food and make sure you have enough fuel).  Plan ahead.

17: Explore Queen Mary National ParkQueen Mary Falls - Killarney

A day trip to Warwick revealed the stunning Queen Mary National Park and the nearby Queen Mary Falls, Daggs Falls and Browns Falls.  Spectacular Spring Creek plunges 40 metres over a sheer rock face!  Take the short walk leading to lookouts or the 2 klm tract down into the gorge.

Located nearby Killarney, these impressive falls are the start of the Condamine River, the longest river in Australia which drains into the Murray Darling basin.

18: Explore the Bunya Mountains

Cool Mountain Rainforests & Walking Trails

The Bunya Mountains National Park is only an hour and a half drive from Toowoomba and well worth the drive.  Pass through cool mountain rainforests and waterfalls, panoramic views and walking trails through the towering Bunya trees.

There is an incredible selection of birds and other wildlife including Australian King Parrots, rosellas and wallabies.  Time it right and visit the Bunya Mountains markets on the last Sunday of every month.  Find out more about the Bunya Mountains National Park here.

19: Crows Nest National Park

Discover spectacular scenery, large granite outcrops, a scenic waterfall and a eucalypt forest on the edge of the Great Dividing Range.

Follow the creek to the Cascades and Crows Nest Falls for spectacular views over the Valley of Diamonds.  Watch out for vulnerable brush-tailed rock wallabies, small forest birds and cliff-nesting peregrine falcons.  Keep an eye out for platypus, echidnas, lace monitors too.

20:  Where on earth is Cambooya

Cambooya, Clifton and Nobby

The little village of Cambooya is in the heart of Steel Rudd Country.  Australian author Arthur Hoey Davies, who wrote under the pen name “Steele Rudd” is best known for his novel “On Our Selection”.  Rudd claimed to have found the inspiration among his drinking buddies for the radio series “Dad and Dave” at the nearby Nobby Hotel.

Cambooya’s Bull and Barley Inn has been restored to reflect its original 1900’s atmosphere.   Charming memorabilia and old photographs adorn the walls making it a wonderful step back in time.  Stop in for a counter meal.

Where to eat in Toowoomba

Toowoomba is jam-packed with so many great restaurants so try some of them out while you’re visiting.  Whether its a light lunch, a full a-la-carte dining experience or a few cheeky drinks you’re looking for you’re sure to find some you love.

Here’s a few of our favourite places to eat … Read more Great places to eat and drink in Toowoomba.

Where to eat in Toowoomba

Locals Tip:
Try their delicious spicy pumpkin soup.

Have brunch at the Finch

For anyone who loves great coffee, the Finch is a must-visit!  Right in the city-centre this spacious and airy destination is open for breakfast and lunch daily.  The menu is full of mouth-watering options including spicy butternut soup, thyme and potato hash and roasted Goombungee mushrooms.  The coffee is super good and served with a cute little chocolate freckle on the side!   Find The Finch here.

Lunch at Cafe Valetta

Cafe Valetta is one of Toowoomba’s well known heritage destinations and a beautiful place to breakfast and lunch. Choose between the beautiful surroundings outside in the gardens,  on the veranda or pergola overlooking Queens Park.  Cafe Valetta also offers dinner every Friday and Saturday night.

Get yourself a Phat Burger

If you love burgers head into Phat Burgers on Ruthven Street in the heart of Toowoomba! Get cosy in a booth and enjoy the selection of band Tshirts, vinyl records, disco lights and great music. Order from the range of mouth-watering burgers.

Venture into Fitzy’s

One of the first pubs we stepped into in Toowoomba was Fitzy’s and it’s been a firm favourite ever since.  There are many rooms and cosy bars and restaurants to suit your mood so pick one and settle in for the night.

With a wide selection of craft beers on tap as well as wines and cocktails, it’s the perfect spot for a refreshing beverage.  The steaks are great as are the other favourites such as wild Barramundi.   The atmosphere makes for a great night for all.  Find Fitzy’s here.

When is the best time to visit Toowoomba

Toowoomba is popular year-round destination with a cooler climate during the winter months.

  • December – February will be warm to hot.  Summer often experiences heavy rainfall and occasional thunderstorms especially during January to February.
  • March to May the trees will start featuring the beautiful tints of red and gold marking the beginnings of autumn.
  • June – August will start of the cool winter weather.  In the winter months, enjoy rugging up and winding down – many of the homes in the region have fireplaces.
  • September marks the beginning of spring with the Carnival of Flowers showcasing spectacular garden displays, floral parades and exhibits.

Where to stay

Our decision to stay at Vacy Hall was quite possibly the best decision of the year but there are so many other great places to stay in Toowoomba.

Check out these options when planning your next visit.  Booking.com

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How to get to Toowoomba

  • Toowoomba is a short drive west of Brisbane – approximately 1.5 hours.
  • The Westlander train departs daily from Roma Street Station in Brisbane.
  • Buses leave daily from the Roma Street Terminal.

Visit more of South East Queensland

Step into an era gone by and enjoy the quaint country charm of Toowoomba and South East Queensland.  Enjoy as much as you can by starting with these 20 fun things to do in Toowoomba.