Toowoomba is about 125km west of Brisbane and is the most populous inland non-capital city in Australia. It’s located in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, a region that was discovered in 1827 by an English botanist who declared the area perfect for farming and grazing. Also known as the Garden City, the rich volcanic soil is perfect to nurture the 150 public parks scattered around the city.
With only a morning to spend in Toowoomba, we tried to see and do as much as we could. After visiting a few parks, we braved the confusing one way streets of the town centre to see the Empire Theatre, which started out as a silent movie theatre in 1911. It burnt down in 1933 but was rebuilt in the trendy architectural style of the time – art deco. It was restored in the 1990s and these days it can seat 1,500 people, making it the largest regional theatre in Australia.
After a quick trip out to Charlton to stock up on some Jim’s Jerky, we made our way back to Brisbane.
Things to See and Do
Queens Park Gardens
Established in 1875, Queens Park Gardens is Toowoomba’s botanic gardens. It’s a nice place to stroll through and have a picnic. Check out the awesome hedge garden with cool cubic bushes, the fountains with blue water, and the kooky flower photo ops.
Picnic Point Park
Sitting atop the crest of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba is nearly 700m above sea level so you’re guaranteed to be treated to some stunning views. Picnic Point Park is the best place to look out over the valley below and it also features an enormous Australian flag and blue waterfall.
Ju Raku En – Toowoomba’s Japanese Gardens
Located next to the University of Southern Queensland, these traditional Japanese Gardens are one of Australia’s largest stroll gardens and include a life-sized Zen garden, pretty Japanese maples, and bright red bridges over a pond inhabited by massive ducks.
The Japanese name means longevity to enjoy, a place for public recreation. It’s open daily from 7am to dusk and admission is free.
This is where it all happens. Jim’s Tucker Box is the ultimate place to stock up on all your favourite jerky flavours, and its open 7 days a week. We even got to meet Jim!
Helidon Rest Area
Less than 20km from Toowoomba, this rest area might be a little noisy as it’s right next to the highway and the creek crossing is used frequently by locals, but there’s plenty of space.