11 of the Best Things To Do in Toowoomba, Queensland

Published Categorized as Australia Travel, Destinations, Queensland Travel, Travel Blog
Toowoomba City Hall
Toowoomba City Hall

There are lots of things to do in Toowoomba and this guide will detail the main highlights which should keep you busy for a two to three day trip.

Also known as ‘The Garden City’, Toowoomba is 130 kilometres or an easy 90 minute drive west from the Queensland capital of Brisbane. Sitting on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, this city offers an amazing art scene, beautiful gardens and parklands, as well as a history relating to the pioneering era.

Filled with lots of things to do and exciting attractions, Toowoomba is a great destination to explore!


For more ideas of places to travel to in Queensland, read our post on things to see and do in Queensland.


Did You Know?

  • Toowoomba has 250 parks and gardens which is why it is known as ‘The Garden City’
  • Toowoomba holds the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Lamington’ which weighed 2,361kg on June 11, 2011

“I am not a great book, I am not a great artist, but I love art and I love food, so I am the perfect traveller.”

– Michael Palin –

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11THINGS TO DO IN TOOWOOMBA

Things To Do in Toowoomba

1. Cobb+Co Museum

The Cobb+Co Museum was originally established to house W. R. F. Bolton’s collection of Cobb & Co. memorabilia consisting of over thirty 19th-Century horse-drawn vehicles which he collected and had restored over a period of more than thirty years.

It is a great way learn about Toowoomba’s pioneering history through a variety of feature galleries, interactive displays, exhibitions and vintage trade workshops.

The museum is home to the National Carriage Collection of horse-drawn vehicles which features 59 horse-drawn carriages and allows you to explore how horse-drawn transportation shaped Australian history.

The new Sciencentre allows you to explore the world of science through interactive displays and educates about the science of energy and how we use energy in our own life on a daily basis.

Hands on workshops in vintage trades were one of our highlights. Be taught by master craftsmen and learn a traditional skill such as silversmithing, blacksmithing, and stained glass leadlighting. Choose your workshop and book online here.

  • Visit Duration: 3+ hours
  • Where: 27 Lindsay Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  9:30am – 4:00pm, Everyday (Guided Tours – 10:30am and 2:30pm)
  • Cost: Child (3-15 years) is AUD$6.50, Adult is AUD$12.50, Concession is AUD$10 (free for residents)
  • Website: Cobb+Co Museum

2. Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland

Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland is located at the top of the Great Dividing Range and offers panoramic views of Main Ridge and the Lockyer Valley.

The 160-acre parkland is filled with well-maintained lawns, breath taking escarpment views, and various walking trails to suit all abilities.

Enjoy a coffee and cake at the Picnic Point café, or relax on a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch.

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3. Empire Theatre

The Empire Theatre, originally opened in 1911, is the largest regional arts complex not just in Queensland, but in Australia.

This heritage-listed, art-deco designed theatre now boasts the latest purpose-built facilities as well as retaining the grandeur and superb acoustics of the original theatre. The interior styling has been faithfully restored to the finest detail. 

Today, the Empire Theatre hosts globally recognised performers in a variety if performances including cabarets, ballet performances, comedy shows, theatre productions, and live music.

There are a number of historical tours offered including the Whistle Stop Tours and the Empire Explorer. Bookings are essential.

If you don’t have time for a show, make the time to visit in the evening and check out the foyer. You won’t be sorry!

  • Where: 54-56 Neil Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  Please check the website for opening hours
  • Cost: Please check the website for costs and bookings
  • Website: Empire Theatre

4. Russell Street Historic Walk

The Russell Street Historic Walk is a self-guided walking tour. A detailed map and supporting information can be picked up for the Toowoomba Tourist Information Centre.

Originally known as Farm Road, it was a simple dirt track used by squatters from the west to transport their cattle and sheep to Brisbane. In 1854 it was renamed Russell Street after Henry Stuart Russell, an early Toowoomba resident whose various professions included explorer, politician, grazier, author, and gentleman.

The walk takes you past historical homes and landmarks dating back to the mid-19th Century. Some of the must sees are:

  • Vacy Hall – designed by architect James Mark in the late 1880s
  • St James’ Anglican Church – built in 1969, it is reminiscent of an English parish church
  • The roofless men’s toilet and urinal – built in 1919 and thought to be Toowoomba’s first sewerage connection
  • Clifford House – a magnificent sandstone building built in the early 1860s

N.B. If you are interested in more Toowoomba Heritage Walks, collect brochures from the Tourist Information Centre i.e. Toowoomba’s Queens Park Historic Walk, Toowoomba’s Newtown Historic Walk, Toowoomba’s Cultural and Legal precinct Historic Walk.

  • Visit Duration: 1-2 hours (2.5 kilometres)
  • Where: Russell Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  All Day, Everyday
  • Cost: Free
DSC07946EDsmwebsite

5. Laurel Bank Park

In the centre of Toowoomba CBD, Laurel Bank Park is spread over 4.5 hectares and features numerous manicured gardens, a unique scented garden, a kids playground, croquet greens, and barbeque and picnic areas.

One of the highlights of the park is the scented garden. Designed for the visually impaired, the gardens are full of highly scented plants and herbs.

The park is also well known for its floral displays including wisteria arbour, peach walk and the topiary hedge. Their annual floral display designed for the Carnival Flowers is a must see and visitors from all over the world claim this is one of the highlights of the festival.

  • Visit Duration: 2+ hours
  • Where: Hill Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  6:00am – 6:00pm, Everyday
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: Laurel Bank Park

6. Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

Established in 1937, the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery is the oldest public gallery in regional Queensland. It is the home to three permanent collections including the:

  • Lionel Lindsay Art Gallery and Library – This unique collection features over 400 beautiful Australian artworks by members of the family and well-known Australian artists. The library houses rare and unique books, significant letters and ancient manuscripts.
  • Fred and Lucy Gould Collection – An eclectic collection of 350 pieces dating from the early 1700s to the 1930s from Europe, Asia and Australia. The collection includes antique furniture, bronzes, drawings and paintings, gold and silverware, fine porcelain and glassware, and many other items.
  • Toowoomba City Collection – This collection mainly focuses on 20th Century Australian art including jewellery, photographs, paintings, drawings and prints.

Free guided gallery tours are offered (bookings essential) for those wanting a more educational experience.

  • Visit Duration: 2+ hours
  • Where: 531 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  10:30am – 3:30pm, Tuesday to Saturday; 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Sunday
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

7. Japanese Gardens

Also known as the Ju Raku En gardens meaning in Japanese ‘enjoying peace and longevity in a public place’. These gardens are one of the largest traditionally designed Japanese gardens in Australia spread over 4.5 hectares of land with 3 kilometres of walking paths.

It showcases elements of a mountain stream and waterfall, dry garden, a central lake, and Azalea Hill, with 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants which combine in harmony and tranquillity.

The design of Ju Raku En is a presentation of a Buddhist paradise with the celestial sea (the lake) lapping the rocky shores of the three islands where the immortals are said to dwell. The material world is the outer edge of the lake and a symbolic journal to paradise may be made by crossing one of the four bridges to the islands.

  • Visit Duration: 1+ hours
  • Where: 20 Regent Street, Toowoomba (Northern side of Toowoomba’s USQ Campus)
  • Hours:  7:00am – 6:00pm, Everyday
  • Cost: Free
Ja Raku En Japanese Gardens

8. Queens Park and Botanical Gardens

Located just across the road from the Cobb+Co Museum is Queens Park. Home to the internationally renowned annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Queens Park is also the location for the signature local Flowers, Food and Wine Festival.

Spread over 25 hectares of land, the parkland features tree-lined avenues perfect for strolling along, playgrounds, bicycle tracks, grassy picnic areas and gardens full of blooms all year round.

The Queens Park Botanical Gardens showcase an amazing variety of plants imported from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. Hubs in the gardens not to be missed include the Rose Walk, Camellia Garden, and the Endemic Garden filled with local natives.


9. Laneways and Street Art Trail

If you enjoy street art, Toowoomba is home to one of Australia’s largest street art scenes. Wander through the back streets and laneways in central Toowoomba and stumble upon one of the many artworks by prominent local, national and international artists.

We suggest to start your exploration around Searle’s Walk and continue to the following lanes / streets:

  • 28 and 30 Duggan Street
  • 6 and 12 Little Street
  • Gallery Lane
  • 488 Ruthven Street
  • Bank Lane
  • 1 Schofield Street
  • Wilcox Lane
  • Cnr Keefe and Russell Street
  • Keefe Street
  • Mark Lane
  • Club Lane
  • 2 Chronicle Lane
  • Neil Street Bus Station
  • Jessie Street
  • 49 Neil Street
  • 163 Hume Street

N.B. There is also a Mosaic Art Trail (click here for a map).

  • Visit Duration: 2+ hours
  • Where: Hill Street, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  6:00am – 6:00pm, Everyday
  • Cost: Free
Toowoomba Street Art Trail

10. Spring Bluff Railway Station

Dubbed as South East Queensland’s prettiest railway station, Spring Bluff Railway Station is a heritage listed site showcasing beautiful gardens all year round.

Back in 1914, Queensland Railways designed a garden competition to encourage railway staff to beautify the rail stations throughout Queensland and grow vegetables. The gardens at Spring Bluff Railway Station are still beautifully maintained today and have won numerous awards in the Carnival of Flowers competition over many years. As a result, September is the best time of the year to visit the gardens when they are bursting with the colours of spring.

The grounds are open for visitors all year round and are an idyllic place to have a picnic, a BBQ, coffee and cake at the Spring Bluff Café, or just enjoy a family outing and wander around the grounds.

Rides on the train from Toowoomba to Spring Bluff and return are operated by Queensland Rail and only run during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers in September of every year. Book early as they sell out quickly! 

  • Visit Duration: 1+ hours
  • Where: McCormack Drive, Murphys Creek, Toowoomba
  • Hours:  All Day, Everyday
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: Spring Bluff Railway Station

11. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

If you love gardens and flowers or will be in or near Toowoomba in the month of September, you must go to the biggest and longest running festival of flowers in Australia, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

Some of the featured events include:

  • Grand Central Floral Parade – floral floats travel through the centre of the city to Queens Park escorted by street performers, carnival characters and roving entertainment (check the website for the date and exact route)
  • Festival of Food and Wine – a three day festival of incredible flavours, produce and wine fresh from the pastures, orchards and wine vineyards of Southern Queensland Country
  • Queens Park – spectacular display of blooms and garden designs
  • Laurel Bank Park – features beautiful garden displays and a one hour guided twilight tour
  • Night Garden Powered by Ergon Retail – features light installations and illuminations of colour within the grounds of Queens Park’s Botanic Garden
  • Ferris Wheel – the best way to see the floral filled Botanic Gardens from above
  • Foodie Experiences – Festival of Food and Wine (above), Foodie Dinner Tour, Talking Pubs Tour and High Cheese

N.B. Due to its popularity, we highly recommend booking tickets and accommodation well ahead of time.

  • Visit Duration: 1+ day
  • Where: Various Venues Throughout Toowoomba
  • Hours:  All Day, Everyday
  • Cost: Check Website for Coasts of Individual Events
  • Website: Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

In Summary

Toowoomba has something to offer every type of traveller. There are lots of things to do and places to visit throughout the city, and our list above should offer enough of a variety to suit all members of the family.

Have you visited Toowoomba? Are you planning a trip and looking for things to do in Toowoomba? Post your tips and questions below.


Exit 45 Rating

The Exit45 Rating scale runs from a low of 1 to a high of 5 in each of the 9 categories.  As such, the higher the score out of 45, the better the Exit45 Rating.  N.B. These scores are our own personal opinions and are based on our experiences, budget constraints and what we love doing i.e. adventure seeking foodies who love snorkelling and water related activities.

Value for Money4
Cuisine4
Friendliness of Locals4.5
Ease of Language Barrier5
Climate4
Activities and Tours4
Ease of Travel4
Culture Barrier5
Safety5
TOTAL EXIT45 RATING39.5 / 45

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11THINGS TO DO IN TOOWOOMBA

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By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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