Visit Picnic Point
When you visit Toowoomba on the Darling Downs of Queensland you will find breath taking views at Picnic Point. There is also a nice eating place and a lovely park to enjoy.
I used to live near here many years ago and always enjoyed a visit....in fact I could walk here. How good was that.
Sometimes in winter it could be a bit tricky driving at night though as it can be very foggy.....also if you visit in the cooler months do bring a jacket.
We enjoyed our meal in 2013 and were lucky to find an inside table with views.
The restaurant and cafe is open 7 days for Breakfast and Lunch and for dinner Friday and Saturday nights.
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
I found out that Toowoomba boasts its very own Himalayan Salt cave so I went and checked it out.
It was an extremely relaxing and tranquil experience. I was told that the Salt therapy is a drug free treatment that has helped many people with respiratory problems and skin conditions. I just went there to see what it was like and do recommend it to everyone it is just amazing. It is hard to bring yourself back into this world after being in the cave. I even bought a beautiful Salt Lamp.
INSIDE ST. LUKE'S CHURCH
On walking inside St. Lukes and looking towards the Nave, I thought the many arches built in french gothic style, were beautiful. Altogether, there are 9 bays, with 9 arches.
The High Altar took my attention. It is beautifully carved, done by serveral women, if like me, I always think of men doing something like this.
The Agnus Dei is in the centre, flanked by the Crown of Thorns and the Crown of Glory, it really is magnificent.
Behind it is the Griffith window, a large central window which is a replica of a famous window in Chartres Cathedral in France, where it is known as "la Belle Verriere."
- Religious Travel
JU RAKU EN JAPANESE GARDENS
About the best Japanese gardens I have ever seen are the ones at Toowoomba. They were opened 1989, and include 3kms of stroll paths in a Japanese landscape of many trimmed Azalea bushes. We have been here a few times, and every time enjoy strolling around. On one ocassion, a Wedding Party was here having their photo's taken, what a lovely setting for this!
About the gardens.................
The Central Lake represents the celestial sea from the Buddhist legend, and the northern edge of the lake is lined by a large pebble beach to remind viewers of a seascape.
Other parts of the lake edge are rocky and jagged just like the sea coast of Japan.
Approximately 2,500 full sun Azaleas are planted on the northern face of Azalea Hill as a representation of hillsides in Japan where Azaleas grow wild. The pruning of these shrubs will eventually provide a wave like massed green mat which will burst into vivid colour in Spring.
We were there in mid September, and they had passed their best, but still had colour, so come 2 - 3weeks earlier to see a brilliant display.
Other plantings include Cherry Trees, Japanese Maples, Azaleas, Camellias, Bamboo, Japanese Black Pine, Iris, Lotus Lilies and Moss. The red bridges, a waterfall, cascades, and some Duck's compliment this beautiful garden.
OPEN DAILY 7am till DUSK
ADMISSION IS FREE
Enquiries at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Phone number below.
- Hiking and Walking
TOOWOOMBA ART GALLERY PARK
When walking Ruthven Street, I came across the Art Gallery and Art Gallery park.
The park is only small, has some seating, and a lot of Aboriginal sculptures.
How it came about................
Some Landscape Architect's teamed up with an artist and ironworker who had obtained a group of unemployed aboriginal men as part of a small budget work training grant.
The fifteen young aboriginal men were taught ironmongery. They went to work and made a series of totems representing their individual dreams and visions, and now I could view them in the park.
- Hiking and Walking
- Arts and Culture
TOURS OF TOOWOOMBA
As far as I know, there is no walking tour guide for the CBD of Toowoomba.
I think it a pity, as Toowoomba has many handsome old buildings located along its wide streets.
I just walked around the city centre, viewing the different styles of architecture.
Some interesting buildings were the Old Post office at 136 Margaret Street which was designed in an Italianate style and had the clock tower added later.
Next door, was the beautiful Classic Revival Court house that was built in the 1870's. Both are built out of sandstone.
Just across the road, is the very different Strand Theatre which has a very distinctive semi-circular window and an unusual central balcony. [see separate tip]
The Town Hall is another beautiful building which also has a clock tower. It was built in 1900, and is the 3rd Town Hall! Located in Ruthven Street.
This is just a few of the many you will see on your Toowoomba CBD walk.
If you have a car, then follow the Brown little arrows on the tourist signs. This is a driving tourist drive around Toowoomba.
One takes you around Inner Toowoomba, and the second drive takes you around the outer area of Toowoomba. By doing this drive, you see most of the important sights.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Perched on the edge of the Great Dividing range is the Picnic Point Lookout and Restaurant / Cafe.
There is plenty of parking, don't worry if the main area is full like it was for us, as there is another parking area not far away with hardly had a car in it.
This area is always well maintained, has a large lawn area and plenty of shade from the Bunya pine trees. There is an excellent children's playground, bbq facilities and Toilets.
The view from the platform is far reaching views over the Lockyer valley and the nearby volcanic Table Top Mountain. If you're feeling energetic, you can walk to this Mountain, no, I haven't!
An unusual monument is of a little dog named " Puppy." He was the mascot of the Toowoomba Thistle Pipe Band.
Feeling hungry, then the Cafe maybe the place to enjoy a meal and the wonderful view.
After having a look here, we followed Tobruk Memorial Drive further down the Mountain. This led to another lookout, and plenty more picnic areas, and then returned to the top again.
ST. LUKES FLOWER EXHIBITION
St. Luke's Church enters in the Carnival of Flower's each year.
For a gold coin donation, we were able to go inside the Church, and view the beautiful floral arrangements. They were stunning!
Outside, and there were potted plants for sale, and a food stall where a bbq was operating. Only $2 for a Sausage, onion & roll, can't beat that for price, and a Marquee to sit under and eat, especially good as the day was wet!
Excellent floral display!
ST. LUKE'S CHURCH HALL
Located next to the Church, is the Church Hall which is registered with the National Trust of Queensland.
I have always admired the distinctive design of this 100 year old Hall. The roof-top ventilators topped with crosses are patented and which are said to be reminiscent of Byzantine onion cupolas.
We were able to go inside, as they were holding a spinning & weaving exhibition, for the Carnival of Flowers.
- Religious Travel
SAINT LUKE'S CHURCH
Another beauiful Church in Toowoomba, this one built out of local bluestone!
This Anglican church we walked around and were surprised to find one side of the Church is not complete. There were reinforcing rods sticking out of the masonary. Between the two sections, the Church has corrugated iron as a wall.
Inside, and speaking to one of the Parishoner's, we were told that they are hoping to raise enough money to complete it in stonework matching the rest of the Church.
Inside, you would not know!
There is a little piece of "Belgium" in this Church, as the Crucifix on the altar was found in the ruins of the Albert Cathedral in Belgium!
It has been 150 years since worshipping began at this site, not all in the Church, but in a School room that was built to serve as a School during the week, and a place of worship on the weekends.
- Religious Travel
TOOWOOMBA TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Your 1st stop when entering Toowoomba, should be the marvellous TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE.
It is stocked full of brochures, containing all the information you could ever want, there a lovely helpful staff, clean Toilets, and a Cafe.
You can pick up a free map of the city area, and also the Tourist drive map, this is well worth doing.
Nice souvenirs are available at reasonable prices, also Books on the area.
Brochures are FREE OF CHARGE.
OPEN DAILY 9 - 5pm.
HISTORIC SPRING BLUFF RAILWAY STATION
This historic Railway station can be visited any time of the year, but the BEST TIME, is when the Carnival of Flowers is being held during September.
It was in 1864, construction of the Ipswich-Toowoomba line commenced, and in 1867, the first train from Ipswich reached Toowoomba, a 5 hour journey!
Hard to imagine that this station in the early 1900's, handled more than 5500 passengers.
Nowdays, Spring Bluff is not an operational station, and is listed on the National Trust of Queensland register.
During the Carnival, Train rides from the Toowoomba Railways Station to Spring Bluff run daily for a week, at 9am and 1pm.
We were at the Station when the Steam train was there, and then watched it leave for its onward journey to Brisbane.
You need to book, as these Train journeys are very popular.
Tickets are available from QR Toowoomba Station...phone... (07) 46313380
The spring display is fantastic. Many, many hours of hard work has been put in, and over the years has been rewarded by winning many ribbons, this year  was no exception, with them taking out 1st prize in their section. We strolled around, looked at the gardens and the old heritage buildings that have been repainted in their original colours, and then watched the Steam Train leave and wind its way around the mountain-side.
About the gardens..................STUNNING!
The area..................................Don't miss coming here!
The Cafe is open from Friday to Sunday 9.30am-4.30pm, but open all through Carnival week.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
GO POTTY AT THE TEAPOT EXTRAVAGANZA!
This is another display that is held every year during the Carnival of Flowers.
Not only is there Teapot's, but Cup/saucer/plate sets, Tea-towel collections, Button collections which have been made into designs and framed, aprons, quilting, tea cosies and hand made doll collection. A Potter was in the corner, decorating the Pots he had made, these were for sale.
Each year it varies, so you can come back again to see something different.
I loved looking at the 400+ teapots on display, ranging from novelty items to the finest in bone china. I was glad I could take my time and have a good look, probably my favorites were the novelty Teapots. It was amazing at what they can make a Teapot look like!
LOCATION.......The extravaganza is held at St Alban's Church and hall on the corner of Anzac Avenue and Hill Street.
OPEN......10am and 4pm daily.
$4 Devonshire tea was available.
Outside were plants for sale at very reasonable prices, and a book jumble sale.
- Museum Visits
- Budget Travel
Carnival of Flowers, and looking for something to do at night?
We walked to Sideshow Alley, where all the sideshow's and the rides were, including the Ferris Wheel. Plenty of rides to spend money on, side show stalls, Fairy Floss, Showbags, and an Animal farm.
A couple of "flame thrower's" entertained us and the crowd for awhile, and then it was time for the firework display which lasted 1/4hour.
Every year, sideshow alley is here, in the same place in Queens Park.
LAUREL BANK PARK
This park is lovely to visit at any time of the year, but when the Carnival of Flowers is on, it is at its very best.
Mr. Stephens donated the land to the Toowoomba city council in 1932, but before handing it over to them offically in 1934, he designed the layout of the gardens.
Mr Stephens was known to many as 'the man of flowers'. He loved gardens & flowers allowing only a Croquet green to be incorporated in the gardens.
Every year, when the Carnival of Flowers is on, you can have a Devonshire morning tea at the Croquet club. We did, and it was beautiful! One huge scone, jam & cream, and a cup of coffee all for $4.
You could have one huge muffin, and of course, tea instead of coffee. It was a wet day, so we could have sat inside, but instead, we sat on the verandah and enjoyed our morning tea whilst admiring the gardens.
During the carnival of flowers, they have a raised stand that overlooks the garden beds. We went up, and had a wonderful view over all the garden beds, a must do when here.
It is here that major floral float for the parade stays. Climb inside, and have your photo taken as the "Queen!"
The Wisteria Arbour is at its best too [September], there is seating underneath.
There are lots of exotic trees, including English and Spanish oaks, Japanese maples and many more, all in a well kept lawned area. It really is a nice park for a family picnic, there is Playground equipment, a gazebo and Toilet's in the park, and those trees add the much needed shade on those warm, summer days.
Other history............Laurel Bank Hall in the gardens, was built during World War II to be used as a mess hall for US naval troops.