While it has retained its country charm, the picturesque regional city of Toowoomba has grown significantly over the years. It not only holds the title of Australia’s second-largest inland city but also Australia’s 15th largest city overall. As a result, while Toowoomba is still a regional destination, there’s no shortage of fun things to do here. If you’re looking for some entertaining ways to pass the time in Toowoomba, look no further. We’ve put together a handy list of activities to get you started.
We’ve put this suggestion first because Picnic Point is an iconic Toowoomba destination that everyone has to see. Just a short drive from the city centre, you’ll find stunning sweeping views out to Table Top Mountain and the Lockyer Valley below. For an Instagram-worthy photo, go at sunrise or sunset when the light is just right. You can also take a picnic and blanket and enjoy the view while you snack away. Don’t feel like cooking? No problem. Head to the café for a hassle-free bite to eat.
This famous museum celebrates Queensland’s history and development and showcases the heritage of the local area. You can see historic carriages, traditional horse-drawn wagons and beautifully preserved Cobb+Co relics. If you can, treat yourself to a guided tour where you’ll learn a lot more than just reading the descriptions on your own. It’s a lovely and culturally fulfilling way to spend an afternoon.
The Empire Theatre
This heritage-listed art deco theatre is an absolute must-see in Toowoomba. The Empire Theatre is Australia’s largest regional performance space, where you can catch world-class performances from some of the most prestigious artists around. Tickets start from as little as $15, so you can enjoy an injection of culture in this iconic space for next to nothing.
Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery
Established in 1937, the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery is the oldest regional art gallery in Australia. It features an extensive program of period pieces, Australian icons and eclectic collections of important works. Contemporary exhibitions change monthly, while historical exhibitions change three times a year. That means no two visits are ever the same. The Gallery provides a range of diverse educational activities to complement the exhibition program. The Gallery Shop also offers a variety of interesting gifts and the work of regional and interstate artists for you to buy and take home with you.
Local Parks and Gardens
Toowoomba is Queensland’s Garden City so it would be a shame to miss out on exploring them. Try Queens Park and Botanic Gardens for shady trees and beautiful flower displays. If you need to unwind from your studies, take a relaxing stroll through the tranquil Japanese Garden next to the University of Southern Queensland campus. For manicured lawns, gorgeous flower-filled beds, public barbeques and lovely picnic areas head to Laurel Bank Park for the afternoon.
If you love cars and need an adrenaline fix, head to Toowoomba Speedway. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you watch vehicles of all kinds race around the track. The exciting and lively atmosphere is sure to stay with you long after you’ve left. The Speedway also runs a popular calendar of events and several charity fundraisers each year, so you can fulfil your need for speed and make a difference at the same time!
Toowoomba’s street art is a shining example of how public art displays can contribute to brighter, more connected neighbourhoods. Neil Street is home to over 50 murals of all shapes, sizes and genres, so grab a coffee and go for a stroll. You’re sure to enjoy all types of works by these talented street artists. The best part? It’s totally free!
Darling Downs Zoo
The Darling Downs Zoo specialises in captive breeding for many critically endangered and vulnerable species from around the world. It is home to animals from Australia, Asia, Africa and South America, as well as the only white lions in Queensland. You’ll also find the largest herd of zebras and giant tortoises here. Tickets are $31 with your student card, or you can buy an annual pass for just $90 so you can visit your favourite animals year-round.
Toowoomba is home to a host of stunning national parks. Ravensbourne National Park features several walking circuits, out-and-back hikes and lookouts for you to experience. An hour-and-a-half drive from Toowoomba, you’ll find the Bunya Mountains National Park. With trails winding through the wilderness, you can check out the towering Bunya Trees and over 120 species of birds. If you’re lucky, you might spot some wallabies, king parrots or colourful rosellas.
If you fancy a spot of golf, head to the City Golf Club where you can choose from nine or 18 holes across lush greens. You don’t need a membership to play and student prices start at $20 for nine holes. They also have a pro shop, various events running throughout the year, great food and drink spots and a mini-golf course for a bit of fun with friends.
Food and drink
If you love a weekend market, you can’t skip Toowoomba Farmers Market held every Saturday from 7 am to midday. Here you’ll find a variety of stalls selling everything from local produce, artisan bread and fresh coffee to beautiful art, craftwork and jewellery.
Toowoomba is also packed with great cafés, restaurants, pubs, bistros, and bars for you to explore. For a start, you can make it your mission to find out which incredible café serves the best brew. Head to Sweet Talk Coffee, Ground Up Espresso Bar or The Finch to find your favourite. While you’re there, why not enjoy some delicious breakfast bites or a laid-back lunch?
For a true Australian pub experience, head to Fitzy’s on Margaret Street. It has everything you’d expect, but they’ve ditched the gloom of some traditional pubs in favour of a welcoming, bright interior. Not to mention, they’ve got a stellar menu offering everything from Darling Downs steak to Tasmanian salmon.
Toowoomba Salt Cave
At Toowoomba Salt Cave, you can relax and boost your health at the same time. These salt chambers disperse salt particles in high concentrations, which can help relieve symptoms of asthma, colds and flu, allergies and skin conditions. Visitors have also reported relief from stress, fatigue, broken sleep and improved overall wellbeing. Relaxing in one of these tranquil pink rooms is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a holistic wellness experience, with the option for additional treatments like a relaxation massage, Reiki, Bowen therapy, Tai Chi and Qigong classes.