Sightseeing and Other Activities

Toowoomba sightseeingWhile our scheduled Alfesta activities should keep you entertained, you may wish to use some of your free-time to explore the surrounding area and take in what the beautiful Toowoomba region has to offer.

Parks and Gardens

Toowoomba is home to many beautiful parks and gardens. Take the time to experience some of our feature parks.

Japanese garden - Ju Raku En

The Toowoomba Japanese Garden is the largest, most complex and traditionally designed Japanese Garden in Australia. It was named Ju Raku En by the designer - roughly translated it means long life and happiness in a public garden. The garden is a joint project of the University of Southern Queensland and the Toowoomba Regional Council and was opened in 1989. It was designed by Professor Kinsaku Nakane - renowned as the modern day master of Japanese garden design and famous for the restoration of many of Japan's old gardens and the design and construction of gardens in Japan and throughout the western world. The garden is accessible through the USQ campus and Regent St, Toowoomba.

Queens Park

The meticulously tended Queens Park is home to Toowoomba's Botanical Gardens. Sitting adjacent to the CBD, the park features stunning floral beds, wide open spaces and tree-lined paths.

Picnic Point

Picnic Point lookout overlooks the Lockyer Valley and is a great location for a picnic lunch atop the Great Dividing Range. From here you can enjoy the extensive play areas and picnic facilities, explore the graded walks along the range escarpment or simply experience the breathtaking views.

Toowoomba waterbird habitat

The Toowoomba bicentennial waterbird habitat is located in Rangeville with access from McKenzie and Alderley Streets. Sitting on about 7.5 ha, the diverse wetlands is carefully constructed to attract various waterbird species. A relaxing place to visit, with paths and seats located throughout the park. The habitat is open daily from 6am to 6pm.

Newtown Park

Newtown Park was initially laid out in a pattern intended to mirror the design of the Union Jack. Avenues of trees crossed the park from corner to corner, linking with trees planted around the perimeter. Today the essence of this original plan can still be seen. The park is also home to the State Rose Garden with more than 1500 rose bushes. Rose lovers enjoy the gardens from early spring until late autumn when the blooms are at their peak. The beauty of the roses is complemented by attractive park furniture. To read more about the wonderful rose garden from the experts, head to the State Rose Garden website.

Laurel Bank Park

The exotic surrounds of the manicured Laurel Bank Park and the scented gardens close to the city centre showcase fragrant blooms, herbs and shrubs. The scented gardens were developed by ideas from the Downs Association of the Blind. Laurel Bank park includes a playground, picnic area and croquet greens.

Historical walks

The Toowoomba Regional Council has published a series of historic walk brochures to assist visitors wanting to explore the city's heritage. The collection includes walks through Queens Park & Surrounds, East Creek Park & Paddington Estate, Mort Estate, Caledonian Estate, Newtown, Russell Street; and Cultural and Legal Precincts. These brochures explain the history of the area and include  many of the prominent buildings scattered throughout the city. Brochures are available at customer service centres and visitor information centres in the region or can be downloaded from the Council website.

Major historic sites of interest

The Toowoomba region has a fascinating past, and many locations of historical importance can still be visited today.

Pilton Hall

Pilton Hall, erected in 1920 was the first Soldiers’ Memorial Hall in Australia.

Bottle Trees

In 1918 a number of bottle trees were planted by EP Wells, the National Bank Manager, and his wife to honour the bank staff and local men who served in World War 1. The remaining 4 bottle trees are located in King Street, Clifton.

In 1918 a number of bottle trees were planted by EP Wells, the National Bank Manager, and his wife to honour the bank staff and local men who served in World War 1.
The remaining 4 bottle trees are located in King Street, Clifton.
Steel Rudd's Shingle Hut

The site is the location of the boyhood home of Arthur Hoey Davis, "Steele Rudd", who was the author of classic Australian stories including 'On Our Selection' which led to the 'Dad and Dave' radio series. 

Rudd's Pub

Located at 45 Tooth Street, Nobby, Rudd's Pub was built in 1893 and was originally called the 'Davenporter' Hotel. Located at Nobby, the name changed to Rudd's Pub in the 1980s in recognition of Steele Rudd (Arthur Hoey Davis), author of 'On our selection' and creator of 'Dad & Dave'. Rudd's Pub contains a large collection of memorabilia from yesteryear. Steele Rudd wrote three of his Dad & Dave stories while living in the district.

The Jondaryan Woolshed 

The Jondaryan woolshed is an historic icon in the region, built in 1859, and now the centrepiece of the Jondaryan Woolshed Historical Museum and Park, a major cultural tourist attraction and event venue. It is located 45 kms west of Toowoomba just out of the village of Jondaryan, and is open daily.

Royal Bull’s Head Inn

The original Royal Bull’s Head Inn was built by William Horton at Drayton in 1847. The slab–built inn with shingled roof, served as an important meeting place for the squatters. The inn was large and well equipped with a parlour and all the requirements for a constant stream of visitors, including travellers, clergymen, settlers and anyone travelling to the area from the coast. A long program of preservation and restoration began. In 1984 the inn celebrated its 125th birthday and a year later in 1985 the ground floor had been fully restored.  In 1987 work began on restoring the second floor of the inn. Restoration is still continuing on the building today. The inn will be open to the public on the first weekend of every month  and a coffee and bookshop currently operate within the inn. 

Toowoomba Post Office

In 1877 the colonial architect F.D.G. Stanley designed Toowoomba’s new post office building. His plan included keeping all the public buildings on a central site, so the new post and telegraph offices would be built next to the courthouse which was already under construction on the corner of Neil and Margaret Streets. The new post office was built in the classic revival style and was constructed using pale yellow sandstone similar to the stone used on the courthouse.  The stone was transported from Highfields quarry by train at the Government’s expense. The building was completed around 1880 at a cost of £ 8,100. The 17 metre high clock tower dominates the building. Gillett and Bland of London made the original tower in 1877. The contract  to fit the clock was awarded to Mr Schoenle who lived in Ipswich. It cost £105 to fit the clock. Today, the building is considered to be one of the finest remaining works of the Queensland Colonial Government. The building is heritage listed and currently houses a coffee shop and offices. 

Empire Theatre

The original Empire Theatre opened on Thursday 29th June 1911 but was destroyed by fire in February 1933. On the 27th November 1933, the new art deco Empire Theatre opened its doors featuring state of the art facilities including seating for up to 2,400 people.  At this time, the Empire Theatre was the largest theatre in Australia outside of a capital city. It closed in April 1971 and remained empty for quite some time, with threats of demolition hanging over it. In 1975 it was bought by the Queensland Government and was used for TAFE workshops. In October 1994, Toowoomba City Council started negotiations for the purchase and redevelopment of the Empire Theatre. On Saturday June 28, 1997, the Empire Theatre reopened as a premier performing arts complex which included a restaurant, bars, two function rooms, laundry and a wardrobe area.

Toowoomba Court House

The Margaret Street Court House was constructed of a pale stone cut from the Highfields area, larger heavier stones for the lower area with a lighter kind of masonry for the upper work.  The building features an arcaded portico surmounted by the projecting first floor with pedimented gable.  The octagonal piazza in the centre of the building was designed to enhance natural light penetration.  Of interest is the cruciform shape usually reserved for churches, which will present the longest frontage to Margaret Street and the narrow end to Neil Street. The old court house was used for court hearings until the new $2.2 million court house in Hume Street was opened in May 1979. In 1980 restoration began and the old building was relieved of its layer of peeling white paint and covered in a protecting clear silicone finish.  It was deemed that the building would be used to house government offices and by the 1990’s, when it housed the offices of the Department of Family Services, the Department of Tourism, Sport and Racing, and the Queensland Police Service, it had become exceedingly run down. In 1986, the building was listed for entry in the Register of the National Estate.  The building was sold in 2000 to Robert and Lorraine Grant to become their private residence and following several meetings with the Heritage Council, and many assessments of the site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), extensive work sympathetic to the historic structure began.

The Strand Theatre

The Strand is Queensland's longest continually operating cinema. Situated in Margaret Street, it stands on the site formerly occupied by the Crystal Palace Picture Gardens. The American-inspired design was similar to picture theatres erected in other Australian cities. There was seating for 1 000 people with a solid masonry façade and marble facings at the main entrance. A large monogram ST was set in front of the projecting biograph box with 44 coloured lights. There was also a female figure set in a niche holding a globe of light. The Strand was officially opened by the Mayor of Toowoomba, Alderman A McWalters, on Saturday 15th April, 1916. In 1933 the Strand was lavishly refurbished in the Art Deco style by the Sydney architect and theatre designer Guy Crick. The 1950s saw the introduction of a wide screen format and renovations again took place in the 1960s and 70s. In 1992 saw a major redevelopment with four small cinemas being erected around the original cinema. In 1993 a fifth cinema was added in the balcony space. The theatre was then known as Toowoomba Five owned by Birch Carrol and Coyle. In 1999, with the opening of the second cinema complex in Toowoomba the original name "The Strand" was restored to the cinema complex which continues to be a popular venue for cinema patrons today.

Art Galleries and Antiques

Experience the art of our region by visiting a gallery or explore the spectacular First Coat street art of Queensland's largest outdoor gallery in Toowoomba. Public art galleries located in Toowoomba, Crows Nest and Goombungee house many permanent collections and host regular exhibitions. A number of private art galleries are also located in our region. Alternatively, explore some of the antique stores located throughout many of the towns in the area. An antiques trail guide for Toowoomba can be collected from the Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre.

Tombstone trails

The Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery was established in the 19th century and is the final resting place of many of Toowoomba's original custodians and most prominent citizens. You can discover the meaning of certain headstones and gain personal insight in the richness of the lives of Toowoomba's early residents with a unique self-guided walk through the gravesites. The tombstone trails allow you to explore the rich and fascinating history of Toowoomba's early pioneers. A map of five self-guided trails is available from the Toowoomba visitor information centre.