If you ‘re searching for an awesome weekend destination, it is hard to bypass the city of Toowoomba. The below guide includes all the top things to do in Toowoomba with kids and gives an insight into why this city is family-friendly.
No matter the season, Toowoomba is the perfect location, but the most popular time to visit and for an added touch of magic is during spring. Each year in spring Toowoomba or the “Garden City” as it is affectionally called is ablaze with beautiful blooms during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
The stunning floral art displays have enticed visitors to this city since its inception in 1949. The now-iconic Queensland event has only increased in popularity over time which has led to it being the longest-running floral exhibition in Australia.
A visit to Toowoomba in spring will ignite your senses, but even if you are not a green thumb, or you plan on visiting at another time of the year there is lots to love in Queensland’s largest inland city, as you can read below.
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- How to get to Toowoomba
- Things to do in Toowoomba with Kids
- 1. Explore the Toowoomba Gardens
- 2. Have fun at the Queens Park Playgrounds
- 3. Take in the Views at Picnic Point Parklands
- 4. Visit Spring Bluff Railway Station
- 5. Admire the Toowoomba Street Art
- 6. Step Back in Time at the Cobb and Co Museum
- Best Places to Eat in Toowoomba
- Where to Stay in Toowoomba
- 72 Hour Toowoomba Itinerary
- Have More Time?
How to get to Toowoomba
Located atop of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba is less than a two-hour drive from Brisbane on the Warrego Highway, through Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley.
Practical Information: When travelling to Toowoomba you will encounter road tolls. Purchase a pass in advance using linkt.com.au
Things to do in Toowoomba with Kids
1. Explore the Toowoomba Gardens
A trip to Toowoomba would not be the same if you did not stop by a park or two. With over 150 gardens and parks, there is no shortage of tranquil green spaces to wander, but it can also be overwhelming to choose which ones to visit.
Here are some of the favourite gardens in Toowoomba.
Laurel Bank Park Toowoomba
Under a five-minute drive from the city centre, Laurel Bank Park would now be regarded as one of our favourite parks and gardens. The 4.5-hectare park is small in comparison to Queens Park but impressive on a beauty scale.
Once privately owned, the land was gifted in 1932 by Mr Samuel George Stephens to the residents of Toowoomba under the proviso the land was to be kept as a park. The children’s playground, croquet greens, and BBQ facilities make it a popular option for families. Within the park is a sensory garden for the visually impaired featuring scented flowers, shrubs, and herbs, which was created with the assistance of the Downs Association of the Blind.
Laurel Bank Park puts on a year-round show with the changing seasons, but if you want to visit when it’s decorated with colourful flowers aim for around the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers where you can witness thousands of bulbs in full bloom. Scented gardens, creative displays for kids, beautiful annuals fill the garden beds creating a rainbow of colour that fills the air with sweet perfume.
Japanese Gardens Toowoomba
Gardens in Japan can take centuries to mature and they are a place to escape the flurry of everyday life. Appreciated more as an art form gardens in Japan utilize elements such as streams, stones, waterfalls, and bridges to reproduce a miniature version of natural scenery. Some of these garden elements can be found in Ju Raku En – Toowoomba’s Japanese Gardens.
Established in 1983 the Japanese Gardens are one of the largest in Australia. There are over three kilometres of paths around the three-hectare site offering visitors a chance to wander the grounds. At the heart of the garden are three separate islands, surrounded by a lake. The red connecting bridges are one of the most photogenic areas in the gardens.
The 230 species of plants and trees both native and from Japan along with the combined natural elements of streams and waterfalls create a tranquil oasis in the outer suburbs of Toowoomba.
Queens Park and Botanic Gardens
Queens Park and Botanic Gardens is located within walking distance from the CBD and spread over 25-hectares. Showcasing seasonal offerings from vibrant flower beds in spring to a rainbow of red and orange in autumn as the leaves on the deciduous trees transform with the change of season.
The long lines of flower beds bring a vibrant fusion of colour to the Botanic Gardens in spring when the city hosts its annual Toowoomba flower festival. Some of the towering trees have watched over the annual festival since the beginning as many varieties are well over 100 years old.
There is also lots of fun for the kids at Queens Park with the remainder of the green space made up of cricket pitches, four ovals, scooter paths, lawns to kick a ball or fly a kite, plus two incredible playgrounds.
2. Have fun at the Queens Park Playgrounds
One playground in Queens Park is off Margaret Street and is split up into three sections catering not only to the older kids but the younger ones as well. A climbing net that connects with a walkway and then a huge slide is at the heart of the park. It is surrounded by swings, a flying fox, interactive play equipment, hamster wheels and lots more. Under the shady trees is where the toddler area can be found with slides, swings an interactive train and a spinning carousel.
The second playground off Liberty Street is an all-abilities playground and is targeted towards the younger age group. Once again multiple slides are the main drawcard for the kids, with swings, a seesaw and other interactive play equipment dotted around the area.
Throw down a picnic rug under a magnificent evergreen tree or make use of the free public BBQ facilities and picnic tables close to the playgrounds.
3. Take in the Views at Picnic Point Parklands
Picnic Point Parklands is less refined than its city counterparts, but it is somewhere not to be missed on a visit to Toowoomba, primarily for the stunning views to Table Top Mountain and over the Lockyer Valley. There are plenty of things to do at Picnic Point that could easily fill in a day. Make use of the BBQ facilities, kid’s playgrounds, shady lawns, and take a wander down to the nearby waterfall lagoon.
For something, a little more active take one of the longer walking trails in the area. If you don’t bring a picnic, then visit the Picnic Point Restaurant and Café that offers spectacular views from their alfresco dining area.
4. Visit Spring Bluff Railway Station
Take a 15-minute drive out of Toowoomba for a railway lesson and one of the top things to see in Toowoomba. Home to 150 years of railway history the Heritage-Listed Spring Bluff Station is a magnificent sight in spring. It is of little surprise that the Spring Bluff gardens have won several garden awards. Do not forget your camera as the arrangement of annual flowers displayed around the station create magnificent photo opportunities.
The station served the Highfields area from 1867 to 1992 when it was decommissioned. The station was recognised by the National Trust of Queensland in 1994 and is now a popular tourist destination for the area.
If you would like to explore this area further, at the back of the station on the second level there is a small children’s playground, an old dance hall, constructed in 1907 for social activities and a short walking circuit that takes you through the local bushland.
Tip: The circuit is not sealed, and I recommend walking it clockwise.
During the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers event, the Spring Bluff Train Station is back in operation running diesel-hauled trains twice daily from Spring Bluff to Toowoomba.
Practical Information: Admission to all the above parks and gardens in Toowoomba is free
5. Admire the Toowoomba Street Art
It is not only the parks in Toowoomba that are a kaleidoscope of colour, the laneways and building are adorned with some of the most impressive murals, and exploring the streets in search of them is yet another great thing to do with kids.
Starting back in 2014 local and international artists added their signature flair to many locations around the city, which in turn has brightened the streets and added Toowoomba to the list of cities and towns that is known for street art.
Part of the excitement is wandering the streets of Toowoomba to see what you can find, and some of the locations include Club Lane, Mark Lane and Bank Lane in the CBD.
One of my favourites was by the renowned artist Adnate, who created an image of an Indigenous boy and titled it ‘One & The Same’. Location – 49 Neil Street.
Tip: Some of the artwork can be a little tricky to uncover, and if there is a certain mural you don’t want to miss the local visitor centre can direct you on where to find them.
6. Step Back in Time at the Cobb and Co Museum
For a history lesson in Toowoomba, there is no better or more popular place to visit then Cobb and Co Museum. Gain an insight into the regions past and the Australian transport period from a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including the national carriage collection of horse-drawn vehicles.
The kids will love the interactive science centre where they can learn about gravity, electricity, power, and motion in a fun environment. There is also a Kids Coach Stop area where they can play on a stagecoach, be a general storekeeper and sit atop a replica horse.
Hands-on trade workshops are available for adults where you can learn an old-style skill like blacksmithing, leather plaiting, coopering and woodwork. The workshops are set programs and need to be reserved online.
Feeling peckish while you are at the museum, the Cobb’s Coffee Shop is open from 9.30 am – 3.30 pm daily.
Practical Information: At the time of publication Covid restrictions were in place and there were two sessions available to reserve entry into the museum. Session 1: 9:30am – 12:30pm and
Session 2: 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Each offering three hours entry. Your arrival could be any time during these sessions, but bookings were essential as numbers for each session were limited.
Best Places to Eat in Toowoomba
- Holding a prime position across the road from Queens Park playground is Park House Cafe. As you arrive the tranquil outdoor atmosphere greets you. With an all-day breakfast menu and takeaway options, their breakfast and lunch menu will satisfy all appetites.
- If your taste buds are searching for a good old burger, Betty’s Burgers is an ideal choice. Whether it is a quick takeaway or dine in meal there is something for all members of the family at this burger shack.
- One of the best places to fill your esky is at the Chocolate Cottage. Located in Highfields, 20 minutes north of Toowoomba this is the place to find a range of giftware, local products, gourmet delights and handmade chocolates. Serving breakfast and lunch, dine inside or outside on their expansive lawns.
- You may feel like you are in another state when you visit Ground Up Espresso. The cool vibes and alley-way dining adorned with street art is like what you would find in Melbourne. A popular breakfast choice and voted as having the best coffee in town (per Tripadvisor reviews).
Visit the Toowoomba Farmers Markets
Every Saturday under the Cobb and Co Windmills visitors to Toowoomba have the opportunity to buy fresh seasonal produce from farmers and local food artisans.
Practical Information: Open every Saturday from 7 am until 12 pm
Where to Stay in Toowoomba
When searching for accommodation I would highly recommend staying in an Airbnb, as there are many places suitable for all budgets.
If your accommodation preference is an apartment or hotel find below a list of the top-rated hotels in Toowoomba.
There is also a BIG 4 caravan park if you have a van or would like to stay in a holiday park cabin. Only a 10-minute drive from the city the BIG4 Toowoomba Garden City Holiday Park includes a swimming pool and jumping pillow.
72 Hour Toowoomba Itinerary
The below guide is for 2 nights and 3 days exploring the top sights in Toowoomba that I mentioned above.
- Stop 1: Laurel Bank Park
- Stop 2: Cobb and Co Museum
- Stop 3: Japanese Gardens
- Stop 1: Queens Park and Botanic Gardens
- Stop 2: Picnic Point
- Stop 1: Toowoomba Street Art
- Stop 2: Chocolate Cottage
- Stop 3: Spring Bluff Train Station
Have More Time?
Indoor Activities in Toowoomba
If you are searching for indoor kid’s activities in Toowoomba for a rainy day, or just want to escape the heat this is a list of some of the things to do.
- Trampoline Park & Inflatable World
- Indoor Play Centres
- Ten Pin Bowling
- Swimming Pool
- Public Library
- Amusement Arcade
- Escape Room
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