Travel & Reviews

Day Trip Guide: The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

Toowoomba is known for the Carnival of Flowers, an annual celebration of Spring that takes place from the 20th to the 29th of September.

It’s a little less known for its trendy laneway cafes and amazing street art.

So, to show you the best of both worlds, I’ve thrown together a little itinerary for you.

I know. You’re welcome.

Pull up google maps, grab your friends and settle in because here it is: The Ultimate Toowoomba Day Trip (Carnival of Flowers Edition).

Stop One: Breakfast

First things first – breakfast is a must. Don’t eat before you go, because your breakfast choices are as close to endless as you can get.

I’ve narrowed it down to my two personal favourites.

Finch Cafe

The Finch Cafe is right in the heart of the Toowoomba CBD and their Choc Waffle Stack cannot be compared.

Previous experiences here have left me drooling and I can guarantee you’ll feel the same.

The Burrow

This cute little cafe is tiny on the outside, but big in flavour.

If you’re feeling like something sweet, this is their Milly Filly. It’s a little bit of puff pastry, a little bit of vanilla curd ice-cream, and a whole lot of rose flavoured floss.

Unfortunately, The Burrow is currently closed due to fire damage. If you’ve popped by before, or are just passionate about small business and want to show some support, there is a GoFundMe to help this beautiful spot get back on it’s feet!

Stop Two: Picnic Point Parklands

Picnic Point is my favourite ‘typical tourist’ spot in Toowoomba. It’s located at the end of the very appropriately named Tourist Road and offers an amazing view out over the range.

During the Carnival, Picnic Point is also decked out in beautiful blooms of all colours. This year, the tulips were a particular stand out, growing throughout the parklands and on a nearby traffic island.

There’s also a sneaky waterfall garden with a rock crossing, just off to the side. It’s beyond beautiful and a perfect spot to spend some time poking around, esepcially in the morning.

Stop Three: Lunch at Sizzler

Are there a million other (probably more cultured) places to eat lunch? Yes.

Do I regret my choice? No.

Cheesy toast guys. Cheesy toast.

Sizzler is hard to find these days, but Toowoomba has your back. If you think you can resist, wait until you see the Cheesy Toast billboard coming up the range.

Stop Four: Queens Park

Queens Park, otherwise known as the Toowoomba Botanical Gardens, is the heart of the flower festival and sprawls out over a whopping 25 hectares.

During the carnival, Queens Park is home to live entertainment, flowers forming patterns and a ferris wheel that provides an amazing ariel view of the surrounding blooms.

Personally, I would leave this one for the afternoon as it was quite busy when we drove past in the early morning. I also found the afternoon sunlight really lit things up and made for some beautiful pictures.

If you’ve made your trip up over the closing weekend of the festival, I would definitely stick around for the Night Garden that begins on the 26th of September and finishes up on the 28th.

Stop Five: Japanese Gardens

If you want to branch out a little from flowers, these beautiful gardens are the place for you.

These gorgeous gardens spread over 3 hectares and are home to over 230 Japanese and Australian native plants, making them just a little bit special, if you ask me.

Bonus: Coffee Stops

All the driving and excitement might have you feeling a little drowsy, and that is a big no-no when there is so much to do.

If you find yourself needing a pick me up, these are your go-to choices. Hours of operation may very, so plan carefully!

Option One: On the Road

Non Stop Coffee is on Ruthven Street in the heart of town. If you’re looking for somewhere to quickly swing by without getting of your car, without missing out on quality, this is the place.

It’s also a converted shipping container covered in art, which makes for mega street appeal. It really is a must on any trip.

Option Two: Seated Sips

If you’re not in a rush, Ground Up Espresso Bar is a coffee fanatics oasis, that also happens to be covered in beautiful street art.

This is the perfect place to hang out and enjoy your coffee if you’re out west for a longer stay, or aren’t too stressed about trying to fit all of the carnival festivities into the one trip.

Any Other Options?

Oh, just a few…

The official Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers site lists every activity, performance and display you could ever dream of.

There are guided garden tours, classic steam train trips and a teapot extravaganza that involves over 400 teapots.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different this week, Toowoomba is the place for you.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different any other week, Toowoomba is still the place for you.

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