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Toowoomba is one of the few regions in Queensland with four distinct seasons and is known as ‘The Garden City’ (or ‘Hayfever Hell’ if you’re allergic to flowers).

Its lofty perch on the edge of the Great Dividing Range affords breathtaking views and the town itself boasts more than 150 public parks and gardens. Here is our guide for what to see and do in Toowoomba and some of the best Toowoomba restaurants.

Toowoomba, which is located 127 kms west of Brisbane, is home to more than 90,000 residents and is also a major educational centre with over 23 private schools, a technical college and university.

The city is surrounded by farms which means there is plenty of good eating to be had, whatever your tastes or budget.

Toowoomba is home to the humble chocolate and coconut Lamington which was invented here in the summer of 1886. They’re available at every bakery in town and are exceptionally good.

The famous Carnival of Flowers in September attracts visitors from around the world. Book accommodation well in advance around this time or you’ll be closer than you had planned to those beautiful flowers as you’ll have little choice but to sleep under a tree.

Toowoomba restaurants

Locals flock to Ortem Cafe and so should you. Excellent coffee and a breakfast menu that will get your day off to a great start.
15 Railway Street, (07) 4632 0090

GPO Bar & Cafe is a sophisticated cafe located in the former GPO. Accomplished Mod-Oz cuisines and desserts which are made in-house and worth the splurge.
140 Margaret St, (07) 4659 9240.

Fitzy’s has an unusual name and seriously good steaks. Newly renovated and deservedly popular with locals and tourists alike.
153 Margaret St, (07) 4631 3700

Drop into The Spotted Cow for great music, chilled brews and excellent pub grub.
296 Ruthven St, (07) 4639 3264

Toowoomba bars

Oropa Beer Cafe is a classy European-style alehouse with over 70 top drops on the menu.
(07) 4639 3264, 296 Ruthven St

Jersey Bar is a sports bar with a friendly vibe, a 42 inch plasma screen, stadium sound and 16 beers on tap.
(07) 4639 3264, 296 Ruthven St

Head to The Cube Hotel and relax on a comfy couch with a drink. Also a good casual option for dinner if you’re peckish.
(07) 4632 4747, Cnr Margaret & Neal Sts

Toowoomba things to do:

The Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery is the oldest public art gallery in regional Queensland and has a fine collection of 20th century Australian art.
531 Ruthven St, (07) 4688 6652

Catch a performance at the elegant art deco Empire Theatre which first opened as a silent movie house in the 30s.
56 Neil St, (07) 4698 9900

The Milne Bay Military Museum is housed in a building known as “The Drill Hall” which was built in 1917 as a recruiting depot for the 11th Light Horse regiment. It is staffed by enthusiastic volunteers and has an excellent collection of local military memorabilia.
Anzac Avenue, (07) 4631 4482

Disclosure: The writer loves visiting Toowoomba and once learned the hard way that you should always bring a jacket when heading out in the late afternoon and evening in Toowoomba, even in the middle summer.

If you’re passing through Brisbane on you’re way to Toowoomba, check out some of our favourite activities along the Brisbane River, buy unique handmade souvenirs at Brisbane’s best markets or find out everything you need to know with our ultimate guide to Brisbane.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.