For those of you looking for something a little bit racy, you’re going to have to read to the end of the post. Anticipation is half the fun after all.
Following an impressive breakfast on the veranda outside our room at Vacy Hall, our second day in Toowoomba was spent mostly nosing around other people’s back yards, as you do. Fortunately, it was entirely above board, and part of the Carnival of Flowers. A number of private gardens are opened as exhibition gardens during the length of the festival and you can pay a nominal fee to have a look round. There’s a number of ways to do this including a hop on hop off bus but we chose to drive around ourselves. The gardens were beautiful but did make us feel a bit inferior given the current state of our lawn. Nonetheless it was really interesting to see how amateur gardeners planned their spaces and put a lot of love and effort into creating a beautiful display for them to enjoy all year round and for visitors to enjoy during the Festival.
We also had a bit of a walk around Toowoomba CBD and admired some of the fantastic colonial architecture. It was a shame to see where this had been masked by brutalist concrete in the 60s and 70s. However, other buildings, such as Quest apartment block which utilized an old church showed how old and new architecture could work well together.
For lunch we sought out The Spotted Cow Pub. They’d been serving craft beers at the festival the day before and had good online reviews so we thought this would be a good choice. We were right, and had an excellent steak sandwich, washed down with beers from the Sunshine Coast. Is there a theme developing here? There was also great music playing, and given the tour posters on the wall, the pub is obviously a popular stopping off place for bands on tour. We fancy coming back to catch a gig here.
After lunch we headed up to Picnic Point at the top of Toowoomba which is well known for its views across the valley. The views certainly lived up to the hype and there were a number of marked trails for you to make the most of the. We were feeling a bit lazy so took one of the shorter walks but still got to experience some great views.
After a chill-out back at Vacy Hall, we headed out for dinner. A local Turkish restaurant, Sofra had been recommended and as it was open on a Monday night and within walking distance we thought we’d give it a go. We hadn’t booked and when we got there were surprised that it was packed out on a week night and hoped they’d be able to find us a table. Luckily they did and, were quickly seated and having a look through their extensive menu. We weren’t hugely hungry after a big breakfast and lunch so shared a couple of mezze dishes; Falafel (chick pea patties) and Peynirli Sigara Boregi (Feta Cheese Filo cigars) with one main, Karisik Adana (A selection of kebabs and meatballs). Considering the busyness, the service was really speedy so we were soon enjoying our dinner which was as delicious as we’d been led to believe. We’d definitely recommend a visit here if you’re in Toowoomba.
After two days, we’d enjoyed our stay in Toowoomba but were left thinking it’s a city of contrasts. On the one hand there are beautiful parks and stunning countryside. On the other, the CBD feels distinctly neglected. We wonder if it has suffered the malaise that’s struck many a regional Australian city – under cover shopping centres. These are fantastically convenient, and Toowoomba has a great one with a wide choice of retailers. However, they do draw shoppers away from the CBD, which then kills it. It gets even worse when the CBD is pedestrianised, as if people can’t park and drive near shops they often go elsewhere. Pedestrianisation hasn’t happened in Toowoomba but nonetheless it wasn’t a bustling thoroughfare. There’s obviously been some attempt to revitalize it, with some stunning street art, see the example below. However, it hasn’t quite worked yet. We noticed further big dollars being spent on what looked like an extension to the undercover plaza and thought it was a shame that some of that wasn’t being spent on the CBD itself. It does make us realise how lucky we are in Bundaberg to still have a vibrant CBD which seems to co-exist with the indoor centres. We think this is partly because consecutive local councils have put effort and money into keeping it as the heart of the city.
Finally, during our time visiting we found out a few other random things about Toowoomba:
Teams of elves come out every night to polish the pavements. The city had the shiniest pavements we’d ever seen and we saw no evidence of how this was achieved. As Sherlock Holmes famously said; ‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth’. Hence our conclusion regarding this phenomenon.
A remake of the film Deliverance is obviously being planned for Toowoomba. This was evident from the fact that in two shops in Russell Street you could buy cowboy boots and other country clothing, then nip next door for a banjo. Need we say more.
Wild jungle animals run loose in the city – see photographic evidence below
And finally, the bit you’ve been waiting for. We decided that Toowoomba must be a sexy city. Firstly, there was a comprehensive selection of shops providing every kind of love accessory you could imagine. More importantly, The Vault in the CBD was one of the largest adult entertainment venues we’d ever seen, particularly given the population size. Hence, Toowoomba is obviously a sexy place to live.
However, of slight concern here is that although Toowoomba is Queensland’s largest inland city, the population still only numbers around 150,000. Given this, there must be a fairly high chance that patrons of The Vault could be related to one of the topless barmaids bringing them their drinks or at least know their Mum and Dad.