See The Lay Of The Land
Toowoomba is a city known for its beautiful gardens and tree-lined streets and here, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to suburban nature parks, but none are quite so beautiful and prestigious as Picnic Point Lookout.
Artfully placed flowers and hedges line the car park as tall, shady trees provide shelter for the playground and picnic tables behind. There’s even a hidden garden with a waterfall and hopping rocks in the lower echelons for a world away experience too.
But the real drawcard is right there in the name. Picnic Point Lookout is a beautiful lookout with expansive views down into the vast plains of the Lockyer Valley.
Of particular prominence in the otherwise mostly flat and gently undulating landscape is Tabletop Mountain. Distinct due to its pancake peak, this mountaintop that draws the most gazes is another cool free thing you can do in the Toowoomba region. Go forth to that, shall we?
Conquer The Friendly Neighbourhood Mountain
It’s not your average walk in the park, but the views from the circuit at its pancake top are beautiful, breathtaking and sweepingly panoramic and are well worth the calf, thigh and buttock workout that you get from ascending it.
See The Other Lay Of The Land
Panoramic Drive Lookout
South of the city of Toowoomba, in an affluent new estate on a hilltop, lies a little known lookout at Panorama Drive Park. Awaiting you at the very crest of the mountain are magnificent, uninterrupted sweeping views across the south-west as far as the eye can see.
From here, you can see vast plains, crisscrossing roads and distant mountains. You truly get a sense of the scope of this region and how expansive the lands forfeited for farmlands are and how much they dominate the landscape.
It’s a great place for landscape photography and to watch the sun come up over the horizon on a warm summer morning.
See Untouched Landscapes
A national park you cannot go past if you’re in this region is the beautiful, untouched wilderness that is Crows Nest National Park.
The walks here centre around Crows Nest Creek and allow you to get down to water level at tranquil areas along the river, show you a raging cascade (after heavy rain) and offer breathtaking lookouts that gaze down upon the rocky landscape.
The highlight of this gorgeous national park is the view from Koonin Lookout. The second of the two, this spectacular lookout allows you to gaze down into the Valley Of The Diamonds, a stunning, untouched valley named so because of the way the water glimmers like diamonds. It’s a beautiful scene and one well worth a visit.
Gaze Out At A Pretty Lake
The pretty lake with mini cliffs has two stopping areas on either side of the dam wall, but the western one has a secret little walk to a lookout that grants you views over the northern part of the lake instead of just looking south as the roadside stops afford you.
See The Other, Other Lay Of The Land
In the sleepy town on Kingsthorpe in the Toowoomba Region of the Darling Downs lies a mountain of the same name that harbours a beautiful secret lookout.
The short 500m walk up Mt Kingsthorpe takes you to an elevation of 610m and provides breathtaking views of the town you just ascended from and sweeping views of the mountains and vast plains that surround it.
It’s an off-the-beat track that few people know about, but it’s definitely one to visit.
If you’d like to read about my ascension up this little mountain, you can do so on my Bunya Mountains Camping Trip post.
Queens Park And Various Other Locations, Toowoomba
Every year during September, Toowoomba becomes floral heaven. There are flowers of every colour in full bloom all over the city in parks and select private residential properties that have been lovingly tended to and raised, and it is nonesomore on display than in Queens Park.
The extensive array of flower beds and floral arrangements bring the park to life. And best of all, it’s free to visit most of the displays throughout the city! It’s an absolute must-do thing in Toowoomba in September.
See The Other, Other, Other Lay Of The Land
Scenic Lookout, Haden
While Mt Kingsthorpe and Panoramic Point Lookout have sweeping views of the surrounding plain lands, the Scenic Lookout a couple of kilometres north-west of the tiny township of Haden allows you to enjoy the rows upon rows of undulating hills that lie to the east.
This easy access lookout by the side of the road has two sheltered picnic tables, allowing you to attack that snack you packed and rest and recharge while enjoying some beautiful views for that much longer.
Get Tunnel Vision
For those of you who like history, trains or exploring cool places, take a detour to Muntapa Tunnel not far off the New England Highway near Cooyar. The 287m concrete tunnel boasts the title of the longest straight railway tunnel in Queensland and is home to a colony of bats that come sunset, whoosh out of the establishment like something out of a horror film.
Not only can you explore the innards of the tunnel and all it is straightness in all its glory, there’s also a park dedicated to its history with signs and ruins of former buildings and camps that used to be here.
There are also facilities for your bowels and picnic tables so you can relax and enjoy the surroundings as your brain fills up on historical knowledge.
Discover A Tiny Renmant Rainforest
Palms National Park, Cooyar
Situated a few minutes drive off the highway between Yarraman and Cooyar is a little slice of paradise you wouldn’t expect way out here.
Driving through the Toowoomba region, you’re surrounded by endless miles of land dedicated to agriculture. One would surmise that that before the land was plundered and turned into extensive fields of farms, that the vegetation would have bushland of some type would have dominated the landscape, so it’s pretty shocking when you stroll on into Palms National Park.
The tiny patch of preserved land is a full, living, breathing rainforest that is vastly different from its surroundings and is much cooler than it too. Yeah, it seems pretty random just stuck out here in the seemingly middle of nowhere.
Walking inside this tiny remnant rainforest that was saved from logging many moons ago hammers home how much our species has altered the land and how little of the original landscape is left.
It makes places like this even more special, but wishing that more ancient lands had been preserve rather than plundered and makes you wonder just how much of this area was previously rainforest.
The Western Downs is part of the Darling Downs region. Click here to see what the Darling Downs has to offer.
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