Florals, flavours and furry-friend outings – our top five things to check out at Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
The longest-running floral event of its kind in Australia and the premiere celebration of all things spring – Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers continues to bloom in its 71st year. Picture-perfect flora, plenty of family-friendly fun and local foodie adventures are all on offer over the course of the entertainment-filled festival from September 18–27. So you know what events to make the roadtrip for (there are more than 30 of them!), we have curated our top five picks of (horti)cultural adventures to get around – from dog-friendly activities and street-art walking tours to grand floral parades and Ferris-wheel rides. Read on to discover what to add to your calendar …
Have a dog’s day out
Dogs have always played a historic part in the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and it all started with a pomeranian named Puppy leading the Toowoomba Thistle Pipe Band in the very first Carnival parade from 1950–1958. Today a statue commemorating Puppy stands at Picnic Point in Toowoomba and it’s a nostalgic reminder of how important our furry mates are. So you and your four-legged friend can enjoy the festival and all of the dog-friendly activities that Toowoomba has to offer, Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has curated three different itineraries for a fun-filled dog’s day out. There’s an itinerary for the cultured canine with art-filled laneway strolls, long lunches and a visit to the iconic Picnic Point parkland to take a snap with Puppy, as well as a day plan for the pampered pup featuring puppycinos, doggy day spas and a shopping pit-stop at local treasure trove Harold’s. Finally, there’s even a schedule for the adventure dog, which includes a hearty breakfast at Piccolo Papa, off-leash adventuring around Garnett Lehmann Park and a brew at a dog-friendly beer garden (for their human companion, we mean). Now, that’s something to woof at!
Play in the petals
Of course, the crowning glory of the festival are the flowers and there’s plenty of floral-filled public parks to play in. The 170,000-strong floral displays in Laurel Bank Park and the Botanic Gardens of Queens Park will feature a kaleidoscope of colour with everything from chrysanthemum and antirrhinums to poppies and tulips making an appearance. If you want a behind-the-scenes look into the the secret world of the parklands by night, you can even take a twilight tour of Laurel Bank Park where you’ll hear from the experts about the darker side of plant life. If that’s not enough nocturnal action for you, the Botanic Gardens Night Garden will be open to explore across ten nights of the festival. Queens Park will be home to entertainment each weekend in September starring local talent, with a new act taking the stage as part of its artist-in-residence program. There will also be a host of food trucks serving up delicious delicacies across the parks and the Botanic Gardens Ferris Wheel will spinning around so you can take in the beautiful gardens from a higher vantage point.
Try all of the #trEATS in Toowoomba
So you can tuck into Toowoomba’s delicious food scene, this year’s festival includes a region-wide food trail called #trEATS that will feature a mouth-watering array of eats from more than 60 local flavour makers, each offering $20 springtime #trEATs on their menu during September – talk about cheap as chips! This tasty trail will tantalise your tastebuds while you get to explore the best dining destinations Toowoomba has to offer. Keep your eyes peeled, a full list of flavoursome delights will be announced here on Tuesday September 1.
Take in all of the blooms at the Grand Central Floral Parade
Instead of the traditional street parade (which cannot run this year due to COVID-19 restrictions), Grand Central Shopping Centre will host the Parade of Colour with floral floats on display during the school holidays from September 19–27. To celebrate 71 years since the first parade made its way through the city, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is going virtual with the Itty-Bitty Grand Central Floral Parade, which will showcase miniature floats straight to your living room via a live feed on Saturday September 19 at 3:00 pm.
Discover street art, dining destinations and hidden historical gems
If you’re looking to fill up on some tasty tucker, there’s a huge range of foodie tours happening during the festival. Start off with the Talking Pubs Tour, which takes visitors to boozy pit stops like Bar Wunder, Muller Bros and Irish Club Hotel to enjoy a brew or two. There are also two different Foodie Dinner Tours to take part in that’ll help you discover Toowoomba’s hidden dining gems, with the Friday Foodie Dinner Tour going to Café Valetta overlooking Queens Park and Kingfisher Café. The Saturday Foodie Dinner Tour will head to Cobb+Co Museum, Inbound at the Toowoomba historic railway station and Gip’s Restaurant – trust us, you’ll be full in no time. If you’re eager to hike off the feast you just indulged in, there’s a number of walking tours to embark on so you can discover the storied history behind Toowoomba. Get your dose of culture and art with tours like the Laneways and Street Art Tour, The Dark Side Walking Tour, the Architecture Styles Tour and the 150 Years of Rail Walk and Talk Tour. Just remember to book in to not miss out!
This article was created in partnership with our friends at Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. To see the full program, head to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers website.