Toowoomba Autumn Leaf Trail
The weather's a little cooler, the trees a little barer, and you feel just a little more energetic. It's the ideal time to hit the Toowoomba Autumn Leaf Trail. Take a walk on one of the many tracks where you'll encounter native birds and animals, and pick up a picnic lunch from a local gourmet food supplier. What a perfect outing!
The gracious city of Toowoomba - the "Garden City" - sits high on the edge of a plateau 125km west of Brisbane, so it's a pleasurable day trip from many other regions. Or why not enjoy a weekend there?
At Picnic Point, you'll immediately feel the cooler briskness of the Autumn air after a drive up the range, and you can spend ages gazing out at the spectacular views to the Lockyer Valley, Tabletop Mountain and plains below. Pardalote Walk is a popular walking route (1.9km) down the escarpment and through the bush, and the truly energetic can tackle a 5km track. Picnic Point Square, with the iconic G150 flag pole, has shady picnic facilities and children's play area.
Other tracks for varying fitness levels include Redwood Forest Walk (3.8km) and Ferntree Gully Walk (840m), accessible via Redwood Park. This expansive bushland park of towering eucalypts and rainforest offers more "Ooh!" and "Aah!" views, and has picnic facilities and compost toilet. There are also horse riding and mountain bike tracks here. (Please check beforehand as some tracks are undergoing maintenance.)
The elegantly grand Queens Park, in Toowoomba's heart, is perfect to enjoy a picnic amid the meticulously maintained floral gardens. Huge trees planted in 1875 line the avenues, creating a magical space and providing a blanket of richly coloured Autumn leaves. There are sealed walking tracks, large green space, and an all-abilities playground.
Also close to the CBD is Laurel Bank Park, with its scented gardens and shady trees that make it popular for lunchtime escapes for city employees. The free gas barbecues can be enjoyed after dark as the gazebos have lights.
For peace and quiet in nature, there's nothing quite like Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens, on the University of Southern Queensland grounds. The traditionally designed Japanese Gardens have three kilometres of paths, tranquil water features, Japanese and Australian native plants, and everything else you could want for a relaxing and harmonious visit.
Pick up some delicious picnic supplies in town to make your Autumn Leaf Trail visit complete. Check out the fresh gourmet range such as Antipasto Platters and Gourmet Wraps from Deli Delicious, or head in to The Finch, who've gained a reputation for their must-try Banh Mi Rolls and Salted Caramel and Chocolate Slice. On the second and fourth Saturday of each month, you can grab fresh Darling Downs seasonal produce at the Toowoomba Farmers Market held at "The Windmills", Cobb & Co. Museum.