A city escape with country charm was what we were after when we ventured out for a romantic short break to Toowoomba. Situated on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, ‘The Garden City’ lived up to its name with endless views across the valleys and foliage from burnt orange to crimson adorning the parks, giving way to the ever changing displays of autumn colour. One of the things we love the most about Toowoomba is how its history has been preserved in its beautiful buildings which adorn the tree-lined streets. The other thing is how close the country is, with wineries, farm-stays, hikes at your doorstep, allowing you to combine the best of all worlds.
Just 20 minutes from downtown Toowoomba is Kiambram, a farm stay that offers a range of accommodations for Bed and Breakfast guests, including two studio cabins and a renovated homestead, all equipped with self-contained facilities. Located in a rural area, guests can enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings while still being just minutes away from amenities. The property is surrounded by beautiful Mountain Coolibah and vine scrub flora, providing picturesque views of the elevated valley and stunning skies at night.
If you want to stay closer to town, bigger brands such as Oaks are located centrally. But, for a romantic getaway, it’s hard to go past the sweet Norwood Roses, a beautifully restored Queenslander cottage in the heart of Toowoomba, complete with an award-winning rose garden!
This charming Queenslander cottage has gained recognition in Country Style Magazine and Home Beautiful Magazine. Originally built in 1895 as a corner store, it has been lovingly restored and now features an award-winning rose garden. This light-filled getaway is ideal for couples, offering a romantic and cozy atmosphere with its natural light, cottage flowers, art, antiques, vintage furniture, and a collection of gardening books. For a dreamy and luxurious stay, follow Norwood Roses and their beautiful garden on Instagram.
COUPLES WILL LOVE
Letting their inner chef out at The Willow Vale Cooking School. Previously located in the Gold Coast hinterland, it has now found a new home in Perseverance, near Toowoomba. Bruno and Catherine Loubet, the owners of the school, have relocated to a beautiful 100-acre property close to Ravensbourne National Park. Bruno Loubet is a renowned chef, known for his previous restaurant Bruno’s Tables in Toowong and his work at London’s Inn on the Park. The school offers classes that highlight the use of vegetables and feature a variety of cooking styles, including classic French cuisine.
The city’s reputation as The Garden City is highlighted by its many stunning parks and gardens, all worthy of a relaxed picnic. Or if DIY is not your style, try one of the many quaint tea rooms or old pubs for a well-deserved wine o’clock. Gallery hopping and antique shopping are popular local pastimes so if you love to browse you’re sure to turn up some little treasures to take home.
Antique hunting, in my case, involves gathering anything beautiful, reasonably priced and character packed. I favour delicate fine-bone china tea cups and old glass milk bottles. When I was standing before one such china cabinet I overheard a local recalling her disappointment at not being able to secure a restaurant booking for that night, to which the friend replied, “Ah, but you see, people think Toowoomba is the new Melbourne.” Maybe, maybe not quite yet!
Stop by The Baker’s Duck. This little gem has garnered a dedicated following due to their commitment to using high-quality, organic, and locally sourced ingredients. They take pride in creating their baked goods using traditional methods and infusing them with love and passion. In addition to their pastries, the bakery also offers sourdough bread and seasonal fruit-topped treats. To complement their offerings, The Baker’s Duck has partnered with Ground Up, a renowned coffee maker in town, because what is a pastry without a good cup of coffee?
A weekend break is never complete without a romantic dinner. Located in a historic building in Toowoomba, the Muller Bros Rooftop Bar, Restaurant, and Cafe offers a unique dining experience. The Muller family, who built the building over a century ago, have preserved its history by opening a rooftop restaurant. Specialising in the art of churrasco, a traditional Brazilian cooking method over charcoal and open flame, Muller Bros brings the mouthwatering flavors of Southern Brazil to Toowoomba. The rooftop bar offers a wide selection of cocktails, beers, wines, and spirits, as well as a menu of small plates and platters designed for sharing. In the restaurant, guests can enjoy a Brazilian-inspired Churrasco BBQ menu, featuring a variety of high-quality meats that are skewered, seasoned, and slow-cooked over fire to seal in the natural juices. Each meat is served table to table, allowing guests to try a variety of flavors and create a truly distinctive dining experience.
We bade Toowoomba farewell and drifted along the country roads through the small town of Crows Nest to arrive at our afternoon destination. Bunnyconnellen is an idyllic little spot – a red barn door leads to a rustic-style cellar and restaurant. Janie invited us in and the wine tasting began, while Peter, the chef and other half of this husband and wife team, split his time between chatting to guests and whipping up delightful, locally-sourced, three-course Sunday lunches.
As we enjoyed our tasty curry (and more wine) overlooking the expansive lawn and olive grove beyond, I couldn’t help falling in love with this place. If you discover that the wine and the lazy sunshine-filled afternoon make it impossible to leave, you can stay the night in the one bedroom, self-contained cottage opposite the cellar door. Peter and Janie are great to chat to and happy to enjoy a glass of wine or two and share their stories. Bunnyconnellen winery and olive grove is only open Sundays so don’t forget to book, as this popular spot fills up fast.
Although we visited Toowoomba in Autumn, any season is the right season to discover the delights of this gorgeous south Queensland country city.
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