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You pass a lot of country on the way to Toowoomba in the Great Dividing Range. About 107 km from Brisbane to be more accurate. On the way you pass a very large red elephant, the largest bottle of Bundaberg Rum you've ever seen in your life, and an Emu farm all along the Warrego highway.

Toowoomba is strategically located as a major crossroads for the main highways to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Darwin so you see a lot of big trucks streaming through the city. There is an over abundance of hotel and motel rooms here for the passing traffic. Also, when you come up the Great Dividing Range, you usually need to let the engine cool down from the long climb that starts just out of the town of Wilcott.

Toowoomba was founded by William Horton though this has been disputed since he was not actually the first person to live there. He built a tavern named the Royal Bull's Head Inn in the nearby city of Drayton. However, he was the first to send men over to what was then named simply, "The Swamp." Rev. Benjamin Glennie became the first to place the name of Toowoomba on parchment though not many know why. It is thought that the name was a loose translation of an aboriginal word "Tawampa" which means swamp. The swamp was drained and divided up into 12-20 acre farms and drew in the population from Drayton at the prospect of using the good rich soil that lay there. Today it boasts dozens of farms, wine, food, entertainment and an ever growing population.

This enchanting rural city is also known as "The Garden City" with it's Carnival of Flowers usually held in September. Usually a grand parade and floats are taken through the city as thousands of visitors enter their own homegrown flora in various contests during the week long gala.

The Empire Theater is a heritage listed art deco theater that has been redone as one of the most majestic theaters in all of Australia. It was built in 1911 and boasted the title of largest theater in Australia but burned down in 1933. It was rebuilt later that year and rose quickly to become the center of Toowoomba's entertainment hub. Although it mostly showed cinema, the most loved of the features of the theater were the live action concerts that were held there. It closed in 1971 for a period after the retirement of it's long standing manager, Bob Dodd. In remained in use as a TAFE college and even a warehouse untill it was reopened in 1997 for it's grander purpose. It now has a large single screen for the latest movies and hosts several live performances such as the recent appearance of Terri Clark and the future show of Shannon Noll.

Another well known attraction in Toowoomba in Weis Restaurant which has been tempting locals and visitors to their seafood buffet for years. Set in a old house with various converted rooms, get a table by a fireplace or a secluded room for two as you serve yourself on the fabulous food they have to offer. Everything from your favorite carvery selections to the finest of shellfish on the coast, you can enjoy these great meals for a reasonable price.

A 10 minute drive out of the city is Preston Peak Wineries which not only offers various wines among the maze of vineyards, but free tastings of all their wines and coffees at a wonderful old wood bar just inside their gift shop. Next to the tasting bar is a fabulous cafe with a terrace that overlooks the valley between the mountains of the range. The food is made fresh on site and beverages are refreshing and filling.

All in all the little village on the hill is not a bad spot to be in. A bit more relaxed than the big smoke it can still offer the finest of what life has while still leaving you with mates rates.


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