Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published January 4th 2015
Enjoy a stress-free holiday with Wide Bay Transit
Being at a loss again this Christmas for lunch my Mother and I decided to book a 3-day tour to Toowoomba with Wide Bay Transit. A small group of 17 including Mitchell our bus driver headed inland from Maryborough on Christmas Eve bound for the Garden City.
German Grandfather and Cuckoo Clock Centre at Cabarlah
A delicious morning tea was provided by Wide Bay Transit at our first stop of Nanango. From there we visited the German Grandfather and Cuckoo Clock Centre at Cabarlah on the New England Highway. What an amazing shop to be found far from the highway and usual tourists areas. Truly a fascination with our group who wandered from room to room in awe of the original handcrafted German Black Forest Cocks, Cuckoo, Grandfather, Wall, Mantle and Quartz Clocks, Music Boxes, Beer Steins, Austrian Linen, novelty clocks and souvenirs. I was interested to learn that a large percentage of German clocks are made from Lindenwood, a very light coloured wood without a grain, which is very easy to carve due to its softness. The clocks can be then be stained any colour. Each year the owners visit Germany to purchase wares which are sold exclusively in Australia at their shop.
Onwards from Cabarlah we called into Highfields and the Village Green Chocolate Cottage where all the chocolates are handmade on the premises. If chocolates were not your thing, tea and coffee could be purchased with cake or lunch options. The Chocolate Cottage is situated in a complex of other interesting shops and there was enough time to wander through all of them. We ate a very filling Christmas Lunch at Highfields Tavern before checking into the Burke & Wills Hotel for the next two nights.
Statue in the foyer at the Burke & Wills Hotel, Toowomba
That night we were to visit the Botanical Gardens to see the annual Christmas Wonderland Lights and although a storm stopped short our visit there what we saw was nothing short of magnificent. The initial concept by Burstow's Funerals began as a dream of creating an event for the whole community and has continued as an annual event, which raises thousands of dollars for local charities. It is 'must see' for any visitor to Toowoomba at Christmas. Cost of entry is a gold coin.
Before lunch on Christmas Day we were taken to the Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland for a relaxing stroll amongst beautifully manicured and shaded gardens covering three hectares of land. The gardens are open from 7am to 7pm daily and admission is a gold coin entry.
Our booking for lunch was at Picnic Point Restaurant & Bar, high on the mountain overlooking Toowoomba City. An entrée of prawns, salmon and oysters was filling enough before a deluxe buffet of hot Christmas roasts, vegetables and salads was presented for our main meal, followed by an amazing assortment of desserts. Needless to say a very light salad was all we required for dinner that night.
We were to return home on Boxing Day; however not before a visit to Laurel Bank Scented Gardens in Hill Street. It's not hard to understand why Toowoomba is called the Garden City with the enormous amount of parkland set aside with flowering gardens and aged trees to satisfy the tastes of all visitors and residents. Apart from a viewing deck, the gardens have hedges styled in various shapes; a caterpillar complete with concrete boots for feet and a train comprising carriages within the hedge feature. A very artistic idea indeed!
It's always nice when travelling to stop for lunch at a place you haven't before visited. Our fresh salad lunch on Boxing Day was eaten at the Maidenwell Hotel, formerly known as Kings Hotel. The hotel was established in 1913 and built by John King who named the town after the first well he dug in the area. Maidenwell is central to Bunyas, Coomba Falls and Palms National Park.
Hedge shaped as a Caterpillar in Laurel Bank Scented Gardens
Our Christmas adventure was very relaxing and took the stress out of a time of year which is usually very hectic. Wide Bay Transit gave each of us a box of chocolates as a Christmas gift, which although unexpected was a lovely touch to a memorable time away.