The go-to picnic spot of Toowoomba is Picnic Point. Situated on the eastern escarpment, the panoramic views are unparalleled. Loads of tables and barbecue facilities are dotted around the parklands plus the odd secluded spot for a romantic blanket luncheon.
The man-made waterfall is delightful with stepping stones, wedding gazebo and occasional bush turkey bobbing about. Views of the Lockyer Valley, lofty gum trees, rainforest walk, plus a top-notch restaurant with viewing telescope and extensive playground, make Picnic Point popular with every visitor.
Evening picnics viewing the sunset are popular in the summer. Nature-lovers have plenty of choice for times to spy out kangaroos and wedge-tailed eagles (very early morning) or to feast their eyes on a sparkling array of parrots and kookaburras.
Location: Top of Tourist Road off Long St, Rangeville.
One of the splendid vistas viewable from Picnic Point.
My favourite park, the Botanic Gardens at the north-eastern corner of Queens Park has a mood changing landscape. It can be alive with playing children, or bright with flower beds, romantic, formal, or cool and green. Attractions for every season such as Carnival of Flowers when the park is in full bloom right through to winter when the Camellias come into their own. The prettiest fountain, picnic tables and grassy expanses for laid-back enjoyment. The best-secluded spot for a romantic picnic is adjacent to Campbell Street, by the hedge.
Location: Queens Park, cnr Lindsay & Campbell Sts, Toowoomba City.
Laurel Bank Park
Sculpted hedges, big playground, floral and scented gardens and bindy-free romping areas for the family in Laurel Bank Park. Enough space to kick a ball, spread your picnic blanket or take up one of the undercover tables with barbecue facilities. Added attractions include the stunning rose garden and lotus pond. Best romantic seclusion is adjacent to Hill St at the top end.
Location: Hill St, Toowoomba City.
Ducks galore for feeding with bread crumbs after lunch with the family. Japanese bridge, single-spout fountain and of course Lake Annand. Exciting playground equipment includes rock climbing, plenty of space to spread out with the family, boardwalk, loads of parking; it's a must for every visitor. Barbecue facilities, limited undercover picnic tables. Charming all year round, with Camellias in winter.
East Creek Park covers an extensive area and has excellent barbecue facilities. A majestic urban fountain at one end where children love to climb the low hill for a view of the immediate area around the pond. Walks under the trees or cycle along the bicycle path to the weeping willows. Kids can use up all that extra energy with plenty of running distance or other games on the lawn.
Location: Cnr Margaret & Kitchener St, Toowoomba City.
There's plenty of room to throw a Frisbee or kick a ball at East Creek Park.
The Japanese Gardens abut the University of Southern Queensland with the best parking in Regent St. Enormous gates in an oriental red match the Japanese bridges which take the visitor on a meander through the gardens. Waterbirds will beg a handout as you lunch at a table beneath the wisteria or on the grass beside a babbling brook. Two small waterfalls and lots of play areas attract children as they explore, clamber over rocks and find secret gardens. No barbecue facilities.
Location: Regent St, Darling Heights, Toowoomba.
Cherry blossoms, Japanese bridges in oriental red, pond, everything you would expect of a Japanese Garden.
Ravensbourne National Park is alive with parrots and Whip Birds as you stroll the rainforest. Picnicking is at Perseverance Dam with gas barbecues, sheds and gazebos. Fishing isn't permitted, but you can canoe and water ski if the lake is open. Views of the Lockyer Valley and scenic rim. Also in the area are Lake Cooby and Cressbrook Dam.
Location: Turn off the New England Highway at Hampton, follow Highway 46. (40 mins north of Toowoomba)
Lush and shady picnicking at Spring Bluff is very relaxing all year round. Fun walks for all the family. Goanna spotting, trainspotting, historic buildings and memorabilia. The café is humble, veranda seating with a lovely view. Barbecue facilities. It comes alive with magnificent gardens at Carnival of Flowers in September.
Location: Turn off the New England Highway at Highfields onto Murphys Creek Road, follow the sign for Spring Bluff.
Tourists flock to Spring Bluff during the Spring Carnival of Flowers.
Undercover picnic and barbecue facilities, playground with steep slide, fabulous views of the Lockyer Valley, while you munch lunch away from the crowds at Webb Park. Steep walks for some brisk exercise afterwards. Listen out for the Whip Birds at Webb Park.
Location: Dudley St, East Toowoomba.
Queensland State Rose Garden
Large undercover picnic gazebos (no barbecue), roses most of the year, the Queensland State Rose Garden is charming with historic architecture and recent additions to its beauty. Newtown Park adjoins and sees cricket matches and family fun in its grounds. Stroll through the memorial down the palm-tree lined entry path surrounded by a plethora of rose varieties. Peaceful picnicking with a glimpse into military history.