London, New York, Toowoomba

Did you know that Toowoomba in Queensland is Australia’s largest inland city? Its also home to the much loved Carnival of Flowers Festival. Yes, the good folk of Toowoomba pull out all the stops to decorate their city in the colours of spring for all to enjoy, attracting visitors from far and wide. Our happy band of Ross travelers were in Toowoomba for a five day visit, including Carnival of Flowers in all its spectacular glory.
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The city parks and roundabouts are full to the brim with gloriously coloured annuals, and it is a delight to see so many visitors and local families enjoying a stroll down the promenade, or a picnic under the beautiful trees. Beautiful Japanese garden, taking in azaleas and gorgeous cherry blossoms in full bloom, were a delightful place to stroll.
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Display gardens simply overflowing with spring colour and native plants, flowering in abundance, were a huge hit with the local birdlife. There were some rather unexpected surprises too. It seems absolutely everyone in Toowoomba grows Cliveas, and the range of colours is dazzling, all of them with huge heads of flowers.
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Perhaps Toowoomba’s enthusiasm for plants and gardening has much to do with its location, perched high above Brisbane in the fertile Darling Downes region. The soil there is so rich and dark it looks like chocolate. Our intrepid Ross travelers headed through the Darling Downes from Toowoomba on route to the Lockyer valley.
A highlight of the Darling Downes, the group enjoyed recounting the ‘On Our Section’ stories at the Nobby Pub, written by Steele Rudd who famously lived in the region.
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The Lockyer Valley is known as the food bowl of Australia. We traveled through huge paddocks of broccoli, potatoes and other vegetables that will later fill the larders of very grateful Australian households. Despite losing lives and homes in the disastrous flood a few years ago, the Lockyer Valley is once  again a thriving, productive area.
The Toowoomba tour is a bit of a guide on how to pack as much as you can into a few days away. We even got ringside seats at the marvelous Grand Parade, with pipe bands, decorated floats and the whole she-bang! And so with weary eye, big smile, and fond memory we come home ready to sing the praises of this beautiful part of Australia, and the wonderful people who live there.
Text and images by Libby Cameron

To see where the tour has been, check out the itinerary

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