Woohoo!!! Time to get out of the city and embrace the freedom of the open road. This landscape changes, from the highways of Brisbane and surrounds to the farming, flowering and flowing lands of the Darling Downs. Pretty soon, you know you’ve hit Outback country – the land opens up and becomes a highway of possibilities. Where will you go? On this trip, we stop at Roma, but really, the answer is – as far you you want!
Welcome to the garden city! Toowoomba is know for it’s 150+ parks and gardens, as well as its famous annual Flower Festival.
Grab some morning tea – there’s some great cafes on the fringe of parks around Toowoomba – especially east park – but we’ve heard you can actually get a cracking scone with Devonshire tea at Cobb and Co. Cobb+Co Museum is part of the Queensland Museum and is home to the National Carriage Collection which features nearly 50 horse-drawn vehicles.
Only a 45min to 1 hr stop here – we’ve got to keep going!
It’s time for lunch!
Option 1: Chinchilla.
In pulling into Chinchilla, you’ve arrived in the melon capital of Australia – this friendly town produces 25% of the country’s watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melon.
Snap a sweet selfie with the giant melon (one to cross off the bucket list!) and head on.
Option 2: Drive a bit further and stop in Miles. Miles is a tiny bit sleepier than Chinchilla, but features the excellent Historical Village, if you fancy a wander after lunch. It’s an accurate recreation of a Queensland country town’s main street at the turn of the century and contains over thirty buildings including a bootery, post office, a general store, bakery, the Union Hotel, a butcher’s shop and a dairy. The complex also features the old Australian Bank of Commerce, the Dalwogan siding with a steam locomotive, the Red Rose cafe (a replica of the first Greek cafe in the town which opened in 1925) and Andersen’s Smithy where the famous Condamine Bell was first made.
Whew! You’ve made it through the transformation of the landscape and arrived in the outback. Did you notice the colours change as the sun began setting? You’re in Roma now, the administrative centre of the Maranoa Shire and the home of the Roma Saleyards, the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere. You can watch from a viewing platform to watch the action – on a Tuesday and Thursday (if you’re sticking around!) you could see the sale of up to 12,000 head of cattle in a single day.
Roma is a bit bigger than some of the towns we visit, so depending on where you’re staying, you can walk down to Basset Park, where you’ll find the Wool Hall (named for guess which industry!), or get a taxi.
Doors open at 6.30pm – if you buy your ticket online, we’ll donate $2 of the price to Rural Aid.