The annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers probably doesn’t make you think of drool-worthy eats and drinks, but if you take a look at the run down of events on offer this year, you’ll find there are just as many things to eat as there are flower-arranging classes.
Now in it’s 66th year, the carnival will take over Toowoomba from September 18-27 with stunning roses, exotic orchards and a whole lot of delicious food and wine. Because sure, flowers are pretty, but after an hour or so of wandering around looking at rhododendrons, you’ll probably be so hungry you’re almost pushing up daisies. But there’ll be no need to find the edible plant section at the flower pavilion, there’s more than enough food tours, wine tastings, food trucks and even a gala dinner to keep your petals blooming!
With so much to see, do and eat, we’ve made a list of the best bites of the carnival. So you better pack your green thumb AND your stretchy pants.
Taking over Upper Queens Park from Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20, this foodie event combines food with florals and brews with blooms, putting the spotlight on local produce of both the edible and not-so-edible kind. From wine appreciation tours to cooking demonstrations with wholefoods chef Monica Topliss and kids cooking workshops in The Play Space, there’s something for everyone. There’s also the Cellar Doors, with 20 local wineries showing off their boutique wines in one quaint setting. More wine, less walking – we like it!
This street food extravaganza is popping up for one night only, Friday, September 25, from 4-9pm, in Ruthven Street. Toowoomba’s newest laneway will transform into a twilight wonderland where you can taste your way through street eats from delicious food vans and knock back as many craft beers as you can handle.
It’s not just the flowers turning Toowoomba into a dazzling destination, the stars are coming out to join them for the opening Gala Dinner on Thursday 17th from 6pm. Dine on four courses of delectable fare from across Southern Queensland, including quail from Pittsworth, baby greens grown in the Lockyer Valley and beef cheeks from cattle raised on the Darling Downs. You might even find yourself seated beside the Mayor! Tickets are $150 and can be grabbed here.
Ever wondered what the walls at your local watering hole would say if they could talk? Take a tour of three of Toowoomba’s oldest and most famed pubs, the Spotted Cow, Five Ways and Irish Club Hotel, and you might just find out. Along the way, you’ll tuck into a dinner course at each pub, paired with a beverage or two. With a courtesy bus offering lifts to and from dinner, you might want to stay a while and find your favourite brew!
Take a full day to meander through picturesque Hampton, just out of Toowomba, where you’ll visit a lime orchard and stop in at a self-sustaining farm. After wandering the gardens and touring the paddocks, you’ll dine on a two course meal featuring all the fresh produce grown and raised right there on the farm. You may even get to pick some fruit for the journey home!
You might need a couple of days to get through it all, but believe us, the food baby is well worth the drive. Who knows, you might even see some flowers!
Words by Rebecca Grady