Things to do Darling Downs with kids
Breathe deeply. The clean fresh air is exhilarating, right? Open your eyes. Really look around and take in the brightest blue skies and the rugged landscapes. Aaaaand, relax. Feel that city stress draining from your body. Ah, the serenity. The gloriousness of the Darling Downs is what rural escapes are made of.
The Darling Downs is teeming with gorgeous towns to visit. First on your list should be Toowoomba (90 minutes from Brisbane), the second largest inland city in Australia, but with a definite small-town charm. Make this your base, and you can zig-zag your way around the region discovering close-by gems.
The perfect destination for a weekender or a longer stay, the Darling Downs region encompasses Stanthorpe in the south, Kingaroy to the north and west to Goondiwindi and St George.
So, if you’re looking for breathtaking landscapes. It’s here. Want to develop a deeper connection to Australian history? It’s also found here. With some of the best natural adventures you will find in Australia, you guessed it, it’s right here, too.
Now go, explore all the goodness the Darling Downs has to offer.
Best things to do Darling Downs with kids
To the surprise of many, it’s ridiculous how much there is to do in this part of Australia.
Take it as easy or go hard on the walking and hiking trails of stunning local national parks like Goomburra Main Range National Park, Crows Nest Falls, Bunya Mountains, Condamine Gorge, Queen Mary Falls, The Wooroolin Wetlands, Carnarvon Gorge and a heap more. Climbing Table Top Mountain is a must!
If you’re into history, you’re in luck with a plethora of museums, galleries and heritage hotspots with the highlights being Cobb and Co Museum Toowoomba, Jondaryan Woolshed, Australian Army Flying Museum Oakey, Highfields Pioneer Village, and Downs Steam Tourist Railway and Museum.
Some family favourites on the Darling Downs include a visit to the Darling Downs Zoo, Empire Theatre, Dogwood Crossing Miles, Glengallan Homestead, Granite Belt wineries, Lawdogs Australia show, and you can even pick your own fruit at a few farms in Stanthorpe. Remember to leave some time to let the kids run around in some of Toowoomba’s renowned parks – Queens Park, Picnic Point, Laurel Bank Park and the Japanese Gardens. And after you’ve tied out some of the amazing new food offerings in Toowoomba, go for a walk down the streets and alleys to discover the fun street art.
Discover more things to do
Darling Downs accommodation for families
There’s something for everyone when it comes to Darling Downs accommodation. You’ve got the pure luxury of Spicers Peak Lodge (leave the kids at home), live like a local with an AirBnB house, or have a fun night in at the famous Rudd’s Pub.
If you want to stay close to the action in the Toowoomba CBD you’ll have plenty to choose from, or find some peace and quiet one of the gorgeous cabins, cottages, motels and apartments spread across the Darling Downs. You’re sure to find a family-friendly place to stay.
Best family accommodation in Toowoomba – Read our review on where we recommend families stay
Stanthorpe family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Warwick family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Goondiwindi family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
St George family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Jondaryan Woolshed family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Kingaroy family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Dalby family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Toowoomba family accommodation – click here for latest prices and availability
Know before you go
Where to eat with kids on the Darling Downs
Don’t be fooled into thinking food options in southern Queensland are just simple country fare (mind you, you can find these here, too, and they are so good). This area is really coming of age food-wise. The region’s wineries, delis, breweries, restaurants, cafes and the good old Aussie pub are serving up some seriously good tucker. Degustation menus are now a thing (but perhaps not for the little ones) – best to save this for a holiday date night. Food doesn’t get much fresher when you’re right amongst some of the best farming land in Australia. Savour every bite!
Our favourite places to eat with kids on the Darling Downs are:
- Park House, Ortem or Cafe Valetta for breakfast
- The Finch, Ground Up, Impressions, Wendland Fine Foods, or Milk and Honey for coffee or morning tea
- Pump (for drive thru coffee)
- The Baker’s Duck for the most amazing pastries (only open Saturday mornings for takeaway)
- Muller Bros, Piccolo Papa Pizza, Sofra Turkish, Artisan Pizza and Sandwich, Fitzy’s, Federal Hotel for lunch or dinner
- Urban Paddock Cafe
- Belle Vue Cafe, Cherry Tree Cafe or the Coffe Club
- McGregor Terrace Food Project, The Bramble Patch, Aussie Beef Steakhouse, Brinx Deli, Granite Belt Brewery and Restaurant
- The Larder, Victoria Hotel, New Dynasty Chinese
- DeliCate, River’s Restaurant
Getting from Toowoomba Wellcamp airport
Visitors can now fly into Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport (about 25 minutes from the heart of Toowoomba) with direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Townsville and some Western Queensland towns. Taxis and Peters Coaches Shuttle Bus service runs frequently to and from Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport. There are also hire cars at Wellcamp Airport.
If you want to start your trip off in Brisbane, Toowoomba is an hour and a half drive from the Brisbane Domestic Airport.
Darling Downs Public transport
Toowoomba has a pretty good bus service running throughout the city but don’t expect it to be as regular or run for as long each day as it would in big cities. See here for bus journey planner. Some smaller towns have limited bus services while others have no public transport at all.
Driving on the Darling Downs
If you don’t have your own, hiring a car is going to be your best bet to see this region. Take your time and wend your way through country roads, scenic landscapes and historic sites at your own speed. Be aware of wildlife when driving on country roads, especially at night.
Plenty of parking everywhere. Just make sure you carry some coins to feed the parking meter.
Darling Downs Weather
The Darling Downs enjoys the loveliest weather, boasting four distinct seasons. Cool, crisp autumns give way to cold winters (all the better to enjoy a cosy indoor fire). Sunny springtime is backed up by hot, dry summers.
Our Favourite Family Events Toowoomba and Darling Downs
A special mention has got to go to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, one of the best food and wine festivals you will find anywhere in Australia, held every September.
Some other spectacular family-friendly events include the Warwick Jumpers and Jazz, Goondiwindi Hell of the West Triathlon, Chinchilla Melon Festival, Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Festival, Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, Australian Camp Oven Festival Millmerran.
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