A Day Around the Lanes
You’ve got a few hours to spend wandering around Toowoomba’s streets and lanes exploring cafes, classic architecture and one of Australia’s largest outdoor street art galleries.
But where to start?
Use our guide to set you on the right path…
Sleep in and start the day slowly with a great coffee and leisurely breakfast at Ground Up in Searles Lane.
Check out the ever-changing street art in the lane on your way via Duggan St to Gallery Lane to check out Elysha Rei’s stunning Geisha mural painted as part of 2017’s First Coat Festival.
Stroll toward Ruthven St and you’ll see Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery – the oldest regional gallery in Queensland and home to many treasures by Australian and international artists. Spend at least an hour browsing the collection here and don’t forget to check out The Gallery Shop for a memento of your visit crafted by a local woodworker, jeweller or textile artist.
Continue your walk across Ruthven St to Union St where you’ll find Sydney artist Fintan Magee’s huge Elephant mural. Completed in 2014 it was the first significant First Coat mural and a coup for the festival. It’s probably the most photographed and most loved of the cities large-scale artworks.
Continue up Union St to see the very colourful ‘Early Mornings Late Nights’ mural and Toowoomba artist Ian McCallum’s 'Mourning Morning' mural both done in 2016.
Follow along a little further and you’ll come to the corner of Union and Neil Sts, where you’ll see St Stephens Uniting Church – it’s 154 years old and was built in 1863 as a Presbyterian Church. This beautiful church has stood the test of time and even survived an arson attack, when in 1989, an intruder set a fire fuelled by choir sheet music which all but destroyed the building. Repairs to the roof and stained glass windows were completed in 1993.
Turn left into Neil St to have a look at the majestic Empire Theatre which was built in 1911 and renovated after a fire, in the art deco style in 1933. Today it is one of Queensland’s most celebrated regional theatres staging everything from ballet to blues. The foyer is beautiful and if there’s not a performance on, you can take a peek inside the theatre – or enquire about a guided tour.
Next head to see the work of Melbourne-based internationally renowned artist Adnate, at 49 Neil St the mural titled 'One & The Same' depicting an Indigenous boy looking into the distance. A plaque next to the mural reads: My work aims to remind people of the importance of culture, reconciliation and tradition.
It’s a powerful piece and also a local favourite...take an extra moment to look at the detail in the eyes!
Scoot across the carpark and you’ll see a beautiful black and white mural 'She’ll be right' by Brisbane artist Sophia Mary Mac. Look closely for orchids and banksias native to the Toowoomba area as well as quirky little fish which are actually Japanese soy sauce bottles. The mural is a statement about multiculturalism, conveying the message that we can all live in harmony.
From here head across Annand St to the Walton Stores.
Check out the food options and settle in for lunch, perhaps a burger from Hello Harry a bowl of noodles from Junk Boat or a healthy salad from Full of Life Organics. Just make sure you top it off with a delicious ice cream from Nitrogenie #yum.
There are also murals to look at in the lane here – take note of the mural along the side of the CUA bank building. Completed in 2012 by 5 artists including local Ian McCallum, it was the seed that grew into the First Coat Festival that has contributed more than 90 murals to the streets and lanes of Toowoomba.
After lunch take a walk through to Ruthven St you’ll notice the stately Alexandra Building. Designed by prominent Toowoomba Architect Harry Marks in 1902, the downstairs was a drapery, a confectionary and cake shop while upstairs was a banquet room and concert hall.
The adventure doesn’t end here…There’s plenty more to do in town:
Cobb + Co Museum
Laurel Bank Park
Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens
Toowoomba Sightseeing Tour
Walks, views and Café at Picnic Point
Eat and Drink:
Encores at The Empire
Big4 Garden City Holiday Park
Highlander Motor Inn
Potters Boutique Hotel
For more inspiration on where to explore, dine and relax across Southern Queensland Country, check out our handy guide.