What started as a floral celebration to boost the Garden City’s economy after the hardships of World War II, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has grown into an iconic Queensland event.
Today, its the perfect mix of colourful flowers, innovative garden designs and a festival atmosphere, attracting close to 300,000 visitors to Toowoomba each September.
To help you discover the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, here’s everything you need to know before you go.
What is it?
Each Spring, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers takes over Toowoomba for ten days packed with flowers, food and wine.
This is the longest-running floral event of its kind in Australia with a program of events and activations, award-winning gardens, a floral parade bursting with colour, music and parkland entertainment, and the best food and wine from Southern Queensland Country’s local orchards and vineyards.
A short two-hour drive from Brisbane, the carnival can be enjoyed as a day trip or make the most of the experience with a scenic self-drive journey.
What to expect?
Over 150,000 bulbs and seedlings are planted by the dedicated gardeners each year to ensure the flowers are blooming perfectly for visitors during Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
On every flower fan’s bucket list should be the piece de resistance of the carnival – the two major floral features located at the Botanic Gardens in Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park.
Here you will find colourful flower displays and scented gardens, avenues of stately trees, Wisteria arbours and acres of lush green lawn, perfect for a picnic.
Insider tip: For an extra special experience, visit the viewing platform in Laurel Bank Park for an aerial view of the annual display gardens, embodying a different theme each year for the carnival.
You will also find additional floral displays around the Toowoomba CBD (Ruthven and Margaret Streets), Picnic Point Lookout and Spring Bluff Stations.
Why do people love Carnival?
Come for the flowers, stay for the food.
It’s not just for the garden enthusiasts either. Everyone can play in the petals and expect a city brimming with floral displays, a line-up of live entertainment and seasonal dishes topped with edible flowers.
For travellers who can’t leave home without their furry four-legged friend, you’ll be pleased to know that dogs have long played a historic part in the festival with “Puppy” the Pomeranian involved in the first Carnival Parade in 1950.
The carnival has plenty for dogs to enjoy too. Cultured canines, pampered pups and adventure dogs are all welcome to join the Petals and Pups itineraries and dig into delicious long lunches, Toowoomba tours or parkside playtime in the off-leash zones.
Keep your eyes peeled for the statue commemorating Puppy at Picnic Point and check out this list of more pet-friendly activities to explore in Southern Queensland Country.
Tell me about Toowoomba
The good news is you can take as long or as little as you like to discover the parks and gardens on display across Toowoomba.
Other carnival bucket-list items include the Ferris Wheel in Queens Park, twilight tours through Laurel Bank Park and the Floral Parade (reimagined in 2020 as a static display in Grand Central Shopping Centre).
After you’ve seen your share of flowers, join one of the popular foodie and walking tours or wander Toowoomba’s hidden laneways for a street art experience.
Take your tastebuds on a local produce tour of Toowoomba’s ‘paddock to plate’ rich dining precinct before heading up into the High Country and visiting The Hamlets, a string of villages home to wineries, restaurants, gift shops and B&Bs.
When the sun goes down each day, the Night Garden springs to life in the Botanic Gardens with lighting displays and plenty of Instagrammable moments to capture.
Where to stay?
The best way to fully immerse yourself in the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers experience is to spend a few nights in the Garden City. With more than 50 hotels within five kilometres of the city centre, you’ll be spoilt for choice when looking for accommodation options.
For travellers who want a couples getaway in a romantic cottage there’s no shortage of B&B and Airbnb’s in Toowoomba.
If DIY accommodation is more your style, there’s plenty of caravan parks across the region or National Parks to pitch your tent or camper trailer.
Travelling with pooch? Check out this list of pet-friendly campsites across Southern Queensland Country.
Got a bit more time to explore Toowoomba? Start with this guide to things to the best things to do in the Garden City.