Toowoomba is an easy drive from Brisbane and a great base from which to explore the Southern and Darling Downs. Perched on a plateau of The Great Dividing Range, the panoramic views are incredible, inspiring you to taste farm life and explore the agritourism gems hidden in its rural landscape.
Queensland’s largest inland city, Toowoomba has been an agricultural and pastoral region since European settlers recognised its potential in the early-mid 1840s. The city itself is famous for its gardens and the annual Festival of Flowers, its historic buildings and its great family-friendly accommodation. Whether you are a local or visitor, Toowoomba is the perfect starting point for exploring the region in search of your next day-tripping adventure.
Many farms in the area have been owned by the same families for generations, making the farmers and operators your friendly local experts. They love what they do and are keen to share their knowledge with you, but you’d better expect to get your hands dirty! Many of these experiences are designed to give you a fully authentic taste of farm life. You might find yourself driving cattle, feeding pigs, collecting eggs, sampling the freshest of farm produce, horseback riding, digging up veggies – the opportunities are as endless as those great panoramic views!
We’ve taken a trip out to the venues below to experience them for ourselves, and we heartily recommend you do too! With handy driving maps, we will show you where to go, how to get there, how long to stay and what to try. It is a Toowoomba day trip itinerary for families that you are going to love!
Toowoomba day trip map
Here are our suggestions for the best day trips from Toowoomba:
Day 1: Toowoomba to Lazy Cow Farm (J2J Pastoral) – 60-minute drive
The drive to Lazy Cow Farm (J2J Pastoral) takes you south along the scenic New England Highway with views to your left of the tree-lined ridges of the Flagstone Creek Conservation Park. Passing by vast fields given over to crops and grazing, there’s ample time for a few rounds of I-Spy and Spotto along the way.
Incidentally, this route takes you right past the Spring Creek Caravan Park – a great pet-friendly option if you are touring and prefer to stay out of the city.
Around 40 minutes into your journey, you will pass the small township of Allora where you can have a little pitstop to refuel the car and take the kids to the bathroom before continuing. You will leave the New England Highway when you see Goomburra Road and “Cedar Route” signed to your left. The road here is narrower and becomes narrower still when you turn left at the crossroads onto North Branch Road, but the roads have a sealed surface suitable for all vehicles.
You are going to have to trust your sat-nav to know you have arrived as there is no signage, but you will be assured of a warm welcome by your hosts, James and Jacinta.
Lazy Cow Farm (J2J Pastoral) is a small family-owned working farm where visitors are welcome to take a walk with the farmer along the banks of North Branch Creek and up through the property, observing the wildlife and putting out hay for the cattle along the way. There are hands-on activities to participate in (see website for costs) including bottle-feeding calves, collecting eggs, yabbying, and morning or afternoon tea with the farmers and their family.
As a working farm, bookings are essential to be sure the farmer can accommodate your visit.
Cost: Activities from $10 per person per hour
Opening Hours: Visit in the morning or afternoon
Address: 591 N Branch Road, Goomburra
Website/Facebook page: J2J Pastoral
Lazy Cow Farm (J2J Pastoral) to Gleneden Family Farm – 20-minute drive
Heading back down North Branch Road, and turning left onto Goomburra Road, you will join the Cunningham Highway for a little while before turning left onto a different North Branch Road – don’t be fooled by it having the same name! Again, the road is narrow but sealed and you will have to keep a careful eye out for Gleneden Family Farm on your left.
At Gleneden you can see traditional farming displays in action, including bullock driving, blacksmithing, whip making and cracking, and holistic, regenerative farming practices. There are even farm skills and kitchen craft workshops that you can participate in.
On a day trip to Gleneden Family Farm you will be invited to hop on board the hay wagon and learn how the regenerative, holistic farm produces organic and ethical food. Meet farmers Rohan and Fiona and their happy cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chooks and local wildlife, and find out how farmers and everyone else can heal the land and still eat gourmet style. The farm grows and sells chemical-free veggies and organic pasture-fed beef, pork, and lamb. You should definitely take your shopping bags!
A visit to Gleneden is a rare opportunity to meet one of Australia’s last working “bullockies” and to take a glimpse into Australia’s pioneering past to discover the importance of the bullock team in Australia’s history.
You can definitely while away a few hours here, and if you want to stay a little longer, bush camping is available!
Cost: Varies depending on activity; contact Rohan and Fiona for your custom itinerary
Opening Hours: Open daily
Address: 375 North Branch Road, Maryvale
Website/Facebook page: Gleneden Family Farm
Day 2: Toowoomba to Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum – 2.5 hour drive
This time we’re heading north out of Toowoomba up the New England Highway (A3), where history and horse lovers are in for a treat! We recommend setting off nice and early – around 7am – to fit everything into this day.
The road is scenic and steep in places, taking you past the townships of Highfields and Crows Nest where there is plenty of opportunity to stop for breakfast on the way up (or dinner on the way down) at one of the cafes or restaurants.
At Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum your family can learn all about rural life as an early settler. With displays of how farming was in the past, children can take a step back in time to see how farming has changed over the generations, and might even be lucky enough to help make some butter by hand with one of the volunteers.
Take a relaxing wander through the historical buildings that display appropriate-era furnishings, equipment, and memorabilia, all set out in a village-style complex on spacious grounds. The museum caters for families and tour groups of all ages. Guides are available for you to enjoy the experience and audio boxes are also set up in some of the buildings to help explain other aspects of how life was for our early settlers.
Cost: Admission by donation, suggested $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30-12:30
Address: 2 Sommerville Street (Off Gayndah Road), Murgon
Website/Facebook page: Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum
Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum to Cowboy Up Trail Riding – 90-minute drive
Following your tour of the museum, the next part of your day takes you 90 minutes back down the A3 for an afternoon trail ride at Cowboy Up. The route will take you through vast grazing lands and lush forests, with the option to stop for a rest and lunch (if you didn’t already at Murgon) at the small townships of Nanango, Yarraman and Cooyar Creek before arriving at your destination in Emu Creek.
It’s not hard to find Cowboy Up – simply follow the New England Highway (A3) until you see the left-turn for Rocky Gully Road and the blue “Horse Riding” sign. From here, the road is unsealed. Take care not to miss the right-turn off Rocky Gully Road into the long driveway to Cowboy Up Trail Riding and your next adventure!
Seated in a comfortable western saddle atop a good-natured – and possibly even movie famous – quarter horse, you will be taken on a guided trail ride through a working cattle property. As you meander across the pastures, gullies and ridges, keep a look out for wallabies, wild deer and native birdlife.
Cowboy Up offers a 1-hour or a 2-hour trail ride, suitable for beginners or advanced riders, and your guides and hosts, Peter and Gillian, would love to share the stories of their horses with you – just ask! You might even find you are sitting on a horse ridden by Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman!
Cost: $80 for one hour (available school holidays only) or $120 for 2 hours
Opening Hours: Rides available at 9am or 2pm
Address: 160 Rocky Gully Road, Emu Creek
Website/Facebook page: Cowboy Up
Day 3: Toowoomba to Hoofprints of Change and Chinchira Wagyu – 2.25-hour drive
If just one horsey encounter isn’t enough, your next day trip will take you on a farm tour at Hoofprints of Change. Here, the stock horses will be your teachers, helping you reconnect away from the busyness of life in a totally different equine experience.
Heading north-west from Toowoomba on the Warrego Highway, you will travel through a pastoral landscape with the opportunity to break up your journey at the townships of Oakey, Dalby or Chinchilla.
Arriving at your destination, your family will experience an exclusive personal farm tour of “Cumalong”, home to Hoofprints of Change and Chinchira Wagyu. Your hosts, Vicki and Shane, love sharing what they do, and you will too!
Hoofprints of Change is an Equine Assisted Learning program that promotes mindfulness and self-awareness in a uniquely engaging way. Offering 1.5 hours of interactive fun, the programs are ideal for families as you communicate with the horses using teamwork and body language to complete intriguing tasks and missions. This is certainly a memorable experience!
On the farm tour you will learn about Red (Akaushi) Wagyu and crossbred Wagyu cattle and how it is Vicki and Shane’s mission to raise the healthiest and tastiest beef using sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. Their philosophy is the happier and healthier their livestock is, the healthier and tastier it is for your family to enjoy!
Every day is different on “Cumalong”. Depending on the time of year and the season, your family could see a newborn calf take its first step or hand feed cows while calves frolic and play. Whenever you choose to visit, you will go home feeling refreshed, and maybe with a basket of fresh farm produce!
Cost: From $80 per person dependent on experience package chosen
Opening Hours: Varies; bookings required
Address: 765 Braithwaites Road, Burncluith
Website/Facebook page: Hoofprints of Change
The best day trips from Toowoomba
These three fabulous day trips from Toowoomba are just some of the things to do in Toowoomba. They will have you exploring the region to give your family a complete rural agricultural experience. You will get the chances to try cattle rearing, trail riding, learn the history, see demonstrations and displays, learn about regenerative and holistic farming, try fresh produce and get lots of fresh air and open space! It’s the perfect itinerary to fill a long weekend or school holiday staycation.
As some tours and visits are exclusive, we recommend you visit the websites above to book your visit. Our regional farmers and growers look forward to welcoming you, and you will be supporting and learning from Queensland’s best producers. What better way to connect with your family and nature, and make memories that will last a lifetime!
For more ideas for your next farm adventure, visit qld.gov.au/tastefarmlife