Continuing my Queensland tour, I left the Gold Coast and headed to Toowoomba. I did eventually stay a couple days in Brissy but because there is so much more to see around in the 2 hour radius than Brisbane I would suggest flying in, having a day and night and then jetting out on a bus or car to the surrounding regions.
First stop: Toowoomba
This little Garden city has little claim to fame. They have a bit of industry and with their close proximity to Brisbane (2 hours) they do get people who occasionally head into the city for work. My aim in Toowoomba was specific: to find sunflower fields. Australia’s instagram is full of things that will make your traveling heart pound but I have been obsessed with finding these fields and fields of sunflowers for two years now and luckily it was sunflower season.
Olivia and I planned to head there for a quick overnight as there really didn’t seem like much else to explore in this town. Before hand you have to call the visitors centre to see if these flowers are even 1. in bloom and 2. still in the fields. We were told they were there on Saturday and today being Thursday we had a chance. Fingers crossed as we made the 3 hour drive from the Gold Coast.
We swung in the visitor’s centre for the bathroom and more specific directions when we arrived. The most adorable woman greeted us and literally pulled out a map to draw the directions on. She explained that there were 2 farms in bloom currently, although one farmer’s crop was completely eaten by mice. Another quick reminder why being a farmer sounds freaking hard.
With the map in hand we drove over to Cambooya just 15 minutes outside of town. We saw the first field, not totally ravaged as I would have assumed but again since I never had to do actual farm work in Australia I have literally no idea what constitutes as a good yield of anything. We continued down the road looking for the second field and almost lost hope until we saw the yellow hue from the road. Now you cannot actually go and touch the flowers because they are their livelihood and not for fake instagram celebs like myself but we got a close as we could get.
It is truly gorgeous, the lovely rows and rows of sunflowers blowing in the wind all looking like they are smiling at you. We entertained ourself for longer than we should have taking photos and looking at some of the bigger ones, probably maxed out at 1-2 ft tall. Not as big as instagram makes it look but ig v reality is real so I wasn’t that surprised.
After that we headed back into town to find some drinks and enjoy the evening. Some of the top things to do in Toowoomba include history tours, street art tours, and exploring funky bars, so basically this is a little baby Bushwick, Brooklyn, my old hipster town in New York. When I say there was street art, I mean there was street art. Around every corner a 20ft incredible artwork was waiting for you. We started walking through every side street just to see what we would find. Between art works we posted up in an adorable bar with a puppy beer garden called Wunder Bar and checked out records with some older Aussies in a burger joint. Dinner was an asian fusion place and then we ended the night at a french speakeasy. Toowoomba, you surprise and delight me at every turn.
Next Stop: Noosa
After a quick stop in Brisbane for some beers with Chenyee I took the greyhound bus 2 hours over to Noosa. Not having a car in Australia is as annoying as you would think. Especially when you are traveling with all your life with you. But I am trying to stretch this dollar and thus take the bus. In Noosa I had one night planned and a trip departing the following day to Fraser Island.
Adorably when I arrived there I had multiple people ask me if they could help me with my bags. It reminds me I am a bit jaded with my city life experience of don’t talk to others – sunglasses always on. Noosa is an incredibly gorgeous area of land including a couple national parks on the cliff sides. I planned to enjoy the serene environment for a couple days.
I ended up negotiating with the hostel to get myself a private room and have them hold most of my luggage while I explored Fraser for 2 days. You have to get creative when you don’t want to carry everything everywhere.
I’ll put a pin in Fraser and explain Noosa a bit. It sits at the mouth of a river and along the ocean. It is basically a Hamptons in Queensland, everyone here is rich AF. There’s no grocery stores, no low cost bars, no Byron-esk places to be a hippie and busk with street music. This place is fancy. So as a cheap traveler I barely got to experience the “vibe” and really just spent time enjoying the nature.
The Noosa National Park sits right at the end of the town next to the beach. The coastal walk takes you all the way up to Sunshine Beach and from there you can walk up the beach to some shops for a snack. In total I ended up walking over 16ks and it took about 3 hours. Exhausting but seeing the dolphins and the strongest surfs I’ve ever seen makes it worth it.
There’s another path called the Tanglewood Path, now this path goes through the bush. It is not a solid path like the coastal walk and is full of roots and earth. As there are no sea views until the end it is definitely less trafficked. This hike is about 8ks and takes about 2 hours. Head in there and give your mind time to explore and meditate.
Eventually I stuffed all of my things into my luggage and took the greyhound back to Brisbane to explore The Gabba with Kat and Liz for the night. The next destination was Melbourne where I have been trying to visit since December. Crossing state lines requires a permit so the state can track where people are coming from. Smart considering there’s a pandemic. After spending a month in Queensland sweating my face off I am excited to embrace the cool winds in Victoria.
Goodbye to the Sunshine state for now!