The lookout and park at Picnic Point, Toowoomba, is a popular spot for leisurely coffees, family picnics and can be a great day out. It’s located high on a peak in the Great Dividing Range offering panoramic views out onto the Lockyer Valley plains below. It’s also the starting point for a range of walks down the escarpment and through the bush below.
The shorter tracks are named for the local birds in the area, both the fantail and pardalote trails provided excellent examples of their namesakes on our walks and the best close view of the black-headed striated pardalote that we’ve seen. I even managed to get a few photos with my standard walkabout lens. Considering they are at the entrance to their nesting burrows they are incredibly relaxed.
There’s plenty of space, a childrens playground and picnic facilities. In the restaurant you can order a coffee, snack or meal and eat inside or out on the patio with spectacular views out over the valley. There are also clean restroom facilities and plenty of green space for games or to spread out the picnic blanket.
As you drive up over the hill from the Lockyer Valley into Toowoomba you will see a large Australian flag flying up on the hill to your left, that is Picnic Park. To get up there you’ll need to work your way through a few local streets which become wide and tree-lined avenues as you approach the summit.
You can see the flag flying most of the way as you come up the hill, so it is very easy to find your way if you just drive towards it. Alternatively, you can use Google maps or other vehicle-based navigation systems to get you pointed in the right direction, it’s not far.
At the top is car parking, parkland, gardens, the start of several walking trails, the restaurant, toilets and many spots that give fabulous views out over the surrounding area, Lockyer Valley and beyond.
Near the top is a man-made waterfall, there’s a love locks fence above and if you walk down either through the park or the walking track the falls provides an attractive backdrop for family photos and the kids will love climbing across the stepping stones with very little chance of getting really wet.
The whole area is beautifully planted and looks even more special if you get up here around the Toowoomba Flower Festival when a lot of work goes into ensuring every flower bed around town is looking its best.
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Picnic Point Walking tracks
As we’ve mentioned above, there are 5 walking tracks within the Picnic Point park to take a look at if you have some time to spend up here. You can download the official map of the walking trails here.
This is the shortest of the tracks at 1.8 km return, it’s partially paved and includes some stairs. It drops down from the memorial park area at the top through the open forest at the south-east edge of the park. You return along the same path so all the downhill on the way out is uphill on the way back.
The track is named for the cheeky showy fantails that may flit across your path. Throughout south east Queensland including Toowoomba you’ll see both the grey and rufous fantails, the grey being more common in winter and the rufous in summer.
The Pardalote track is 3.7 km returning again along the same path or you could walk back through the park and along the road. You are also close to the start of the Fantail walk if you wanted to combine the two.
Start the track at Lions Park up by the cafe, you’ll pass Bill Goulds Lookout and the man-made waterfall then continue along the edge of the hillside and open eucalypt forest. The track is named for the Striated Pardalote a small colourful bird found in the area, it nests in burrows in river banks or hillsides and you can see these holes along the first part of the walk between the lookout and waterfall. During spring you’ll see the birds coming frequently in and out of them with nesting material.
From the Pardalote track there are some incredible views out over the Lockyer Valley and Table Top Mountain. and can also be accessed from Picnic Point Park or Tobruk Drive Park. This walk finishes at the end of South Street, 450m from the intersection with Fantail Walk.
You’ll start to see a bit of a theme with the Picnic Park walks, being at the top of the escarpment there is a lot of downhill and back uphill again. Again you’ll start up near the lookout or cafe but this time head to the right (as you look out across the view).
The Firetail track is 4.2 km return and the views from this one are north and east across the valley including the distinctive Table Top Mountain. Watch out for a good variety of birds and wildlife on this one too.
Picnic Point Circuit
At 6.4 km this one isn’t actually a separate track but instead links up the other 4 into one longer circuit track, due to the terrain that is going to mean some significant hill work and steep patches but comes with some excellent views to enjoy.
Picnic Point Bridle trail
The Picnic Point Bridle trail is 3 km return track from Tabletop drive to Stevenson Street. It’s open to walkers but is perhaps better suited to mountain bike and horse riders who share this one. Both roads are very narrow but have a small offroad parking space at the trail head.
If you are looking for more things to do in Toowoomba while you’re in town or passing through there are some great cafes in the central city and while you are there take a walk around to check out the street art in the laneways.
Toowoomba is known as the garden city and you really can’t go past the parks and gardens, some of the best known are Queens Park which is connected to the botanic gardens, Laurel Bank Park and the spectacular Ju Raku En Japanese gardens.
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Originally published 5 July 2014