Sunday, 22 September 2013
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Australia's country towns are truly wonderful places, and I have a great affection for them. I often feel a sense of not quite stepping back in time, but perhaps just finding that a good old fashioned way of life is still alive and kicking; the kind you imagine from children's books with endless summers and lashings and lashings of ginger beer. Such a delight we found in Toowoomba, QLD, earlier today at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. Although delayed by the never-ending road works between Brisbane and Toowoomba (since the devastating floods in 2011), we arrived just before lunch to sample some gourmet delights at the food and wine part of the festival. As Toowoomba is surrounded by rich agricultural lands on all sides and is not far from Queensland's only wine region of note (the Granite belt), we were not disappointed.
After eating some delicious salads from 'Claude's', washed down with some local craft beer by Ian Watson of The Spotted Cow, followed by probably the best doughnut in the world, a cinnamon sugar Byron Bay Organic Doughnut (we actually had to share it, it was that huge!), we were ready to burn off a few calories by looking at flowers.
We started by looking at the flower arrangements: spectacular seven-foot high masterpieces and a room-size 'installation', truly works of art...
Then it was time to explore the gardens, so we headed over to the Botanic garden where there was an astounding display of blooms planted specially for the Carnival. We spent a while just marvelling and taking photos (pretty much what everyone was doing) - for us it equalled Canberra's Floriade, and I fell in love with the dancing Poppies.
As if that wasn't enough, we then went to watch the main event of the day, the Grand Central Floral Parade through the city (though we actually just watched it at the end point - Godsall Street Oval). It was nice to watch the floats arrive at the oval and we ducked under the barriers to take a closer look once the floats were parked up. What a tremendous community spirit.
The festival has only just begun and is on until the 29th September, although the Flower, Food and Wine arena and fairground is only there this weekend. There are so many other things to see besides in several parks across the town, so I'm sure it will be more than worth it - visit Toowoomba!