History Hipsters

Toowoomba is Queensland’s largest inland city and it’s brimming with history and country charm. But if you scratch the surface, you’ll discover an undercurrent of youthful energy, art and culture.

Heritage buildings are adorned with modern street art and old laneways have been brought to life with splashes of colour and a vibrant dining scene. It’s proof that, in Toowoomba, history and hipsters live in harmony.

You can step back to a bygone era at Toowoomba’s only heritage-listed accommodation – Vacy Hall.

The gracious guest-house is 120 years young – and owner Graham Higgins has poured time and passion into ensuring every detail is preserved in this boutique hotel.

Guests and visitors can admire the grand hallway, octagonal-shaped ceiling, beautiful plasterwork; exquisite art and authentic period furnishings.

Vacy Hall combines heritage charm with modern day comforts. There are 12 beautifully decorated rooms in the main house and a self-contained cottage that sleeps up to 5 people.

A stay at Vacy Hall is the best of old and new – allowing guests to experience old-fashioned charm and hospitality just a stone’s throw from the vibrant modern culture of Toowoomba.

Step away from Toowoomba’s main streets, behind the facades of its historic buildings and into its laneways and carparks, and you’ll discover one of the largest street art galleries in Australia.

More than 100 outdoor artworks adorn buildings and walls around the city. Around 80 are thanks to the annual First Coat Street Art Festival, which celebrated its fourth year in 2017.

Murals can be found across the Garden City – from prominent sites in the heart of town to hidden locations. You can design your own adventure and tour the street art trail by downloading the app, or grab a self-guided map from the Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre.

Toowoomba’s colourful laneways also offer the chance to discover hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, hidden bars and cool new restaurants.

Shayne Mansfield was the former head chef at acclaimed Sunshine Coast restaurant, The Long Apron. Now in Toowoomba, Shayne heads up a couple of new ventures – including recently renovated hotspot, The Office. The menu boasts delicious, reasonably priced dishes to share. Top picks include the whole fish, which costs just $30, and the signature whole slow-cooked chicken for a paltry (not poultry!) $22.

The same culinary genius is behind a couple of eateries in The Walton Stores – popular restaurant Milk & Honey… and the soon-to-be-opened Pyro.

Tucked down a laneway behind The Office is a charming speakeasy bar called The Chelsea. Its cosy setting is tribute to a bygone era. The Chelsea is the place to stop for a nightcap…and here’s a tip – make sure you order the parfait!

Southern QLD Country
www.southernqueenslandcountry.com.au

Vacy Hall Boutique Hotel
135 Russell Street, Toowoomba
4639 2055
www.vacyhall.com.au

The Office / The Chelsea
14 Duggan Street, Toowoomba
4600 8593
www.theofficebar.com.au

First Coat Street Festival
firstcoat.com.au
www.facebook.com/first.coat.festival