Picnic Point is one of the most popular recreation sites in Toowoomba, for both the city's residents and the thousands of visitors who come each year to savour the beauty of the Garden City.Situated on a scenic peak of the Great Dividing Range, Picnic Point presents the perfect combination of excellent facilities and stunning views.
It offers diverse panoramas that encompass the Lockyer Valley to the east and the City of Toowoomba and fertile farming lands to the west. At the entrance to the park, landscaped open areas are a drawcard for families and those who enjoy the chance to simply relax in beautiful surroundings.
For the more energetic, a number of walks lead down the escarpment through natural bushland, providing visitors the opportunity to gain an insight into the unique environment of this part of the Great Dividing Range. Parklands around Picnic Point offer a wide variety of recreation experiences. On the western slope of the park, leading up to the escarpment edge, landscaped gardens and expanses of lawns are dotted with playgrounds and barbecue facilities.
Easy access throughout this area makes visiting Picnic Point a comfortable and enjoyable experience for those with disabilities. A focal point is Picnic Point Toowoomba, the catering centre which includes a take-away, casual café area with an outdoor deck overlooking the valley, an a-la-carte restaurant and function rooms.
From the top of the range and down through bushland to the east are a number of graded walks and a bridle trail. Ranging from an easy 500 metres to over 5 kilometres, the trails take the visitor into a world of busy birdlife and distinctive native flora. Signs describing the walks are located at numerous sites throughout the park.
Picnic Point is one of Toowoomba's oldest recreation areas. Its origins can be traced to 1902 when Toowoomba City Council purchased six acres (2.42ha) of land for 120 pounds ($240). From those early days, citizens of the developing city took pleasure in visiting Picnic Point for the area's natural beauty.
Over the years additional land was acquired, with the park now totalling 65 hectares. The stylish restaurant and café complex which overlooks the valley below is the fourth and largest such facility to be built on the same site, and is a testament to the park's popularity over the decades.
From the lookout on the eastern edge of the park the Warrego Highway is visible as it winds its way down the range. It follows sections of the route used by early settlers of the Darling Downs to transport wool and other produce to the coast. Before the construction of the rail link to Brisbane in 1897, a steady stream of sulkies, coaches, horsemen, pedestrians, stock and bullock drays travelled along what was a steep and dangerous road.
The name of the early route, Old Toll Bar Road, reflects that the government charged a sliding scale of fees for those using the route.
Colourful garden beds, maintained by Toowoomba City Council’s Parks and Recreation staff, make a charming backdrop to the open areas in the formal section of the park and are a great attraction for garden lovers. In the centre of one sweep of lawn is the statue of ‘Puppy’, a popular mascot of the Toowoomba Thistle Pipe Band. For many years this feisty little dog took his place with the band at the head of parades to the acclaim of spectators, and now his bronze image intrigues visitors to the park.
Nearby, a circular installation sets out distances to important centres and features in the region, while another signpost notes the direction of some of the world’s capital cities. The view from the lookout at the top of the park takes in the valley, with Tabletop Mountain prominently in the foreground.
Resembling a table due to its flat top and steep sides, Tabletop is thought to have been an important ceremonial site for aboriginal people, and a perfectly straight aboriginal-built pathway edged with stones can still be seen on the flat, treeless summit.
With white settlers encroaching on their traditional lands, aboriginal leader Multuggerah, one of the last warriors of the Jaggera Tribe, and his people were forced to resort to robbery and sheep stealing, retreating to Tabletop to hide. Multuggerah was killed on the mountain during one of the battles with white settlers.
Picnic Point Park is well signposted, and an on-going development program for signage is in place to update information on walking tracks, special features and details of flora and fauna common to the park.
For lovers of the outdoors, Picnic Point Park is a source of constant enjoyment. There have been 145 bird species recorded within the park’s natural bushlands and a glimpse of some of these is rewarding for those who stroll quietly along the walking tracks.
Some of the most commonly seen birds include the Pale-headed Rosella, Red-browed Firetail, Striated Pardalote, Eastern Whipbird and Lewins Honeyeater.
Maps and photos of the park can be found in the Parks by location area of this website.