Toowoomba {a mini holiday}

What a fun week this one was! David let me know a couple months ago that he was required to attend a Rural Generalist Conference at the beginning of July, and wondered if his girls would enjoy coming along as well. With accomodation and meals provided for and the anticipation of exploring a new town and enjoying some restful time as a family, we were all for it! It came at a perfect time: David had just finished his medicine rotation at Nambour, and the long hours meant very little time to see each other and stay tuned to the other’s life. The baby was no longer a newborn, and I felt like I was coming out of that postnatal fog: well-adjusted to our new routine and more confident with the idea of venturing out further than home, the park and the grocery store with two little ones in tow. We’d also had a busy weekend helping out with and attending the wedding of some dear friends of ours, so couldn’t wait to be in our own little bubble for a while.

Toowoomba, as a tourist destination, has never been on my radar. It’s 31/2 hours away, quite far from the coast, and I’d always assumed it would be bogan, dry, and void of aesthetically pleasing landscape. I was wrong! We loved our drive through the flat, very-Australian farmland on our way there and the windmills and barns scattered along the horizon. We were surprised when the area began to turn rather hilly, and we wound around a mountain to get to our destination on top. Suddenly, we were there, in what felt like a little transplant from Europe: a place with wide streets, deciduous trees, iron lamp-posts, and ancient buildings.

IMG_7331

IMG_7320

IMG_7310

IMG_7377

IMG_7317  IMG_7332

This town clock was just across the road from our hotel, and I loved hearing every hour chime by!

IMG_7321  img_7265.jpg

First stop on our afternoon walk after checking in, since all good trips should start with fresh flowers for the hotel room!

IMG_7280.JPG

IMG_7305.JPG

One of the highlights for me was just enjoying the quiet of our little apartment, sitting on the floor with our stacks of books + wooden puzzles.

  {Day Two} Our farm tour was cancelled due to sickness, so we spent the day walking all over town, and relaxing in the beautiful Queen Park’s playground and botanical gardens. The gardens boasted nothing flamboyant at this stage, as all the flowers were only in seedling stage, but The Carnival of Flowers is happening there in September, and rumour has it that it’s well worth it to return then, when everything is in its Springtime glory.

IMG_7335  IMG_7346

IMG_7349  IMG_7340

Foraging a collection for daddy.

IMG_7362

Cottage-lined street next to the gardens. Toowoomba’s so full of whimsy!

{Day Three} Since David was to be at meetings every day we were there, I scouted around online beforehand, looking for fun ideas to fill our days. I came across Paddock to Potager, and as soon as I read about baby chicks, piglets and bottle-fed lambs, I knew it’d make Kezia’s day. It was only about 20 minutes away, and the farm tour was supposed to last for a couple hours, so it was the perfect day trip for us.

IMG_7462.JPG

I was smitten as soon as we turned onto a bumpy, red-dirt road, braked to let a family of ducks cross in front of us, and passed these handwritten signs.

IMG_7387.JPG

My country with it’s comfortable, familiar landscape: the land that I love.

IMG_7455

The farm is owned by a young family, and the lady on site did an incredible job of showing us around, making everyone comfortable, and interacting with the young children. I loved the rustic originality of the property filled with their own creative touches, including my favourite, the old barn in the middle of the property that they’ve filled with tables, chairs, games and afternoon tea supplies.

IMG_7392

IMG_7441

IMG_7386  IMG_7383

IMG_7404

For practical reasons, we’ve never been able to live in the country since marrying and having children, so I love finding ways to bring little aspects of the natural world into our little urban life. One of my favourite things in this day was just watching my little girl in her element, confident and void of any fear whatsoever: chasing geese and unabashedly sidling up to saddleback pigs five times her size and patting them on the udders. I love how she throws herself fully into everything she does!

IMG_7399

IMG_7409IMG_7405

These little piglets were only two days old and were ridiculously adorable!

IMG_7436Our day was nicely polished off with a picnic lunch, with people scattered across the barn and in little circles on the grass. It was the most beautiful day to be outdoors and I was reminded all over again why I love Queensland and the majestically mild winters she prides herself in.

IMG_7413IMG_7417

And, of course, no day at a farm is complete without a little electric fence drama! One of my earliest memories as a child is playing with my friends in the church yard, which neighboured a cow paddock. I think we were trying to pick some flowers through the fence and I grabbed hold of the wire to stabilise myself. I still vividly remember that horrid, dizzying feeling that rocked my whole body, and the way my friends rushed my bawling self to my parents, where I told my story with huge eyes and descriptive motions.

Most of the fencing at the farm we were at was quite harmless, except for one little live wire that ran along close to the ground to keep the little piglets from escaping. It all happened so quickly: Kezia squatted down on the ground to get a closer look at the animals, and just as her mama did those many years ago, she grabbed the wire when she lost her balance for a bit. There was an immediate squeal and a wild flapping of the arms as she ran to me with tears, frantically asking me to kiss it better. It was only a very mild shock and she quickly got over it without being too traumatised, but the funny thing is that I had the hardest time convincing her of what had happened. There was a row of children tightly pressed around her when it happened, and she kept repeating through her tears, “Mama! That little boy slapped my hand!” Eventually she understood, once I squatted down next to her and explained how it had all happened and how the fence helped to keep the piglets inside. To this day, a couple weeks later, she warily eyes anything remotely resembling that offending wire and says seriously, “Remember? Dat fence zipped me!”

{Day Four} David attended the last of his lectures the previous evening, which meant we were able to spend all morning together as a family. We made use of the continental breakfast and warm, bubbling spa before checking out of our place at 10:00. We weren’t quite finished exploring the area yet, so went down the road to the amazing attic at the Lifeline Bookshop, and lost ourselves there for well over an hour. We emerged with a large stack of cheap, quality childrens’ books, and any parent who is used to reading the same books over and over again will fully understand why this was just as momentous and exciting for us as it was for Kezia!

IMG_7326  IMG_7324

IMG_7486

We explored the beautiful Japanese gardens next to the University, and decided with renewed fervour that a return visit is certainly imperative once Spring makes an appearance.

IMG_7488

We concluded our trip with lunch at a salad bar, and then packed our tired little girls into the car for the 4-hour trip to our evening church service and then home. We are rather happy that we have two children that are generally happy in their carseats, as long as the car is in motion. They slept nearly the entire way! That meant we got to enjoy a long, in-car date and alternated between enjoying the peaceful quiet, listening to a new audiobook, chatting about many things, exclaiming over the incredible scenery we drove through at Golden Hour’s peak, and contentedly thanking God for that perfect little spell of rest.

++++++++++++++++++++

Leave a Comment