Where to stay in Toowoomba

So you’re coming to ASCILITE 2017! Have you found somewhere to stay?

Toowoomba and its surroundings won't disappoint with plenty of accommodation options – motels, apartments, bed and breakfasts and caravan parks.

For starters, the conference committee has secured discounted accommodation rates at Toowoomba Central Plaza Apartments, The City Golf Club Motel and the Potter’s Motel. See the accommodation page for pricing and room facilities. Catch the complimentary bus service from these accommodation options for hassle free travel to the conference venue daily.

Accommodation with old world charm

For many, a visit to Toowoomba is not complete without a stay in one of the impressive, grand old homes.

Top of the traveller’s list in 2016 (TripAdvisor) was Wanulla, a superb bed and breakfast in the heritage Caledonian Estate. Wanulla provides guests with an extra level of comfort in an elegant setting. Guests can enjoy snuggling up in large ensuited bedrooms, as well as relaxing in the extensive lounge and dining room furnished with classic antique pieces. Wanulla is only a few minutes walk from Toowoomba’s CBD, Queen’s Park with its magnificent gardens, and numerous nearby cafes.

Vacy Hall by Andrew Napier available under a CC-BY-2.0 license

Another all-time favourite is Vacy Hall, the only heritage-listed accommodation in Toowoomba’s quiet inner city. This 12 roomed, classically decorated guesthouse boasts large luxury rooms as well as more modest quarters. Vacy Hall is set on over an acre of landscaped gardens with large 140 year old trees. If a country style breakfast is on your to-do list, you can have it served to your room or on the colonial verandah.  TripAdvisor describes Vacy Hall as “Tranquility, peace with history”.

Banksia Cottage may fit your needs perfectly if bringing your family or coming to the conference as a group. Rented as an entire cottage, you will have privacy and freedom. This accommodation is even pet friendly. Built in 1898, Banksia Cottage combines historic charm with modern day comforts and is located in tree-lined Norwood Street on the doorstep of the City.

If you are interested in immersing yourself in history then perhaps check out Augusta’s Cottage located in historic Mort Estate. This conveniently located cottage with its high ceilings and double brick walls nestled in beautiful gardens, is perfect for couples, families or small groups.

Having a car will allow you to stay a little further afield to experience a truly unique Australian experience. Rudd’s historic pub at Nobby, winner of Queensland and Australian Hotel’s Association Best Pub Style Accommodation Awards can provide just that. For something totally different, choose a queen room with a shower under a rain water tank or maybe the family room with an old fashioned claw foot bath to relax in. A complimentary traditional Australian country breakfast completes the package.


Renting a whole apartment instead of hotel room, may sound extravagant but I think you will be pleasantly surprised how cost effective furnished apartments can be in Toowoomba. Coupled with the extra space, is the added bonus of being able to cook and eat just like at home, if desired. Just a few of your options are…

Laguna: stylish, comfortable, two bedroom contemporary apartments located close to Toowoomba’s CBD, and within walking distance to many of the city’s glorious gardens, restaurants and the Empire Theatre. Laguna is a perfect choice for business and leisure trips. Apartments include fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. Come home from a day at the conference and relax on the balcony taking in the views of the city.

Athena provides the choice of premium two or three bedroom apartments, or the popular studio suite. All apartments are equipped with self-contained kitchens in an open plan living design. But, there is so much more to Athena – a 24 hour gym, restaurant, pool, bar and games as well as access to the shuttle from the Toowoomba Wellcamp airport. Whether your trip is purely to attend ASCILITE or combine a family holiday in Toowoomba, Athena will provide a luxurious stay. Athena is a “sensational stay” (TripAdvisor).

21 On Hursley: luxury, spacious quiet one or two bedroom ensuited apartment accommodation just 10 minutes by car from the University. Enjoy a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, microwave and full size fridge as well as modern furnishings, spa baths, lock up garage and Foxtel. These apartments won’t disappoint – quality abounds from the towels to the kitchen equipment. HotelsCombined awarded 21 On Hursley, the 2017 Recognition of Excellence award while guests rate the apartments 9.9.


When it comes to motels, Toowoomba caters for all budgets and tastes with a plethora of clean, comfortable and quiet motels within easy commute of the conference venue and all that is on offer in the city.

Comfort Inn Glenfield ticks the boxes if you looking for a comfortable, economical stay located close to the University, shopping centre and eateries.

Applegum Inn, situated in a beautiful east Toowoomba tree lined street close to Queen’s Park and the Empire theatre is another economical option offering easy access with all units on the ground floor and undercover parking. Choose to have breakfast and dinner delivered to your room or sample the food on offer at the onsite restaurant. Guest laundry facilities complete the package.

Best Western Plus Ambassador on Ruthven Motor Inn is hard to beat as a quality, newly renovated eco-friendly motel. Winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016, this 4 star motel provides clean, comfortable rooms for couples, singles, families and groups, as well as spa suites. For stress free dining try Seasons, the licensed onsite restaurant and wine bar.

Platinum International is an exclusive, stylish 4 star accommodation located in a perfect location for conference delegates. Consecutive winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence awards and renown for immaculate presentation with up to date furnishings and coverings, quiet rooms, kitchenettes, friendly, professional staff and a quality buffet breakfast. For a fine dining experience, onsite Images Restaurant and Lounge Bar should be on your ‘must try’ list while in town.

Caravan park

The BIG4 Toowoomba Garden City Holiday Park is a perfect base for the ASCILITE conference being easy walking distance from a great little shopping centre, and just over 2 kilometres from USQ. The park has a wide selection of fully self-contained modern cabin accommodation to suit all budgets and needs, as well as catering for wide range of caravans, motorhomes and campervans.


Toowoomba has many Airbnb properties, from private rooms to guest houses to entire properties. Check out the local Superhosts or see the whole range of properties on offer in Toowoomba.

Other options

For other accommodation options, check out these websites:

My top 5 things to do while you're in Toowoomba

Think Toowoomba's not the most exciting place to visit for a conference? Think again! Over the next few months, we're going to share with you some of the things we love about Toowoomba, to help you with planning your trip.

My early memories of Toowoomba are of a loveable, sleepy country town. But, the “Garden City” has long outgrown this image, boasting a revamped and relaxed CBD, craft beer houses, music, art, modern dining and the hub of a region that has so much to explore and enjoy.  If you have 1 or 2 days after the conference, consider exploring the National Parks, historic farms and eateries in the Darling Downs… It’s so difficult to choose but my 5 top things to do while you are in the Toowoomba region are:

1. Eateries and Bars

Melbourne-esq style eateries

Toowoomba city has followed in the footsteps of Melbourne and is embracing the trend of laneway eateries. Locals start their work day in the city with a caffeine hit, or two, from Ground Up Espresso Bar. This little laneway café is all about perfectly brewed coffee, amazing baked treats, a trendy outdoor setting and friendly staff. It’s also a perfect starting place for a lazy weekend spent wandering through the streets of the city discovering the magical wall murals hidden throughout the streets (mentioned in Carmel’s post). When your legs need a rest, and you need a treat, stop in at Hello Harry for a gourmet burger (and some chips, and a shake!) and wash it down with an ice-cream made using liquid nitrogen at Nitrogenie. The ice-cream menu changes weekly so you never know what to expect – except that the ice-cream is always perfectly smooth and creamy.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat that is a little bit healthier, I like to frequent Full of Life Organics for a fresh juice and a salad packed full of the latest super foods. This café is a quiet place to relax with a shaded outdoor seating area, perfectly located in the CBD for a spot of ‘people watching’.

A short distance from the CBD, but still in easy walking distance is Railway Street - aptly named as it runs beside the railway line. It offers numerous café choices – Ortem, Engine Room café, Homegrown Health and Inbound Brasserie. I tend to gravitate towards Ortem for its delicious fresh foods. Its menu is an ever-changing choice of edgy takes on classic dishes. This place is seriously cool, and loved by Toowoomba locals.

International cuisine

Personally, when travelling I like to try something a little braver. Kajoku Korean & Japanese Cuisine hits the spot every time with its diverse menu. If you have never been to a Korean restaurant this is a great place to expand your culinary horizons. The wait staff are very polite and helpful and will happily show you how to barbecue the meat on your table. If cooking your own meat isn’t your thing (you have to do that enough at home!), I recommend trying the yakisoba or the hot stone mixed rice. Of course, if you decide to enjoy some sake, then you might want to try out their karaoke room after your meal.

Another favourite haunt of mine is Sofra. This is Turkish cuisine at its best and offers a very charming experience with an intimate atmosphere. Sofra is as much about the lively entertainment and over-the-top decoration as it is about the diverse menu and wine list.

Good ol’ country pubs

Toowoomba’s great food doesn’t stop in the city. The country areas around the city are filled with pubs offering deliciously filling, old-school meals. Take a drive past Highfields checking out the rural scenery and stop at Meringandan Hotel for lunch and a cool beer. This pub has a 41/2 star rating on Trip Advisor and deserves each of these stars for the huge homemade meals and friendly staff. Or there’s the Farmer’s Arms at Cabarlah - famed as the longest continually-licensed pub in Queensland (since 1863 the sign out front proclaims!).

Another pub offering a great meal, with a side of fascinating history is Rudd’s Pub, which was built in 1893 and originally known as the Davenporter Hotel. The name change recognises Steel Rudd– famous for the “Dad & Dave” stories.  The pub lets you “eat in a museum” – photographs and memorabilia covering the walls and ceilings telling stories of days gone by. The hardest task is deciding what to eat. With over 50 mouth-watering items on Mabel’s Kitchen menu it’s hard to pick: Dads Mighty Mixed Grill; Dave's Terrific T-Bone; Reef and Beef... and the list goes on.


A chilled night out in Toowoomba starts at Muller Bros rooftop bar in the Toowoomba CBD. This bar is the epitome of trendy with cocktails, nibble platters and live music all part of its appeal. I mean what could be better than buffalo wings, dips and cheeses with unlimited cocktails/wines/beers?! Muller Bros also offers a Brazilian BBQ restaurant (all you can eat).

2. Boyce Gardens

Toowoomba has many fantastic picnic spots. One of my family’s favourites are the Boyce Gardens – a heritage listed garden established between the 1930-1950s. We often visit the many areas of the gardens– the rainforest, the pine forest, marvelling at the roses, native orchids, proteas, ericas… before spreading the picnic rug under the 150 year old strangler fig.

3. Heritage Homes

No visit to Toowoomba is complete without seeing some of the stately homes that grace the city. These are some of my favourites but why not visit them all and decide for yourself?

My all-time favourite is Ascot House – one of the largest and most elaborate of all the grand Toowoomba residences. Built around the 1870s, Ascot was a single story timber residence set on 32 acres. The grounds now cover just 2 acres but the house also has a tearoom and museum.

The Grange has over 120 years of timeless elegance, so no wonder this home is a favourite for many. The traditional early colonial design includes wide verandahs, pressed metal ceilings, VJ walls, cedar doors and fireplaces.

Bishop's House was designed by the architect Henry Marks. Henry was well known for his inventions– see his pot-bellied ventilation flues and chimney shafts, windows and a walling system in this 1911 residence.

If you love old buildings then the Toowoomba Railway Station is not to be missed. Built in 1874, it was the centre of trade in Toowoomba for many years, welcoming many governors and royalty. Now the station is home to the Inbound Brasserie.

There are so many other majestic buildings to see while you are in town: the Empire Theatre, City Hall, Vacy Hall, St Luke’s Church… the list keeps going!

Toowoomba Railway Station, Qld - 1908 courtesy Aussie~mobs

4. The Bunya Mountains National Park

Need time to unwind away from the distraction of mobile devices? Then consider a picturesque 90 minute drive to the Bunya Mountains. The breathtaking views, native wildlife, and brilliantly coloured parrots make the Bunya Mountains an ideal destination for locals and tourists alike. Be dwarfed by towering bunya pines, stretching 25 metres high and listen to trickling waterfalls. I like nothing better than hiking one of the many walking tracks before relaxing at the Poppies Café with pancakes and bunya nut ice cream. Make sure you have time on your leisurely drive home to visit the historic Jondaryan Woolshed.

Interior of wool shed, Jondaryan, 2 November 1894 courtesy Queensland State Archives

5. Jondaryan Woolshed

The Woolshed lets you step back in time to the pioneering days of the 1850s. Take a self-guided tour through the historic woolshed and the original buildings in the museum grounds, watch the Machinery demonstrations and even pat the Clydesdale horses. The 90 metre shearing shed built in 1859 used 5000 sheets of the newly developed corrugated, galvanised iron and was boasted as ‘the finest in the colony’. A visit to the Woolshed is never complete though, without enjoying traditional damper and treacle, or perhaps the Ploughman’s Lunch. Why not immerse yourself in the rural experience by staying the night in one of the cabins – Wyona Cottage, Wainui Cottage or even a room in the Authentic Shearer’s Quarters?

As you can see you will need to stay a while to enjoy all Toowoomba and the Darling Downs has to offer…

Make a compelling case to your organisation to fund your trip to ASCILITE in Toowoomba this year - get a paper on the program! Check out the call for participation now!