As  I sit here at my desk listening to the howling wind and rain I am reminded that Queensland does not always live up to her name of “The Sunshine State”.  This is the view today from our office window looking over to Alison Dickson Theatre, the main venue for our conference in just a few weeks.

This post was prompted by conversations at the recent ASCILITE Spring into Excellence Research School (an exhilarating and rewarding few days which I would highly recommend). Attendees wanted to know more about Toowoomba and what to expect while they are at the conference.

So here are a few facts and figures to help answer that question.

Toowoomba (The Garden City) sits on top of the Great Dividing Range at an altitude of 691m. With a population of approximately 115,000, we are the largest inland non-capital city in Australia.

In December we have almost 14 hours of daylight, with sunrise around 4.50am and sunset around 6.30pm. We suggest you make the most of this with an early morning stroll through one of our numerous parks and gardens or a leisurely breakfast catch up with friends new and old.

Our weather is variable so we suggest you bring layers and raincoat. While the average temperature in December is 29OC, the current long term forecast on one site is for some thunderstorms for the week of the conference. All rooms at USQ are air conditioned, which means it can be considerably cooler inside than out so a light cardigan or jacket is suggested.

Our campus is 6.5 km from the CBD so we highly recommend using the free shuttle bus being offered for delegates from the three conference hotels. More information on this will be posted closer to the conference start. Public transport consists of buses only with several routes passing by the university and services approximately every half hour. More information on travel.

If flying in to Toowoomba we recommend you request a window seat so you can view the rich tapestry of farmland as you descend into Toowoomba.

What you won’t see much of around Toowoomba is running water – there are no rivers in our area and the nearest lakes are about half an hour drive. Our tap water has just been announced as tastiest in Australia, so bring a refillable bottle with you!

What we can guarantee for this year’s ASCILITE conference is a friendly welcome, good times, good company, stimulating presentations and opportunities for networking. We look forward to welcoming you.