Laurel Bank Park is a garden near the centre of Toowoomba. From the road, the gardens look nice but walk through them for a while and you start to understand how beautiful they are and how much effort is put in to maintain these spectacular gardens.
Laurel Bank Park is listed as botanic gardens in the Australian National Botanic Gardens directory. It doesn’t feel like you are visiting a botanical gardens, more like you are at a place to relax and unwind first, for people to visit and admire, and the botanical values of the gardens are second.
The scented gardens is a feature of the park designed for the visually impaired. The plants are rich in fragrances, with perfumed plants and various herbs, smells of lavender and citrus and basil and more. The design is to include as many people as possible, with pathways and raised garden beds, and tables that accommodate wheelchairs.
Near the scented gardens is the topiary section. Small shrubs shaped to look like various things, such as a dog, spider, turtle, whale, lawn mower, boat, and more. Topiary isn’t limited to this section, with pieces spread out around the gardens including zigzag hedges, and even a Thomas the Tank Engine with park benches for carriages.
The gardens have a main floral display with a viewing platform. The gardens are a feature in Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, held in September each year since 1950.
The gardens were gifted to the people of Toowoomba in 1932 by Samuel George Stephens. Mr Stephens was known as ‘the man of flowers’. He asked it was not to be turned into a sports facility, with the exception of the croquet greens.
The Laurel Bank Hall was constructed during World War II as a mess hall for US naval troops. There were other buildings, the hall was the only one kept.
A children’s playground is near the scented gardens and an undercover area with BBQs and tables.
To get there:
Best parking for Laurel Bank Park is on Hill St, between West St and Clifford St, which also provides access to off-street parking. There is some parking along Herries St next to the park.
You cannot turn right into Hill St from West St heading north. Instead, turn right into Herries St, turn left into Clifford St, then left into Hill St.
You cannot turn right into Hill St from Clifford St heading south. Instead, turn right into Margaret St, turn left at the lights into West St, then left into Hill St.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes