Moving to Toowoomba? Here’s All You Need To Know
If you are considering moving to Toowoomba, the first thing you need to do is your research. The Toowoomba Region covers an area of 12,957 km2, so there is a lot to explore and consider. Toowoomba is located 90-minutes’ drive (125km) west of Brisbane and offers family-friendly living in Queensland’s largest inland town.
Perched on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba commands rural and country views over the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley. Moving to Toowoomba offers an abundance of property options for families who want to leave the city and suburban lifestyle behind, providing that perfect balance between big city living and the “beyond the black stump” small country town. Toowoomba for kids also has plenty to offer!
Toowoomba at a glance
In the 2016 census there were 149,512 people in Toowoomba, with 37 years old being the median age. Children aged 0-14 years made up 20% of the population, demonstrating a key demographic of young families.
Founded as a village in 1849, Toowoomba became a town in 1858 and a city in 1904. Primarily an agricultural and pastoral region, Toowoomba is now Queensland’s largest inland city. It has maintained its old-time charm with streetscapes of heritage listed buildings – including a stunning art deco theatre – and established public gardens, complemented by bright modern shopping centres, cinemas, and educational and health facilities.
Economically, the area generated $11.6 billion in Gross Regional Product in 2019/2020, making it the third largest regional city economy in Queensland. Agriculture was the biggest contributor, and as the region bounces back from the effects of drought, the flow-on effect is set to boost other industry and businesses in the area.
Toowoomba offers relaxed living with affordable housing, plentiful quality schools and education centres, and thriving employment sectors. The area attracts tourism with museums, markets, open farms, national parks and even a zoo close by. In spring, the area comes alive with the spectacular month-long Carnival of Flowers every September.
The median house price in Toowoomba is $446,000 (calculated Sep 30, 2021), showing a steady growth from $310,000 from the period to Sep 30, 2020. Compared to Sydney at $1.3 million and Melbourne at $954,000, if you’re shopping for houses for sale, Toowoomba could score you a bargain.
The median rent in Toowoomba for a 3-bedroom home is $350pw at the time of writing.
In the 2016 census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 93% of the population aged 15 and over (66,382 people) was in employment. Almost 20% were classed as professionals, with technicians and trades workers making up around 15%, followed by clerical and administration roles, labourers, and community and personal service workers.
Health care and education were the biggest employment sectors, with retail, construction, and manufacturing close behind.
Toowoomba is teeming with high quality childcare centres and schools for all ages from prep to university. Early learning centres include those offering the Montessori and Reggio Amelia approach to learning. There is an abundance of private primary and secondary schools, special schools, and higher education options that include TAFE, Australian Industry Trade College, and three universities.
Toowoomba Primary Schools
Toowoomba has a good selection of both state and private schools for children in Prep through to Year 6. Some provide religious-based learning, and some are non-secular. If you want to find out more about the education performance of various schools in the area, visit www.myschool.edu.au.
Toowoomba Secondary Schools
There are several state high schools and many private high schools in the Toowoomba Region, offering a range of ATAR and practical/trade pathways to future careers. Keep in mind that the public school your child attends will generally be based on catchment areas, or you can live in the area of your preference and opt for private education instead.
Cost for schooling varies. While public schools are free, private high schools will range anywhere from $4000 a year up to over $16,000, and private primary schools from $1,500 per year to over $13,500.
Toowoomba enjoys long summers with an average high temperature of 28°. Being elevated, Toowoomba has the advantage of a breeze to cool the summer evenings. Winters are short with an average high temperature of 16°, dropping to an average low of 3° at night. Humidity is generally low enough to provide a comfortable environment all year round.
Getting there and around
Toowoomba is around a 10-hour drive from Sydney and 17.5-hour drive from Melbourne. Both cities offer regular direct flights to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
Toowoomba is connected to Brisbane by rail, though services are not offered every day and the journey is lengthy. Luckily, the road service is excellent with motorways taking you from Toowoomba to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. Toowoomba City and its satellite townships are well serviced by buses, and you will find plenty of taxi and ride share services.
There is over 70km of recreational cycle pathways taking you through Toowoomba and its many public gardens.
Things to see and do around Toowoomba
Moving to Toowoomba offers a wealth of activities for all ages. There are plenty of opportunities to get your children out and exploring in the fresh country air, and abundant indoor activities to escape from any heat or rain.
History is within easy reach at the Transport and Main Roads Heritage Centre, Cobb & Co. Museum, Downs Steam Tourist Railway and Museum, Highfields Pioneer Village, and Australian Army Flying Museum. These venues provide displays, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences where history buffs can explore the age of steam, traditional farming practices, and step back in time into themed historic buildings.
Gardeners will love the many Toowoomba parks. There are over 50 to visit, and we particularly recommend Queens Park, the Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens in the grounds of the University of Southern Queensland, and the aptly named Picnic Point Parklands. Keep an eye on the Toowoomba Regional Council What’s On page for special events and markets happening in the region’s parks.
The surprise gem for families moving to Toowoomba is the Darling Downs Zoo. With exotic birds and animals from Africa, Asia and South America, the Zoo is a memorable and pleasant day out.
Looking for FREE things to do in Toowoomba? Check out our article here!
Where to live in Toowoomba
While you could easily see yourself setting up home in Toowoomba, there are a few localities that are increasingly popular with people moving from interstate, and worth a closer look. Here’s a brief rundown.
Moving to Oakey
Oakey is one of the most sought-after Toowoomba residential areas. It’s just west of Toowoomba, outside the city, having a rural feel, and large family and acreage blocks. The houses for sale in Oakey are full of character, and significantly cheaper than in Toowoomba, only 25 minutes away.
Moving to Rangeville
Rangeville is south-east of Toowoomba, bordered by several extensive parks, and serviced with a shopping centre, schools, medical facilities, and a free Toowoomba City Council bus route to neighbouring suburbs. The crime rate is low, and housing slightly more expensive than Toowoomba properties. The suburb is established with a range of housing styles on good-sized blocks.
Moving to Mount Lofty
Mount Lofty is north-east of Toowoomba and has a shopping centre, schools, bushwalks, parks, and great views over the Lockyer Valley. It is a hilly area but has little traffic. In summer it is cooled by breezes; in winter it can be foggy. It’s considered a safe area to live.
Moving to Crows Nest
Crows Nest is a clean and green township, about 30-minutes north of Toowoomba. It’s ideally suited to families. There are lots of acreage blocks in the area, and you can certainly bag a property bargain with a scenic commute into Toowoomba for work.
Moving to Kearneys Spring
Kearneys Spring is south of Toowoomba and home to many families and professionals. There are lots of parks and recreation areas, and good dining out options. It has a mix of modern and established 1970s housing styles on good sized blocks, and is close to the University of Southern Queensland, shopping centres, and the Japanese Garden.
Why you should move to Toowoomba
Toowoomba offers an ideal balance between small city lifestyle and country living. Its strong economy, affordable housing, and abundant schools, parks, and playgrounds make it perfectly suited to families. The region hosts many events throughout the year and offers entertainment in the form of cinema, theatre, markets, sporting clubs, and ‘dining out’ options to suit all occasions, budgets, and tastes. Toowoomba restaurants are multicultural and generally highly rated, with indoor and outdoor seating, and menus that include traditional favourites, international cuisine, and treats and high teas for special occasions. If you’d rather cook than dine out, you’ll be pleased to hear that Toowoomba is still within the Hello Fresh and Every Plate delivery network!