International student Nils Preisler shares his favourite weekend activities in and around Toowoomba

Toowoomba has a great climate and amazing scenery, so on weekends I love to get outdoors with friends from university. We often go hiking, and luckily Toowoomba has a lot of walks to choose from, so its super easy to find an option that suits how much time we have available.

One of our favourite walks is actually almost a climb. Table Top Mountain is a local icon and a dramatic part of the escarpment just on the edge of the city. Parts are a pretty challenging climb, but the view from the top makes the effort worthwhile, with 360-degree views back to Toowoomba and east towards Brisbane. It’s one walk that in particular needs a reasonable level of fitness and I’d suggest going with a group and allowing plenty of time so you can do it carefully. Definitely a bucket list walk and Insta worthy.

When we’re not looking to exert that much effort, we tend to do the walks around Picnic Point. They have lots of different scenery, from waterfalls to what feels like rainforest, and have the benefit of views around most corners. The café at the top of Picnic Point is a good option for a post-hike reward.

The Bunya Mountains is one of my favourite getaways for camping, hiking and escaping the buzz of people. Around 1.5 hours from Toowoomba, it’s got amazing rainforest hikes with trees so big that you can walk through some of them! It’s a great place to see some Australian wildlife, with hundreds of small wallabies bouncing around and the opportunity to hand feed native birds. Because its on the top of a mountain, and pretty isolated, its really dark at night which means that the stars are super bright and great for star gazing.

I enjoy scuba diving, so naturally Toowoomba doesn’t provide any opportunities given its not on the coast. Its great that both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are only a couple of hours away, so fitting in a dive on one of the reefs or wrecks can be done in a day. There’s plenty of things to do on either of the coasts, so it’s nice every now and then to make a full weekend of it.