It’s a trip we’ve taken many times, Brisbane to Toowoomba by bus, through the beautiful vege garden that is the Lockyer Valley and up the steep side of the Great Dividing Range into Toowoomba. There used to be a train that ran all the way, although you could save a few hours of the windy journey up the range by catching a bus up the range portion, from Helidon Station at the foothills.
That last 4km or so is really steep and offers some impressive views on the way up in particular, towards Picnic Point if you’re seated on the left and out over the Lockyer Valley if you’re on the right. Later still the train journey was further cut so you caught the train to Ipswich and transferred to the bus at that point.
Now, it’s the bus all the way for a journey that takes about an hour an a half. Some services divert to some of the smaller towns on the way, adding a few minutes to the trip, but generally you’ll stop only at Gatton and then the new bus depot in Toowoomba.
The Brisbane Transit Centre
Your bus will leave from the Brisbane Transit Centre in Roma Street. This integrated transport terminal houses bus and taxi operations as well as the Roma Street Railway Station. All the train services north, south, east and west pass through Roma Street. Long Distance buses and trains also depart from this station.
The Coach Terminal (bus) is located on the Third Floor, accessible by escalator and a lift if you have bags to carry. There are a number of bus companies to choose from, depending on your destination and timing, and you can purchase your tickets over the counter using cash or card or online. There is a Taxi Rank located on this floor, so if you’re arriving here, follow the signs. If you are arriving by taxi, tell the driver you are catching a coach and they’ll drop you at the drop-off bay outside the bus terminal. Taxis are also available on the Ground level.
There are no facilities at The Brisbane Transit Centre for Luggage Storage.
Catching the Coach
You need to be at your Coach Company’s waiting area about 15 minutes before departure as they load you before the time on your ticket so you get away on time. Seats are not assigned, so if you are travelling with a companion or group it would be wise to be in the queue early. You need to store large pieces of luggage in the luggage holds under the bus, but small items may be placed under your seat or in the open overhead compartment.
You can’t take food or drinks on board, but if you have time before you leave, there’s a coffee stand beside the Greyhound counter and the coffee isn’t bad, right temperature and smooth taste.
On the Bus
We decided to purchase our tickets from Greyhound Australia over the counter, as the timetable suited our needs. We could also have booked online. Check the Bay number as your destination may not be the final destination for this particular service.
The cloth covered seats, two each side of the centre aisle, are fitted with seatbelts which the driver will remind you to wear in his welcome announcement as you leave the terminal. The seats recline to a comfortable position and there is a footrest with sufficient leg room for all but very long legged passengers. A seat back pocket has a plastic bag inside for emergencies.
The coach is air-conditioned and there is an overhead air blower and light for each seat. You can find a USB charger point either on the window side of the seat, or in front of you, between the seats.
The coach is equipped with a toilet at the rear. There is toilet paper and a small sink with soap. You will certainly appreciate the handle on the door in front of you as the rocking of the bus is noticeable in the toilet.
The journey is a good introduction to country Queensland. You pass through the rich agricultural crops of the Lockyer Valley with a wide range of vegetable crops in particular, on display. Just before you reach Gatton, you will pass the University of Queensland Gatton Campus, where courses focus on the local connection with the land, principally those dealing with Veterinary Science and Animals, Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
You will pass many farms on the journey, many of which will have ‘Queenslander’ style high set houses characterised by their wide verandas, metal roofs and long front staircase. The terrain is varied as is the greenery. Enjoy your journey!