Tucked away in Toowoomba's historic Caledonian Estate is B&B Wanulla, a heritage-listed Queenslander standing behind a white picket fence and manicured Manchurian pear trees. Built in 1905, B&B Wanulla is a grand design – with lattice work, high ceilings and large verandas that deserve to be enjoyed with a cup of tea or glass of wine.
Guests of B&B Wanulla have the run of half the property, with two guest rooms, a lounge room, formal dining area and large front deck. Both guest rooms have an ensuite but the main room is slightly bigger with views onto the front garden. Inside, the property is bursting with period features like polished timber floors, fire place and fan lights, which are testament to the quality and authenticity of Steve and Margaret Savage's restoration of Wanulla.
Unlike other B&Bs, Wanulla is not a mausoleum to its owner's antique and heirloom collection. Instead, Margeret and Steve have tastefully renovated the property keeping all the character of the house and furnished it with a balance of elegance and comfort. The rooms are luxuriously large and furnished with period furniture that don't sacrifice comfort. It would be easy to stay curled up in the queen-sized bed all day, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a cooked breakfast will lure you out. It's worth spending some time admiring the well-curated art collection on the walls and a bookshelf laden with travel books.
Margaret and Steve have worked hard to make their property as welcoming as possible and everything from the handwritten card on arrival, the drizabone coats aside the front door and crystal port decanter with chocolates in the evening adds to the experience. Other luxuries at B&B Wanulla like the toiletries hamper with Lancome cleanser, L'Occitane hand cream and make up removing wipes go a long way to making this a comfortable guest experience.
B&B Wanulla guests can expect an elegant afternoon tea, hot breakfast, evening port and if staying more than one night, an aperitivo on the balcony. As if lifted from a page of a magazine, Margaret lays out an afternoon tea of homemade scones, macarons, fruit cake, flourless orange cake and biscotti served on crisp antique linen with her grandmother's silver fruit knives and her mother's cream dish. The breakfast spread is equally as impressive starting with a selection of local muesli, yoghurts and fruits, through to a hot menu. For an evening meal, Margaret and Steve recommend taking a short 10-minute stroll into town to Veraison, which is rated a handy 14/20 in the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide. It serves big-city cuisine at country prices.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
Toowoomba is the home of garden walks and there are plenty of parks to explore. From B&B Wanulla, it's only a short stroll to Queens Park, which comes alive in autumn when the Camphor Laurel's turn orange and lose their leaves. A short drive away is Laurel Bank Park which is known for its exotic trees and spectacular flower display, which comes into season in spring. Picnic Point is also a popular tourist haunt with its views across the Lockyer Valley.
For Brisbanites, B&B Wanulla is a good way to experience Toowoomba and surrounds without sacrificing wi-fi, creature comforts and long drive distances. It's possible to park the car and never take it out again, with the CBD a 10-minute stroll from the doorstep and Queens Park just minutes away. One of the most relaxing features of this B&B is that it feels homely, so you waste no time settling in and getting a lay of the land.
HOW TO GET THERE?
From Brisbane, head out past Ipswich and onto the Warrego Highway following signs for Toowoomba. Allow about 2 hours for the drive because there are lots of road works on the range, which slows things down as you come into town.
B&B Wanulla, 4 Burns St, Toowoomba. The Master bedroom is $180 per night midweek and this jumps to $200 on weekends. Every additional night comes with a 10% discount. The smaller bedroom is a flat fee of $150 per night. All rooms include breakfast, afternoon tea and evening port. Phone 07 4639 3487, see bandbwanulla.com.au.