Gary Kinchen is on tenterhooks waiting for his first container of pots, planters, water features and gazebos at his brand new business “Scotland Yard Nursery” at the Cuckoo Clock Centre at Cabarlah.

“It’ll be here any day now,” he smiles.

But already the nursery is full of colour and ideas ready for all types of enthusiastic gardener. Next door is Gary’s wife Anthea in her shiny new gift shop. Stocked to the brim with pretty Christmas baubles and gifts Anthea is also very proud of “The Nook” her very special place for knitters.

“Our knitting group meets every Wednesday morning at 10am. If it’s fine we can knit outside or at the coffee shop next door. I’m focussing on the best quality wools and only stock top quality European yarns.”

The coffee shop Anthea speaks of is the remodelled Forest Hill Cafe now owned by Kathryn Snowdon and ready for Christmas parties and ladies lunches.

“We’re open for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea as well as dinner by special arrangement,” she said. “We can easily seat 40 indoors but we have the overflow area outside under the trees which is lovely.

“I’m sourcing as much local produce as I can and also using organic ingredients where it’s practical.”

The whole centre is held together by the ever and always intriguing Black Forest Hill German Cuckoo Clock shop owned by Jim and Robyn Rich.

It’s Christmas all year round at Cuckoo Clock Shop which is chock-a-block with gorgeous traditional pieces such as glass ornaments, nutcrackers, lace window decorations, Austrian tablecloths and of course cuckoo clocks galore.

It’s the traditional pieces that add so much to the magic of Christmas: the German incense burners, the advent calendars, the revolving wooden tree pyramids and table decorations.  It’s such fun!

Upstairs in a world of its own is “Simple Things Small Joys” owned by the very talented Angela Osment.

If you have pretty tastes then you will love this shop with its floaty dresses, lace bunting, hand crafted soaps, custom made charms and vintage paper keepsakes.

A visit to the new Cuckoo Clock Centre is great fun and almost a daytrip in itself yet it’s just 20 minutes from Toowoomba.

Words by Ally Martell