No need for a poncho or sombrero to transport yourself in to the colourful palette of Mexico – it is here on Toowoomba’s doorstep at Cabarlah. The Colours of San Cris cafe and artist market transforms an unlikely corner on the main New England Highway heading to Crows Nest into an exotic Aladdin’s Cave.

Set in a beautiful garden, there are little artists’ nooks and crannies to explore, beautifully crafted jewellery, pottery and clothes displayed in various rustic studios and if you happen to arrive on the first Wednesday of the month, there are fabulous artisan stalls proudly manned by local producers and craftspeople. Gift shopping has never been so pleasurable. Even Bundy, the dapper dog, thinks so.

It definitely draws you in and back for more! And that is before you enter the cottage cafe and see the eye-popping menu. Thank you Kim Cahill from for recommending this.

The owners who have built this enterprise from their love of cooking delicious, simple wholesome savoury and sweet temptations go out of their way to put their customers’ needs as the priority. Nothing is too much trouble. The menu is broad and everything is made fresh on the premises. Sadly the secret to their delicious gluten free pastry is a secret not to be shared. Oh well, we will just have to keep coming back for more.

The decor inside the cottage sings a Mexican sonata. As a HUGE fan of popular artist Frida Kahlo, and having visited her Blue House in Mexico City, I was almost overwhelmed to see so many tributes to her in the various little break out spaces in the cottage. There are beautiful pieces to purchase and there is a special section of hand embroidered clothes and material which depict the variety of regional traditional costumes worn across Mexico. Frida championed the value of the skill and beauty of the women who handcrafted their styles by wearing the different dresses as her normal wear, and painted many of them in her vast body of art pieces.

It is inspiring to see a love of all things Mexican transported and become the core of a local business so far removed from the Central American home. How lucky is Toowoomba and Cabarlah to have this on our doorstep!