Plan a getaway to one of Australia's blooming marvellous floral destinations.
The biggest state puts on the biggest show across seven distinctive wildflower regions. Boasting 12,000 species, most of which are found nowhere else, Mother Nature scatters her colourful confetti all the way from the Pilbara to the Great Southern. Check out the where, when and how online at the WA Visitor Centre and book a guided tour or follow a self-drive itinerary. One particularly vivid drive is the 309-kilometre Wildflower Way between Dalwallinu and Geraldton, which includes Coalseam Conservation Park, renowned for its carpets of pink, yellow and white everlasting daisies. In Perth, the Kings Park Festival displays 3000 species endemic to the state during September. wavisitorcentre.com.au/wildflowers
More than a million bulbs and annuals burst into bloom and decorate Commonwealth Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin every spring. The largest flower show in the southern hemisphere, Floriade draws people from all over the world and runs from September 16 to October 15 this year. Satellite sites, including Lanyon Homestead in Tharwa, extend Floriade to other parts of the city and Territory, and a diverse program of entertainment, art shows, workshops, foodie experiences and cultural events - such as the ticketed Nightfest (September 28 to October 1) - add a further flourish. floriadeaustralia.com
Jacarandas in Sydney, NSW
The flowering jacarandas in NSW announce the arrival of spring with a fresh, life-affirming fanfare. Sydneysiders don't have far to go for their purple pilgrimage as the famous jacarandas in the suburb of Kirribilli erupt. Locals and tourists flock to the flamboyant archway on McDougall Street by Careening Cove on Sydney Harbour to photograph the blooms and stand beneath them as they fall as purple rain. More lilac-hued immersions can be had in Lavender Bay, Hunters Hill, Paddington, Glebe, The Rocks, Parramatta and at the Royal Botanic Garden. Six hours north of Sydney, the streets of Grafton are lined with 1700 jacaranda trees, lionised by the 10-day Jacaranda Festival. jacarandafestival.com
Tulips in Tassie
Short, sweet and spectacular, Tasmania's tulips bloom for just a month. But what a month! The bulbs deliver their vivacious scented bounty in October, and the Bloomin' Tulip Festival in Wynyard, 17 kilometres west of Burnie on the north-west coast, puts on a three-week program that makes the most of the annual offering. Wander the photogenic rows at Table Cape Tulip Farm, take home a few Van Diemen Quality tulip bulbs, Dutch iris and liliums and head to the main event at Gutteridge Gardens on October 14. Hobart's Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens also puts on an impressive display of the bulbed beauties. tablecapetulipfarm.com.au
Spring is a full-on flower-fest in Victoria. The Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Silvan is just an hour from the CBD, while daffodils, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas await in the nearby Dandenong Ranges. The rugged sandstone Grampians region is home to fields of yellow canola and bunches of pink, bell-shaped common heath (Victoria's floral emblem). Trek the Grampians Peaks Trail and discover spring wildflowers, including boronias, orchids, purple coral-peas and more. Love lavender? Check out the purple and the products at Warratina Lavender Farm in the Yarra Valley or Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm near Daylesford, where sunflowers, jonquils and lotus flowers also abound.
Spring into SA
Wine and flowers are more than just a good date night when you combine them in South Australia. Dozens of varieties of delicate orchids and other wildflowers bloom in the Adelaide Hills, especially along the Cleland Link Trail and at Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, which is also replete with rose gardens, magnolias and rhododendrons. The rolling hills throughout the Clare Valley's conservation parks also turn up the tints in spring. In Belair National Park, just 25 minutes from Adelaide, you can roam the Wildflower Wander trail and visit State Flora, the oldest plant nursery in the state. Further afield, as in the outback, the Ikara-Flinders Ranges come alive with wattles, native hopbush, mint bush and Sturt desert peas. visitadelaidehills.com.au/gardens
It's always bloom o'clock somewhere and the world presents countless opportunities for peripatetic petal lovers. Japan's legendary cherry blossoms begin their show in Kyushu in late March, and move north until the final flowers fall in Hokkaido in early May.
We all know we can tiptoe through the tulips in Amsterdam but from late-March to early-May the Netherlands is also home to the world's largest flower garden - Keukenhof in Lisse - a 32-hectare showcase of seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.
Every two years in August (the next is in 2024), the burghers of Brussels create Bloementapijt (Flower Carpet), an 1800 square metre tapestry of a million colourful begonias in Grote Markt in the centre of the city. In May, the poppies of Tuscany in Italy, particularly around Val d'Orcia, cover the countryside and olive groves in a bright red blanket. And if you need a reason to head to France, add the lavender fields of Provence to your list.
In Uttarakhand in India, the 90-square-kilometre World Heritage-listed Valley of Flowers National Park is ablaze from July to September with a unique and diverse collection of wildflowers, alpine shrubs and meadows, set against the Himalayas.
And then there's the Chelsea Flower Show in London (May), the Pasadena Rose Parade in California (New Year's Day), the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in Thailand (February) and Feria de las Flores in Medellin, Colombia (August), to name but a few more flower-fests.
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