Spring festivals for flower lovers
Spring flowers may have already sprung in the Australian winter's mild weather, but you still have time to book a garden-inspired escape.
Head to Australia's towns and cities that celebrate new season blooms. Here's our pick:
CANBERRA's Floriade festival embraces everything green, with info sessions on sustainable living, bio-organic gardening and how to build the best veggie patch. There is also a twilight event and entertainment. Floriade began in 1988 and is now the pinnacle event on any flower enthusiast's calendar. It is on between September 14 and October 13.
Situated in the hills of OBERON in NSW is the incredible Mayfield Garden, one of the largest privately owned cool climate gardens in the world. Nestled within a 5000 acre working farm, the garden has taken inspiration from the most famous gardens around the world.
With a maze, an oak forest, a walled potager, an 80-metre cascade that tumbles down the hillside, and extensive parterre gardens, it is a visual feast. A walk around the whole garden will take around 3 hours.
There are only three spring 2013 open weekends: October 19-20, October 26-27 and November 2-3.
TOOWOOMBA holds its Carnival of Flowers every year, with more than 90 activities and events in and around the Queensland city. The 10-day festival is held from September 20-29. It focuses on home gardening and flowers, as well as live music, food and wine.
The 2013 BRIGHT Spring Festival celebrates Victoria's alpine region. It's into its 25th year and is held from October 19 to November 5. The festival isn't focused just on gardening, it also showcases local food, wine, markets, art and outdoor adventure.
The KYNETON Daffodil and Arts Festival kicks off in Victoria on September 5 and runs until the 15th. It's made up of art prizes, street stalls, busking, town walks, markets, as well as a few unusual events such as ferret racing and a scarecrow competition. But the main attraction is the Kyneton Spring Flower Show, with its display of daffodils and other flowers and plants.
The HUNTER VALLEY in NSW always celebrates spring in style with the amazing displays at the Hunter Valley Gardens. The Spring Festival of Flowers, from August 31 to September 30, has an oriental theme this year and includes entertainment such as Chinese folk dancing. There will also be floral displays, garden talks and cooking demonstrations.
BOWRAL in the NSW Southern Highlands plays host to the annual Tulip Time festival. More than 60,000 tulips and 25,000 annuals will be planted in Corbett Gardens, while Mittagong and Moss Vale will also have displays. Along with garden tours, entertainment will include a street parade, charity bike ride and sausage 'cook-off'. It's on from September 24 to October 7.
KINGS PARK in PERTH showcases WA's magnificent wildflowers. This year is the 50th birthday of the Kings Park Festival, which will open with free concerts by musicians including James Morrison. There'll also be flower exhibitions, guided walks and talks, and a dance party. The festival runs from September 1 to 30.
HOBART is home to the Spring Community Festival, a weekend event held on October 5 and 6. It's on at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, and along with displays of new blooms, there is also plenty of children's entertainment. It includes a climbing wall, jumping castle and face painting.