Ways to embrace NSW's autumn colours

Landscapes of burnished valleys, golden vines and parklands scattered with red maple leaves… autumn is a seriously colourful event across NSW. Here’s where to take in the spectacle. 

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Feb 2024 -
min read

Blue Mountains 

In autumn, the cool-climate gardens and deciduous trees of the Blue Mountains, a 90-minute drive northwest of Sydney, are ablaze with colour. From Sydney, one of the first towns you’ll encounter is the pretty village of Leura, where the Everglades House and Gardens is on the National Trust register – for good reason. Aside from a grand Art Deco house where you can enjoy high tea, it’s surrounded by towering trees, rolling grass carpeted with autumn leaves and breathtaking glimpses of the Jamison Valley.  

In Bilpin, soak up the rich colours of the Japanese maples, North American oaks and dawn redwoods at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. At 1,000 metres above sea level, the 28-hectare estate is a botanic journey with stunning panoramic views at every turn. The Residence Garden is known for its seasonal beauty, and in autumn, the Japanese maples create a patchwork of gold, russet and merlot colours.  

Nearby, privately owned Wildwood Garden is just as colourful in autumn, as deciduous trees and shrubs change from green to red, orange and yellow. 

Autumn colours on display at Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

The village of Mount Wilson is particularly well known for its leaf-pepping, with its avenue of deciduous trees (plane trees, elms, beeches), numerous public gardens and abundant private gardens – over the spring and autumn months, many residents open their gates to the public so you can take in the colours of the season.

Fiery autumn leaves on trees lining a quiet street in Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains

Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains

Heritage-listed Breenhold Gardens is among them. From early April, the yellow leaves of the golden elm, box elder maple, ash trees and silver birch begin to appear. Then from mid-April, Japanese maples, red maples, oak and copper beech show off their autumn orange and red leaves. 

Family enjoying a visit at Breenhold Gardens in Mount Tomah, Blue Mountains

Breenhold Gardens in Mount Tomah, Blue Mountains


Australia’s largest cool-climate gardens, Oberon's Mayfield Garden’s lush grounds host oaks, maples, rhododendrons and pastel-hued lilies, the latter blanketing water features throughout. Stroll over bridges and through grottoes, pausing to test your skill in the English box hedge maze or on one of the life-size interactive games. During the annual Autumn Festival, visitors can access additional grounds of the adjoining private Hawkins Family Gardens, allowing you explore the garden’s entire 65 hectares. At this time, rowboats are available on Mayfield Lake, there are interactive games scattered throughout, and there’s a shuttle bus taking you to groves where deciduous autumnal colours steal the scene.

Couple enjoying the spring blooms at Mayfield Garden, Oberon

Mayfield Garden, Oberon


The Snowy Valleys are dazzling in winter, but they’re just as pretty in the lead-up – see the autumn colours of poplar, elm and maple at Tumut and the surrounding country at the foot of the mountains, a four-hour drive southwest of Sydney. Visit Rotary Lookout for views of the entire valley, drive down tree-lined Elm Drive, and take on the Tumut River Walk, which meanders through wetlands before reaching Rotary Pioneer Park, resplendent with European deciduous trees. Tumut’s annual Falling Leaf Festivalhas been celebrating seasonal hues since 1954 with markets, live entertainment and workshops. 


In autumn, the town of Orange deserves its name – just add in a dash of gold, red and deep green. Less than four hours’ drive northwest of Sydney, it’s a visual feast thanks to its many deciduous trees, including its iconic rows of golden poplars. Highlights include the northern end of Hill Street, lined with red maples and golden elms, and the 17-hectare Orange Botanic Gardens. This time of year also sees the many grape vines that characterise the countryside change colour, with the autumn harvest heralding culinary celebrations like Orange F.O.O.D Week

Orchard in autumn, Orange

Orchard in autumn, Orange

New England  

Go on an autumn adventure into New England, about a five-hour drive north of Sydney, where the copper colours of chestnut and maple trees are on show in the region’s charming, historic towns. This is arguably the best time of year to visit Tenterfield, with the temperature perfect for strolling along tree-lined streets ablaze with colour. Over the Easter long weekend, the town hosts a four-day Autumn Festival, replete with open gardens, country markets and Easter egg hunts.  

Cyclists riding through Rotary Park in autumn, Tenterfield

Rotary Park, Tenterfield

The town of Armidale also hosts an annual Autumn Festival, at a time when the streets, parks and gardens are looking resplendent. Unsurprinsgly, the university town is home to heritage architecture aplenty, as well as a number of19th-century churches, which never look more grand than when surrounded by the town's vibrant autumn foliage.

Autumn trees lining a road, Armidale

Autumn trees lining a road, Armidale 

 Glen Innes is similarly glorious during autumn, with golden poplar-lined streets, pear trees, pistachio trees and the dramatic claret ash. It’s also home to the autumn Australian Celtic Festival.  

Autumn colours along the New England Highway near Glen Innes, Country NSW

New England Highway, Glen Innes

Near the town of Uralla, the Gostwyck Chapel is covered in Virginia creeper, which turns a dramatic crimson in autumn. And Tamworth is stunning in autumn, with highlights including the view from Oxley Scenic Lookout.   

Boston ivy covered Gostwyck chapel, Tamworth Area

Gostwyck chapel, Tamworth Area 

Southern Highlands  

The closest wine region to Sydney, just 90 minutes’ drive southwest of the NSW capital, the bucolic countryside of the Southern Highlands is known for its old-world charm, country mansions and formal garden estates. Autumn is one of the most popular times to visit, when picturesque heritage villages come alive with colour.  

In Bowral, stroll through the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens and Corbett Gardens. And if you happen to check in to Milton Park Country House Hotel, you’re treated to a spectacle of giant elms, oaks, beeches and rhododendrons – there are more than 10,000 trees and plants in total. 

Autumn colours in the town of Bowral, Southern Highlands

Bowral, Southern Highlands

Near the colonial sandstone buildings of Berrima is Bendooley Estate, perfect for an autumn wine tasting or lunch overlooking the grounds, when the trees turn shades of copper and amber and the exterior of the main building is layered in rich, red leaves. 

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Meanwhile in Mittagong, Lake Alexandra Reserve attracts all manner of birdlife with its wetlands, which reflect the fiery colours of deciduous trees during autumn. Make sure to visit some of the iconic cool-climate gardens on open days the Southern Highlands Autumn Gardens and Plant Fair showcases five magical gardens rarely open to the public.   

Albury Wodonga  

This southern part of NSW can sizzle over summer, but temperatures are particularly pleasant in autumn – as is the scenery. Get out and explore some of the region’s 90km of track and trails by bike, taking in the hues of orange and brown that colour the tree canopies along the way. The Wagirra Trail follows the river and takes in the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, a stunning collection of sculptures by local indigenous artists that tell the story of their history and culture.  

Autumn leaves in Noreuil Park Foreshore and The River Deck cafe, Albury

Noreuil Park Foreshore and The River Deck cafe, Albury

The region’s shift in seasons it probably most evident at the Albury Botanic Gardens, where trails weave through grounds patchworked with colour. It’s a popular spot for a picnic, as is Noreuil Park, with its glorious mature shade trees changing hue. The park is also home to the popular River Deck restaurant, which offers views over the park and the water.  

Aerial view of couple enjoying picnic at Noreuil Park, Albury

Noreuil Park, Albury


A three-hour drive west of Sydney, Bathurst dials up the natural drama when the temperature starts to drop. The grand deciduous trees around the region begin to turn a fantastical array of autumn colours. And then for six cool-weather weeks from March through May, Bathurst and its surrounding villages host an Autumn Colours program – a celebration of the changing seasons. There are a wide range of experiences on offer, including heritage and horticultural tours, walks, talks and entertainment. You might come simply for radiant leaves, but once here, spend some time exploring the fascinating sites and characters that have shaped this beautiful region. 

A 30-minute drive south of Bathurst, Rockley is one of the oldest European settlements west of the Blue Mountains. Declared a National Trust Historic Village, it’s home to dozens of glorious heritage buildings tucked beside beautiful parklands, which come alive with vibrant hues at this time of year. The town also adopts the Autumn Colours program and offers guided walking tours. When it’s time to revive, head to the recently redeveloped Rockley Pub, helmed by acclaimed chef Matt Moran.  

Couple enjoying a wine on the verandah at The Rockley Pub, Rockley

The Rockley Pub, Rockley

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