Where to see spring flowers in NSW
In spring, NSW is awash with a rainbow of flowers. Whether you love vibrant purple jacarandas, pretty pink cherry blossoms or a wonderland of wildflowers, here's where to find the best bloomin' displays across the state.
See clouds of purple jacaranda
When the spring sunshine starts to beam down on Sydney, a sea of violet washes over the city as thousands of jacaranda trees erupt with vibrant purple blossoms. From September, you’ll find them dotted around the harbour from Circular Quay to the Royal Botanic Garden. The heritage squares of the University of Sydney are a well-known spot to snap a photo, and the violet haze continues across the bridge in the leafy streets of Kirribilli and Lavender Bay, and all over the lower north shore. Plan your trip along Sydney’s jacaranda trail here.
The historic town of Grafton, located alongside the Clarence River on the NSW North Coast, is known as the 'Jacaranda Capital'. There are more than 2,000 jacaranda trees across town – including the oldest in the state – and they celebrate the iconic trees each year at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival. Held in late October and early November, it’s the longest-running flower festival in Australia. There are street parades and themed floats, markets, live performances, fireworks and even the crowning of a jacaranda queen.
A great way to see the purple blooms in Grafton is by bicycle. There are no steep hills in Grafton and not too much traffic, so riding the wide tree-lined streets under a canopy of blossoms is a magical way to experience the purple splendour. For something unique, float over Grafton in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the lilac-dotted landscape.
Follow the yellow canola trail
The Riverina region of southern NSW turns golden in spring, thanks to the canary-yellow canola flowers that cover rolling pastures and hillsides. From August to early October, follow the Canola Trail to explore idyllic country towns and villages – including Junee, Temora and Coolamon. Visit wineries and restaurants, and learn about the area’s history, all the while surrounded by blooms.
The countryside also puts on an incredible display of vibrant yellow canola fields across the Hilltops Region in spring. Travelling on the country roads between Cowra, Young, Boorowa and Harden you will find some great places to capture the incredible scenery. Find the picture-perfect spot on the guided Cowra Canola Tour, where you’ll be taken to the best photo opportunities and finish with a local wine tasting, or enjoy a scenic flight.
Note: If you decide to do a self-drive tour, please remember that safety is paramount. Be careful when stopping to take photos as many of the roads are highways, with large trucks and other vehicles travelling at 100 kph. Only pull over if it is safe to do so, remaining aware of your surroundings including other traffic, at all times.
Celebrate pretty pink cherry blossoms
Spring also heralds the arrival of one of the world’s most Instagrammable flowers, the cherry blossom. In Sydney, you can find these delicate pastel-pink blossoms in the Auburn Botanic Gardens. There’s even a Cherry Blossom Festival held here in August each year, with Japanese food, attractions, J-pop music and gardening experts.
Avid cherry blossom chasers will want to get to Cowra between September and October, when the trees at the picturesque Cowra Japanese Garden are at their most colourful. The garden’s Sakura Matsuri festival in September celebrates these blooms and the start of spring, and features performers from all over the world, Japanese art and craft demonstrations, traditional Taiko drumming, martial arts, tea ceremonies and more.
Make time for tulips
For a two-week window between September and October, the Southern Highlands becomes a kaleidoscope of colour during Tulip Time, one of Australia’s oldest floral festivals. Corbett Gardens in Bowral, the centrepiece of the festival, is mass-planted with more than 75,000 tulip bulbs and 15,000 annuals, resulting in a spectacular springtime display. Additionally, there are another 30,000 tulips planted across the shire, so you’ll see picturesque displays wherever you go.
In Tanja, just outside of Canberra, the Tulip Top Gardens come alive between September and October, when thousands of tulips, daffodils and other flowers blossom in the immaculately kept gardens. The gardens are pet-friendly, and there is entertainment and Dutch pancakes to add to the festive vibe.
See gorgeous gardens in bloom
You can find gardens blooming across the state no matter what time of year you visit, but during spring many come alive with rare flowers and lively festivals. The Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan in southwest Sydney is home to some of the country’s best native flower displays. Don’t miss the famous paper daisy display during September and October, as well as gardens filled with waratahs, banksia, flannel flowers and more than 260 species of wattle.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah is a wonderful place to see cool-climate plants thriving, and from late August to September, the annual daffodil display is a striking kaleidoscope of colour. Further west in Oberon, the Mayfield Garden is inspired by grand English country estates, its immaculately groomed grounds including themed groves, water features and a paddock-to-plate cafe. During the annual Spring Festival in September and October, visitors are given access to areas normally closed to the public, with 75 hectares of colourful gardens to explore.
Follow the scent of rose petals to the Hunter Valley Garden’s Rose Spectacular from October to November, where more than 35,000 rose bushes are on show. On the South Coast near Shoalhaven, the Merribee Gardens are open to the public every Sunday of October for their annual rose festival.
Go wild for wildflowers
Sometimes the most special floral sightings are not in manicured gardens, but when you see them in the wild. And in spring and summer, New South Wales is bejewelled with colourful wildflowers that decorate coastal walking tracks and thread through national parks. From rare flannel flowers on the Central Coast to alpine flowers that cover the Snowy Mountains after winter and outback floodplains bursting to life with billy buttons, find out where to search for the state’s most stunning wildflowers here.