If you are visiting Canberra, or are a local of the Capital city, Floriade is the highlight of spring - but where else can you go afterwards? Of course, Canberra has a huge array of attractions to visit, however, if you are looking for even more springtime celebrations, there is plenty more to see around the region. These are my personal favourite places to visit each spring in Canberra, however, if you have found somewhere else that you love to immerse yourself in and smell the flowers, please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your floral discovery. Where is your favourite place to visit after Floriade?
Appreciate the beauty and colour of spring at the National Arboretum. Image: Original photos from the National Arboretum Facebook
The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection is located at the National Arboretum, less than 10 minutes from the city. The arboretum itself is a beautiful place to visit each spring, with a variety of gardens to walk through and many of the 94 forests of endangered trees coming out in blossom. In particular, check out the striking Yoshino Cherry trees in Forest 17, on the way up to the Visitors Centre. Next to the centre is the quiet and reflective National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, which has free entry. Slow down your pace and take in the beauty of these stunning and unique miniature trees and appreciate the time taken to train each one into its shape. In spring, many come out in full bloom. This example below was an azalea which was in bloom on my last visit. Despite being twisted and turned and created into an artistically-designed bonsai, nothing could hold back nature and its strong will to flower. Simply beautiful.
Although the trees are miniature, the flowers are full-size, so Bonsai artists need to choose specific varieties that have a particularly small flower
Lake Cruises are a popular way to glide past all the flowering blossom trees along Queen Elizabeth Terrace, which is located in the Parliamentary Triangle. Lake Burley Griffin is alive with colour during spring with a range of colour, particularly white blossoms, lining the banks of the iconic lake. There are two lake cruise companies to choose from - the larger Southern Cross Cruises and the smaller Lake Burley Griffin Cruises. Both of them provide an interesting commentary about the city, as you relax in the spring sunshine and take in the Floriade atmosphere in Canberra.
Take a walk or a lake cruise to appreciate the spring blossoms along Queen Elizabeth Terrace
The House of Representatives Formal Garden is located on the eastern side of Parliament House and is free to enter, to enjoy the formal layout and colourful plantings. Many people visit Parliament House and don't know that the garden exists, however, if you take a short walk around the side of the building you will discover a quiet garden to simply sit and eat your lunch, or read a book amongst the blooms. It is often the venue for weddings and parliamentary events, however the rest of the time it is open for the public to enjoy. Each spring, Parliament House also offers Spring Tours of their private internal courtyards as well as the opportunity to talk to the gardeners who look after the property. See here for details.
Take a book and relax in the sunshine at the House of Representatives Formal Garden
Tulip Top Gardens is another impressive floral event which occurs at the same time as Floriade, over the border in Sutton in NSW. This private 10 acre property is looked after all year by one family, who then open their gates in spring for the public to view the tulip spectacular. This is a completely different experience to Floriade and many people prefer it over the two, as it is a quiet place to walk around and appreciate the plantings, with classical music playing lightly overhead. There is an entry fee to get in, which includes tea and coffee.
Tulip Top Gardens in Sutton - a relaxed way to appreciate spring
For visitors and locals alike, spring is a time to celebrate in the Capital. Floriade is the biggest celebration of them all and it sets the tone for the whole season, as thousands of visitors from across the country descend onto Canberra to celebrate. If you have a favourite place to celebrate spring, please leave a comment at the top of this article.
For me, it can be as simple as sitting in the garden with a hot cup of tea and watching the tulips unfurling their petals in the sunshine...
Well Sue I had absolutely no idea. This is exactly what I wanted to know..where are some other gardens or flowers to view. We are coming to Canberra for a family trip to see Floriade and can't wait to see all the spring blooms. One tip could you please give distance of these places as helps with planning a day trip. Thanks so much for the info. Regards Kat.