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Few sights compare with a drift of sparkling bulbs after the dour months of winter. As the cold starts to thaw, it's time to start planning picnics and walks amongst blue hyacinths, bold tulips, dainty daffodils, glittering azaleas, and cherry trees humming with bees and busting with spring-time magic. Considering that spring's joyful spark is as brief as it is intense, a bit of forward planning and research should land you in the right place at the right time.
For blossom aficionados, below are some of NSW's best venues to partake of springs fragrant and ethereal offerings.
This springtime hit list includes venues close to Sydney as well as options further afield for those prepared to roam the countryside in search of the heart and soul of spring.
Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Cowra Japanese Garden
Weeping Cherry at Cowra Japanese Garden
When: Saturday 28th September 2013, 10am-4pm Where: Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Ken Nakajima Place, Binni Creek Road, Cowra, NSW Phone: 02 6341 2233 Website:Cowra Garden or Cowra Information Centre
This annual event is well attended and requires bookings. If you are staying overnight, book your accommodation in advance. In its 24th year, the Cherry Blossom Festival features a Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese flower arranging, kite flying, martial arts, and Sumo wrestling displays.
It's also possible to visit the garden at other times. For those wishing to view cherry blossoms in flower, late September to early October is generally recommended, or call the garden and ask if the blossoms are out yet. In later spring, azaleas, camellias and wisteria are in bloom. The garden is open seven days a week, 8.30am-5pm (closed Christmas Day) so it's possible to visit anytime of the year.
The twelve acre Cowra Japanese Garden was designed by world renowned architect Ken Nakajima and is a replica of the first Japanese landscape garden built in Tokyo by the first Shogun Tokugawa in the 16th century A.D. Cowra Japanese Garden is the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere.
For ticket prices to the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, click on this link.
Where's Batlow you ask? Ever looked at the label on your apple? In answer to your question, Batlow is an agricultural town famous for its apples. Located on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Batlow lies within the shire of Tumut and is an hour's drive (or 112 km) from Wagga Wagga.
The Batlow Apple Blossom Festival is an annual event held on the third weekend of October. This community festival features food, markets, art, photography, live music, demonstrations, and entertainment for the kids. The festival concludes with a fireworks display.
Entry to the festival grounds is by gold coin donation.
For a little bit more information check out the website above or go to this link to send an email enquiry to the festival organisers.
Amazingly, this massive 252 hectare botanical garden is free to enter and has grassy spots aplenty just waiting for a picnic blanket.
Roam around the drifts of daffodils and jonquils in late August to early September and enjoy the blossoms of ornamental fruit trees around mid September to mid October. With blue drifts of catnip and a stunning rose and wisteria arbour following that, the spring sights are well spread out.
When: Tuesday 24 September to Monday 7 October 2013 Where: Corbett Gardens, Corner of Merrigang Street and Bendooley Street, Bowral Website:Tulip Time website or publication Phone: (02) 4871 2888
This two week festival provides the chance to see over 60 000 tulips up close and personal at Corbett Garden (though kindly know there is an entry fee), and visit beautiful private gardens in their prime. Partake in a range of activities and events including a street parade and fair, live music, a Bangers sausage cook-off and Breakfast in the Park.
For more details including festival events program and prices, click on the websites above.
Leura Gardens Festival and Leura Village Fair
Leura Village Fair, 2012 - stalls amidst the cherry blossoms.
When: [Leura Gardens Festival] Saturday 5 October to Sunday 13 October 2013, 9.30am to 4.30pm daily.
[The Fair] Saturday 12th (9am-4.30pm) and Sunday 13th October (9am-3.30pm)
Leura Gardens Festival features entry into ten of the best private gardens in Leura including the National Trust operated Everglades garden. On top of that there's plant sales, horticultural talks, music and art. For more information including admission costs, click out the website.
Leura Village Fair occurs in time with the flowering of the cherry blossom on the nature strip of the town's mall and with the Leura Garden Festival.
The Fair is held in the main street of Leura Village and features stalls, food, arts and crafts and street entertainment. For more information go to the Leura Village website.
Leura is located 90 minutes west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, and is the town immediately prior to Katoomba.
Bathurst Spring Spectacular Garden Weekend
Image courtesy of the Bathurst Spring Spectacular website.
Where: Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney When: Spring Website:Royal Botanic Gardens Cost: The botanic garden is free to enter.
Each spring Sydney's own Royal Botanic Garden in the heart of the city boasts a visual feast of tulips, daffodils, pansies, ornamental fruit trees, flowering may, wisteria, and other spring blossoms. The perfumed display can be found at the Spring Walk. Expect to be surrounded by many others enjoying the blossoms.
The best time to see the Spring Walk in bloom is September to early October, however varying weather conditions can alter that.
Enjoy the sight of over 100 000 blossoming annuals in this inspirational and stunning garden encompassing twenty-five acres and ten feature gardens. This year the spring festival has an oriental theme, with Asian inspired cooking demonstrations, topiaries, floral displays, talks, tours, workshops and more on offer.
If that isn't enough, in the same period the garden is hosting a massive weekend party to celebrate its' tenth birthday. Pay the entry fee and join in for pony, camel and amusement rides, face painting and birthday cake.
For rose-lovers, the Rose Spectacular, featuring a staggering 35,000 rose bushes (56 varieties) in bloom in the 1.5 acre Rose Garden, is a must.
If you haven't been here before, this Winner of Best Significant Tourist Attraction, NSW (2004, 2005, 2006) and Hall of Fame (2007), is worth a visit anytime of the year. It's also well loved by children and the masses in general. Expect mega-crowds in the school holidays.
Check out the informative Hunter Valley Gardens website listed above. It should have all the additional info you need.
The Hunter Valley Gardens' Story-Book garden - kid-friendly.
The Australian Garden Show Sydney will held from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 September 2013 and will be set in the stunning surrounds of Sydney's Centennial Park, which will herald the start of the floral and garden shows that take place each year throughout NSW. It's a must see event for everyone from experienced gardeners, landscapers and designers as well as novices, children, and families.
The Australian Garden Show Sydney will include a series of talks and workshops with highly respected international and national gardening experts that will attract both The spring timing provides nurseries, display gardeners, retailers and visitors with the ultimate showcase that will rival the world for its display of rare and amazing horticulture, from intimate flowering blooms to towering landscape designs.
The show will feature a grand floral pavilion, retail displays and a potting tent for children. By night the area will transform into a lounge bar, creating the perfect meeting place in charming surrounds.
Tickets available from Ticketek. Open 10am - 10pm
Take Bus #378 from Central. Main access from the Paddington Gate.