If 2020 has got you feeling a bit down, here's an idea to brighten things up: take a country drive through the rolling hills and golden fields of canola that burst to life between late August and early October each year (depending on the weather and mother nature's mood). The fields of vivid colour are right on Canberra's doorstep and getting out to see them pop with colour is the perfect excuse for a relaxing weekend drive. And to make it even better, they just happen to pop up in areas famous for their fantastic regional produce so pack your empty esky and buy from some bush businesses while you're out and about so you can feel good and do good as you explore.
The Hilltops Region
The towns of Boorowa, Young and Harden-Murrumburrah are an easy day trip from Canberra. If you head that way early in spring, you'll feel the stress and boredom of lockdown life melting away as you wind through the hills and leave the city behind. Among the gently rolling fields studded with sheep, you'll find plenty of canola without having to look too hard. No matter how often you visit, the shock of yellow as you round a bend or crest a hill is breathtaking and feels a world away from city life. The Hilltops Council have created three themed, self-guided trails to help you explore the region. The themed drives focus on history and heritage, food and wine and nature and outdoors so you can choose the route best suited to your interests before you hit the road. All three self-drive Hilltops trails will lead you through stunning scenery and historic country towns guaranteed to give a taste of the local food and wine with a side of country charm.
The Canola Trail which winds through Junee, Coolamon and Temora so this canola Hunt is a little further afield from Canberra but well worth the drive. If you choose this area, it makes for a perfect weekend away with Wagga Wagga providing a great base to explore the nearby towns and villages. As well as its natural beauty, the Riverina is a food lover's dream with cheese, liquorice and chocolate, olives, wine and even famous pies just waiting to be devoured.
If you're ready to break out of the lockdown lethargy and get on board the wave of exploring local this year - the little towns and villages of the Canberra region are open for business and ready to welcome you. If you want to make sure you time your trip for maximum yellow field photo opportunities, the folks at The Canola Trail can send you up to the minute canola alerts to make sure your trip is more golden than green. If you need any more convincing, picture the selfie of you skipping near a bright yellow field of canola under a big blue country sky - a picture-perfect weekend escape!
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For more information on how to support bush businesses, check out #buyfromthebush here.