Inaugurated in 1934, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival is the oldest floral festival still celebrated in Australia. Held annually in Grafton, in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November, the Jacaranda Festival 2016 will be from 29 October to 6 November, and is now in its 81st year. It is still a few months ahead, so there is still time to plan for this world-renowned festival.
On 29 October, at the start of the Festival, the 9-day Open Gardens begin. It showcases private and business gardens. Daily bus tours are available and refreshments served at selected stops. In the evening of the 29th, the Festival Queen is crowned at the Market Square in a magical night steeped in tradition.
On 30 October, Market Square is abuzz with Grafton Retrofest, a celebration of everything vintage. The Miss Retrofest Pin-up Competition spices up the day.
On 31 October, treat yourself, family and friends to the Jacaranda Afternoon Tea. Enjoy freshly-baked scones, petite sandwiches, and other treats while sipping tea.
On 1 November, meet the Queen's party at the Market Square, pose for a souvenir photo, and find something from the pop-up souvenir store.
On 2 November, you may want to get some rest, but the Open Gardens would be a better alternative. This is your chance to explore Grafton and the Clarence Valley, drop by the Market Square and say hi to the Queen's party.
On 3 November, Prince Street and Market Square comes alive early at 6am. It is a day full of entertainment. Shops dress up, there is a market, and it is the day for the South Grafton Club Riverside Concert.
On 5 November, the Float Parade is capped with the ticketed Picnic in the Park, an annual showcase of local talent and fresh produce. Entertainment is available for the young-at-heart, while kids can have fun at the jumping castle.
From Sydney, Grafton is approximately 616 kilometers, a good almost-seven-hours of driving. You don't need to go straight, a good option would be to divide the travel into several legs, find a town to stay overnight, and get some time to experience local life. It would be most pleasant travel. Click here for other options of going to Grafton.