If you haven't noticed already, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (as the English poet John Keats so somberly put it in 1819) is now here in Canberra. Cooler temperatures, deciduous trees beginning to swap their vivid green finery for robes of gold and red splendour, the frenzied heat of those long summer days and nights slowing down... Autumn has come, and I think there's no better place to savour its splendour than right here in Canberra.
Autumn is a beautiful time in Canberra, with so much to experience before the long, cold darkness of winter hits. Here are eight ways to celebrate this season of falling leaves.
1. Enjoy the autumn trees across our city. You'll find them everywhere: in Griffith, Manuka, Yarralumla, Lyneham, the National Arboretum, along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, near Questacon, along Lady Denman Drive in Yarralumla, at Weston Park, along Lake Tuggeranong, around Westfield Woden, at the Cotter River, and your local neighbourhood. Autumn trees make Canberra a truly enchanting place at this time of the year. Stroll under the trees, take photos of them, write poems about them, and be like a kid again and kick up the piles of fallen leaves on the ground. It's okay, it's autumn, and you're allowed to!
2. Have a picnic under the autumn trees. Pack a picnic, head on over to some glorious picnic spots around Canberra, and enjoy these crisp blue autumn days before the weather gets too cold. Cotter Avenue along the Cotter River is perfect for picnics under the autumn trees. Weston Park, Fadden Pines, Glebe Park, the National Arboretum, Canberra Nara Peace Park and the nearby Lennox Gardens and Canberra Beijing Garden are also lovely places for autumn picnics.
3. Celebrate autumn at Canberra's autumn festivals.
Canberra celebrates some pretty big events during autumn. Such as the Enlighten Festival which includes the incredible Canberra Balloon Spectacular, Canberra Day, the Night Noodle Markets, Canberra Symphony in the Park, and Skyfire. So get out there and enjoy them!
4. Go camping. Autumn seems to be a very popular time for camping. And Canberra is the best place to do it, especially if you've never been camping before. We're not called the Bush Capital for nothing as we are surrounded by nature reserves and a national park that makes up about 45% of the ACT. Furthermore, the campgrounds in the ACT are really well maintained. So with temperatures cooling down and all that bush just a short drive away from the city and suburban Canberra, why not pack your camping gear and spend a weekend away camping with the family? Woods Reserve, Honeysuckle Creek, and the Cotter Campground are really good spots for family and first time camping.
5. Visit a winery. Autumn is the perfect time to escape the city and spend the day exploring our wine region. Yes, Canberra actually does have a wine region! It may not be as well known as the Hunter Valley or Barossa Valley, but the Canberra region has actually been growing grapes and producing wines since the 1840s. We are now home to more than 140 vineyards with more than 40 wineries, all within easy driving distance from the city. And we produce award-winning national and international wines, such as those from Clonakilla, Lerida Estate, Helm Wines, and Shaw Vineyard Estate.
There'll be lots happening during Canberra Wine Week from April 5-14, 2019 so save those dates and keep your eyes and ears open for details of events. For more information on Canberra's wine region and the many wineries you can explore, go here.
6. Explore the countryside.
One of the wonderful things about Canberra is that the countryside is just right outside our doorsteps. Revel in autumn in the countryside and explore Yass, Bungendore, Braidwood and Goulburn. Drive further afield and breathe in the fresh country air at Bowral and the Southern Highlands. You can also drive out west and visit the absolutely stunning Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre in all its autumn glory.
7. Indulge in an autumn high tea.
A high tea is lovely any time of the year. So why not indulge in one this autumn? The Hyatt changes its high tea menu every season so you'll be sure to enjoy an autumn flavour in their high tea. Also, why not head out to Bywong and enjoy a delightful country high tea at the Scented Rose garden and Teahouse?
8. Feast on apples and pumpkins!
Enjoy the autumn harvests and join the popular Collector Pumpkin festival on May 5, 2019 and Loriendale Orchard's annualApple Day on March 30. You can also visit Tanbella Orchard in Pialligo and pick your own apples. Other Pialligo orchards open to the public for fruit picking can be found here.
The long, hot, lazy, carefree days of summer may be over now and Canberra's long dark winter looming ahead of us in the not too distant future, so for the moment, let's just delight in this in-between season, this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. As the poet Rose Fyleman wrote, "Winter is coming and everyone grieves, but isn't it lovely kicking up leaves!"