Western Sydney writer, trier of new things and lover of food
Published September 24th 2014
Spring-time is in the air at Southern Highlands
The annual Tulip Festival during spring-time is a must see in Bowral and this year marks the 54th year. What started out as a garden of only 500 tulips in 1961 has grown to 100,000 tulip bulbs and 20,000 annuals, bringing in 65,000 visitors from all over Australia and overseas into the Southern Highlands.
The tulips are displayed in Corbett Gardens, which celebrates 100 years this year. Corbett Gardens was started by Ada Corbett who turned an empty corner block near her home into a garden and then later, a public park. After a grant of £350 was given by the Department of Lands in 1911, and shrubs donated by the Sydney Botanical Garden and a bandstand erected, the garden was officially opened in December 16, 1914.
Bowral is about 1.5 hours' drive from Sydney and the festival runs from 13 September to 6 October. This year is our second year of visiting the festival and each time we've visited, we've been blessed with perfect, cloudless Spring weather.
Besides the 19 beds of beautiful tulips displays, there are market stalls selling gourmet food products, clothes, skin care, homewares and other bric-a-bracs, entertainment for the kids, live music and daily talks tents by garden designers, horticulturalists, florists, authors and more, and topics include how to grow a vegetable garden and how to forage flowers from your garden.
Our kids loved the garden and were enthralled by the kids' entertainment segment with characters singing songs and dancing on stage. They also loved posing by the flowers and posing by the giant guide dog statue (our 4 year old swore he could see its eyes moving) as the festival is sponsored by the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Association. For lunch we enjoyed a sausage sizzle and sandwiches but the onsite café also sells assorted sandwiches, cakes, coffees, drinks and snacks.
There are also other activities in Bowral to celebrate the festival and their website has lots of ideas for activities and things to see and do in the area for the remainder of the school holidays. We also visited a free art exhibition at the Old Bowral Court House (1 Bendooley St, Bowral) by Danish artist Lina Hansen who showcased her amazing artworks and jewellery pieces. The free exhibition is opened until September 28 daily from 10am to 4pm.