A spring time spectacular at the same time as Floriade
Tulip Top Gardens is located 20 minutes north of Canberra's CBD, over the border into NSW. This annual springtime festival is held on a 10 acre private property and run by a local family, who spend all year preparing for this month-long event. As this is a privately-run garden there is an entry fee to enter the gardens, which includes unlimited cups of instant coffee and tea, as well as local musicians playing amongst the tulips.
If you are in Canberra to visit Floriade, then the Tulip Top Gardens should be the next attraction to visit on your itinerary. In complete contrast to Floriade, this tranquil garden has classical music lightly playing over the speakers and a peaceful aura over the gardens. This quiet oasis will slow your pace as you appreciate the beauty of the sea of flowers everywhere you turn. Tulip Top Gardens has been open to the public for 20 years and began with a dream. To learn more, see them featured on Better Homes and Gardenshere.
Source: Tulip Top Gardens website
On a personal note, when I visited the gardens for the first time a couple of years ago, I was overwhelmed by the beauty, variety and colour of the tulips planted in curved, natural garden beds. Although I enjoyed Floriade, this spring spectacular is a completely different experience, with the blooms set in a natural environment where you can quietly wander the grounds and marvel in the magnificence. With hundreds of blossoming trees in flower over the top of the tulips, it creates a colourful scene - perfect for photography.
For a higher view of the gardens, there is a viewing platform that you can walk up to and see the property from a new perspective. The surrounding countryside is also a beautiful sight, with the grounds nestled in a valley with rural views and rolling hills. The walk up to the viewing platform isn't for the faint-hearted however, as it is a steep uphill walk that will get the heart pumping!
Looking back down the hill...
...view from the top
Back in the gardens, there is a tinkling waterfall to sit by and benches to simply sit and appreciate the unique setting. If you grow tulips yourself, you may find colours and species of tulips that you may not have ever seen before.
Whilst at the gardens, shop for unique gift items at their Tulip Top Treasures marquee gift shop, buy a Tulip Top Gardens calendar or shop for plants at their Nursery. You can choose to dine in their café, or for something sweet, there is also a Dutch pancakes stand set amongst the tulips. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own picnic and spread out on the grass. Alcohol is also permitted, if you want to enjoy the view with a champagne, beer or wine with your picnic. See here for details.
Outdoor dining area with floral views in all directions
Tulip Top Gardens is a highlight of the year for many people - myself included. After enjoying the spring celebration of Floriade, allow some time to drive out to these gardens to experience the beauty and colour of this oasis in the countryside. Tulip Top Gardens are located just off the Federal Highway to Sydney, with large flags adorning the highway to show visitors where to turn off. After driving down a rural road, follow the cars and find this hidden treasure, off the beaten track.
If you wonder whether it's worth the drive and entry price to have a look at this private garden, just have a look at the glowing reviews on the Tulip Top Gardens Facebook. Once you have been once, you will want to go again next year and experience it all over again...
A hidden treasure, lovingly created by just one local family