Tulip Top Gardens is located just twenty minutes from Canberra's CBD, over the border into NSW. This annual springtime festival, which is run at the same time as Floriade, is held on a 10 acre private property and run by a local family dedicated to bringing the beauty of spring to the community. As this is a privately run garden there is an entry fee to enjoy the gardens, however a sausage sizzle is included in the price (between 11am - 2pm) and there is free tea and coffee available to enjoy at all day.
If you are in Canberra enjoying 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 and make you appreciate the beauty of this sea of flowers, just minutes from a busy highway.
Last year I visited the gardens for the first time and I must say, I was overwhelmed with the beauty. 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.
There is a 70 metre viewing platform that you can walk up to enjoy the view of the valley and blossoming trees from above. The surrounding countryside is also a beautiful sight, with the grounds nestled in a valley with the Federal Highway to Sydney within sight. The walk up to the viewing platform isn't for the faint hearted however, as it is a steep walk up to the lookout.
In the grounds there is also a tinkling waterfall to sit by and benches to simply sit and take in the view. The variety of colours within the tulips is breathtaking, with varieties of tulips planted here that many gardening enthusiasts enjoying the grounds had never 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 buy their own range of plants at their Nursery. If you visit on a Wednesday, all plants are 10% off. Check the Tulip Tops Facebook page for more details.
During the month long event there are also musicians and entertainment playing in the gardens on certain days. See here for a full list of entertainment to enjoy, included in the entry price. There are also Special Theme Days planned throughout the spring event, so ensure you check the websites before you visit to get the most of out of this unique experience.
Entertainment from 2015. Source: Tulip Tops Facebook
If you prefer something different to the free sausage sizzle on offer, they also have a café on site with a spacious and shady area to enjoy your meal whilst looking at the floral displays in each direction. For something sweet, there is also a pancake & coffee parlour set amongst the tulips or you are welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy in the gardens.
Tulip Top Gardens is a highlight of the year for many people, myself included. After enjoying the blooms, markets, exhibitions and displays at Floriade, make some time to drive out to these gardens to enjoy 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.
Allow a few hours to appreciate the beauty of this spring spectacular. The colour and variety of blooms is something to take in slowly. Help yourself to a cuppa and soak up the sun and atmosphere of these glorious gardens. It is worth the trip.