We recently visited Canberra Floriade Flower Festival for the first time, and it was indeed my first time to Australia’s capital city!
If you’re wondering if the Canberra flower show is worth visiting, then read on to hear what we really thought of it. Plus, we must admit Canberra totally blew us away. There are so many things to do in Canberra, you could easily have an awesome weekend from Sydney here.
Read until the end as we let you in on some AWESOME HIDDEN GEMS YOU NEED TO VISIT on the way to Canberra as well, including Bowral Tulip Festival!
If you’re new to Australia and have no idea what Canberra Floriade Festival is, it’s Australia’s biggest flower festival and Canberra’s biggest event of the year. People flock from all over Australia and the world to visit this festival full of one million flowers.
Floriade is a free festival as well, something that continuously surprised us about Canberra as most of the attractions are free in the city.
Floriade dates run for a month between September and October.
Floriade in Canberra is more than a flower festival
We didn’t realise before arriving that Floriade is actually much more than a flower festival. There’s so much going on that we’ve listed our highlights so you can make note of what to expect.
10 things to do at Floriade Festival in Canberra
Find our top things to see and do at Floriade 2019 including our hidden gems!
1. Visit during October long weekend for Floriade Night Fest
The best time to visit Floriade festival is during the October long weekend because that is when NightFest is on. Floriade NightFest is a bit like a version of Vivid – a light festival within the flowers.
But it doesn’t stop there, NightFest Floriade also includes gigs from The Veronicas, Electric Fields, The Baker Boys and Busby Marou. There’s also loads of comedians taking the stage as well like Dave Hughes and Anthony Tomic. You’ll need to buy tickets for these performances, but find out more about it here.
NightFest takes place between 3 – 6 October 2019. You do have to pay for this event (it’s $31.95 per adult). Get your tickets here.
Want to know more about this Floriade night festival? Click here for more information.
2. Bring a picnic with you
Image via Forever New.
If there’s one thing you should do to be Floriade ready for this tulip festival in Canberra, make sure you bring a picnic along with you. Not only is it practical, it’ll save you money on buying from the food vendors and it will be totally Insta worthy amongst the backdrop of the flowers.
Grab the Feast & Flouish package from Ovolo Nishi here and bring the following along with you:
We absolutely love this picnic blanket which comes in an extra large and is of course waterproof.
If you want to go all out, check out this awesome backpack which contains absolutely everything you need for a beautiful picnic.
Complete the picnic look with this gorgeous floral headband which will make beautiful photos. If it’s not your thing then it would certainly look amazing on your kids.
3. Bring your dog to Dog’s Day Out in Canberra
Want to bring your dog to Floriade? Although this Canberra flower festival doesn’t allow dogs, on 13 October 2019 they are making a special exception.
Not only can you bring your dog to Floriade, there will be dog stores, loads of dog activities and even group photos taking place on this special date.
Find out more about Dog’s Day Out at Floriade here.
4.Yoga at Floriade
Image via Floriade.
There’s nothing better than finding some awesome yoga classes and what would be better than taking part in a yoga class at Floriade? We love the idea of soaking up all the smells of the flowers whilst doing yoga – just heaven!
Did we mention this is a FREE yoga class in Canberra too?
5. Loads of things to do for kids at Floriade
If you’re wondering whether your kids might get bored at a Floriade, fear not… there’s loads of things to do for kids at this flower festival!
From painting, to bilingual story time, you can even get your kids involved with gardening too!
6. Check out Gnome Knoll
We loved Gnome Knoll the most at Floriade. Get your kids involved and paint a gnome to be sold to the public for charity! There’s also a competition up for grabs for the best painted gnome!
Find out more about Gnome Painting at Floriade here.
7. Get a bargain at the Floriade Book Fair
If you’re a book lover, make sure you attend Floriade from Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 October. Life Line will be holding a mini bargain book fair to raise money for charity.
8. Go on the ferris wheel at Floriade
Make sure you go on the ferris wheel at Floriade so you’ll be able to see the flowers from a birds eye point of view. Also, it makes for some good Instagram photos too.
9. Check out the stalls at Floriade
There’s also plenty of stalls to look around selling various things like Floriade souvenirs, clothing, local produce and wine to name but a few.
10. Get your best Insta selfie
There’s loads of Insta worthy photos to be taken at Floriade from the backdrop of the flowers to the ferris wheel. Wear your best floaty outfit for a perfect Spring Insta shot! Tip – wear a plain block colour so you stand out amongst the flowers 😉
How to get around Floriade
There’s a train which will take you around the entire site so if you’re unable to walk, this is a good option.
How long should you spend at Floriade?
It took us under an hour to walk around Floriade but you could easily spend a whole afternoon here with your picnic to sit back and watch the entertainment on the main stage.
What not to expect at Floriade
The reality of how to get photos of the flowers Floriade.
To be honest, if you want to get any photos of the flowers at Floriade, you’re going to have to crouch right down like I did in the photos above.
In all honesty, we were expecting to see something a bit similar to the Lavender fields we saw back in England last Summer.
Or at least we were expecting to see loads of fields in the middle of the Canberra countryside. Floriade is more of a festival with loads of things going on like we mention above in this post, not rows and rows of flowers in fields because the festival is located in the middle of the city. Back at the Lavender Fields in England in 2018.
As a first timer to Canberra, I learnt very quickly that it’s an incredibly dry city – they are going through the worst drought in 120 years. I wondered how the festival was going to work when the ground was already so so dry? But they’ve made the most of what they have and it’s definitely worth still visiting.
There’s a stall selling photos of what we thought Floriade would look like. But these were taken near to the Bega Valley.
How to make the most of Floriade and the Spring gardens (our secret hidden gems)
Did you know there’s loads of other Spring gardens and festivals around Canberra to visit whilst Floriade is on?
We were told by one of our Instagram followers to check out another flower festival nearby called Tulip Tops Gardens and we loved it. We talk more in detail about it below.
To make the most of the Spring gardens around Sydney and Canberra, here are our top places to visit.
Start with the jacaranda trees in Kirribilli, Sydney
Read more about the jacaranda trees in Kirribilli here.
If you’re coming from Sydney, make sure you check out the jacaranda trees specifically in Kirribilli. McDougall Street is THE go to jacaranda street in Sydney.
Be aware, there will probably be a lot of Instagrammers lining up to take their photos but there’s a reason why – it’s a beautiful street!
If you’re looking to break up the drive from Sydney to Canberra, stop off to enjoy the beautiful Tulip Time Festival in Bowral. Every year over 100,000 tulips are planted in time to create one of Australia’s oldest floral festivals.
Make sure you check out Corbett Gardens – the highlight of Bowral Tulip Festival.
Bowral Tulip Time Festival runs from 24 September – 7 October 2019.
Also make the effort to visit the Red Cow Farm in Sutton Forest, which is just located outside of Bowral and on the way to Canberra. It looks absolutely stunning!How stunning does Red Cow Farm look?
Red Cow Farm is open for eight months of the year from September – May.
Visit Tulip Tops Gardens
Bywong – 30 minutes from Canberra
As we mentioned already in this post, we stopped by Tulip Tops Gardens which is just a 30 minute drive outside of Canberra on the way back to Sydney.
It does cost $18 to get in which is a bit steep but it’s worth it. We absolutely loved this garden for it’s authenticity and all round beautiful features. We arrived on the opening weekend and it was quiet.
It’s the type of gardens you’ll want to bring this picnic rug and spend the day to enjoy. We loved the classical music being played throughout the gardens which is a lovely touch. There’s loads of cherry blossom around and the gardens just has this sort of serenity to it, even though it’s literally just off the main highway from Sydney to Canberra. Make sure you stop here for sure!
Tulip Tops Gardens runs for a month between September to October. Open hours: 9am to 5pm (Last entry into gardens is 4.15pm).
Visit Binalong Fields
Binalong – 1 hour drive North of Canberra
Now we’re talking! If seeing beautiful canola fields is your thing, make sure you head just 1 hour north of Canberra to the small town of Binalong. Here you’ll be able to take the perfect Spring photo.
And a little bit further afield for more Spring Flowers in Australia…
If you’re looking for more Spring flower festivals in NSW area, then head up to Breenhold Gardens in Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains. They only open twice a year in Autumn and in Spring time. Breenhold Gardens is one of our favourite gardens to visit near Sydney as it really reminds us of the English countryside. It’s open from 21 September – 27 October 2019.