With the arrival of spring, Victoria’s gardens, parks, paddocks and pastures burst to life with seasonal blooms flowering in the golden sunshine. From visiting botanic gardens within Melbourne to heading further afield on a wildflower viewing road trip, springtime is the right time to visit Victoria.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival (14 September – 10 October 2017) is a colourful celebration of tulip growing. Visitors can witness the spectacle of almost a million tulips spread out over 25 acres of farmland at this popular event, located 60 minutes from Melbourne. A rotating list of food, wine, entertainment and activities ensures all ages are taken care of, with Over the Rainbow week seeing twice daily performances of the Wizard of Oz and Dutch Weekend celebrating the farm’s European heritage with traditional Dutch food, dance and costume.
Located in Spa Country just ten minutes north of Daylesford, Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm is a rustic property home to European-style gardens that come to life in spring. For a $4 entry fee guests can wander the grounds of the property, admiring the 1850s stone buildings and romantic gardens that have been carefully curated for generations. While the lavender may not be in full bloom until summer, spring is still a good time to visit, with the La Primavera Festival (22 October 2017) featuring parades, song, dance and workshops. With the onsite café providing everything from lavender scones with jam and cream to grazing platters overflowing with olives, cheese and cured meats, Lavandula is ripe for a weekend getaway.
Holding open days once a month throughout the warmer weather, Langwarrin’s Cruden Farm has been in the Murdoch Family for generations. The pride and joy of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, these peaceful country gardens set on a 133 acre property are especially beautiful in spring when magnolias, azaleas, roses and wisteria are in bloom. During open days guests can ramble around the fragrant gardens independently or on a guided tour – either way the peaceful ornamental lakes, pastoral paddocks and old stables provide a slice of serenity only 50km from Melbourne city.
Open every day except Christmas Day, Sherbrooke’s Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens provide an idyllic place for a walk, picnic or afternoon of contemplation. Rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and kalmias are all in bloom during springtime, with linking paths providing connections to ornamental lakes and water features. Native birdlife is abundant all throughout this part of the Dandenong Ranges, with colourful rosellas and king parrots easily spotted in the canopy.
Located on the edge of Bendigo’s historic city centre, sprawling Rosalind Park offers 60 acres of green space for locals and visitors to meander. Lush lawns, towering gums and manicured gardens provide the ideal backdrop for dog walking, picnicking and lazy afternoons of book reading in the sunshine. Springtime floral displays can be found in the conservatory and impressive tulip garden, with thousands of bulbs planted by local horticulturalists in autumn for guests to view and enjoy in spring.
An easy drive or train ride from Melbourne, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens was established in the mid-1800s and has grown to include one of the world’s most impressive begonia collections. Enjoying prime position right on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat Botanical Gardens is visited by resident native birds all year round. Visitors can wander the impressive grounds to find the blooming azalea and camellia gardens and visit the conservatory where spring bulbs bloom during spring.
Home to more than 8500 plant species from all over the world, this easily-accessible inner city sanctuary provides locals and visitors with a spot to relax, exercise, picnic and play. Spring is an exceptionally good time to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens with warmer weather encouraging new plant growth and showing the impressive rose collection in its best light. Whether going on a free Spring Discovery guided tour of the gardens, heading off on a romantic punt ride on the ornamental lake or enjoying high tea with a view of the surrounding gardens and lawns, the Royal Botanic Gardens is a hotspot for garden enthusiasts during spring.
An often overlooked branch of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Gardens is home to many species of Australian wildflowers including native daisies and lilies. A 50 minute drive from the city centre, Cranbourne Gardens is a good spot for people of all ages and life stages to see wildflowers at their springtime best. The 3.5km Possum Gully Wildflower Walk is a good way for fit and able visitors to view native wildflowers in bloom, while the Garden Explorer open air vehicle offers the chance to see more without getting too tired.
Other areas of interest
Visitors don’t necessarily have to visit manicured gardens or curated botanic gardens to see flowers in springtime. Travellers can hire a car and hit the road to Victoria’s regional areas to view wildflowers out the car window, at scenic lookouts and while bushwalking through national parks.
Gippsland is a prime spot for hikers to walk and camp amid wildflowers, with the remote beauty of Wilson’s Promontory National Park giving nature lovers plenty to admire during springtime. Orchids, wattle and heathland are all present on the scenic walking trails during spring, with native wildlife like emus, kangaroos, echidnas and a dazzling array of birds also calling this picturesque part of regional Victoria home.
Home to one third of Victoria’s flora, the Grampians is a wildflower hotspot during spring. Visitors can see pink purple and orange peas, fields of bright yellow canola, bluebells and more.
In the High Country, Dinner Plain sees winter’s snowfall give way to native wildflowers, with several trails offering the perfect way for bushwalkers and mountain bikers to enjoy a day out in nature, surrounded by a vibrant palette of native blooms.