Golden fields and purple rain: The best places in Australia to see jacarandas bloom and canola fields in spring

Golden fields as far as the eye can see and purple canopies with petals falling like violet snow. Spring has sprung and it's time to lose yourself in Australia's striking canola fields or beneath flowering jacaranda trees.

While both phenomena occur in spring be sure and put the canola fields at the top of your list as they're currently in full bloom. Late spring meantime is when many of NSW's streets explode with purple magnificence – signalling the start of warmer weather.

Sydney's ubiquitous jacarandas have become the stuff of urban legend. One story told to explain their abundance is that a matron at a Sydney hospital used to hand out jacaranda seedlings to new mothers. Another that soldiers bought jacarandas back to grieving widows after World War II. Whatever the reason for their existence be sure and hit the road (check for travel restrictions in your state) and catch yourself a glimpse of purple rain or golden fields this spring. You can hashtag your discovery or keep it all to yourself.

Fields of Gold

Golden fields of canola are found everywhere from West Australia's Wheat Belt, South Australia's Clare Valley and Victoria's South West. In NSW you'll find them in the Riverina and Central West regions.

Central West NSW

As far as scenic road trips go, it's hard to beat Central NSW where paddocks turn to green and gold as wheat, barley and canola blooms. A new guide to the region's 'fields of gold' helps travellers self-drive four different touring routes to see the best canola in Cowra, Canowindra and Grenfell. Alternatively take a hot air balloon flight over the picturesque Belubula Valley for a bird's eye view. See visitcowra.com.au/canola; aussieballontrek.com.au; balloonjoyflights.com.au; visitnsw.com

The Riverina NSW

Just north of Wagga Wagga and two hours from Canberra is the Riverina's triangle-shaped Canola Trail between Temora, Coolamon and Junee – taking in flowering canola crops juxtaposed against a bright blue sky.

Take a day trip and travel the tourist loop or take your time unearthing treasures at charming towns and villages along the way. See canolatrail.com.au; visitnsw.com

Clare Valley, South Australia

Each spring the rolling hills of the Clare Valley – one of South Australia's premier wine regions - turn to gold. Home to world-famous labels with a quintessential country backdrop, stop for Insta-worthy canola snaps then enjoy wine tasting at cellar doors.

See southaustralia.com

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Western Australia's Wheat Belt

The number of tourists flocking inland from Perth to see York's canola fields caused headaches for local farmers. PetTeet Park, one hour and 45 minutes' drive from WA's capital, came up with a solution – planting its own canola field for tourists to walk through. Although its canola experience has finished for the year, York's canola fields are still flowering for another two to three weeks. See experienceperth.com; petteetpark.com.au

Tips for photographing canola:

  • Canola fields bloom from late August to early October.
  • Look and photograph but don't enter private property without permission.
  • Stay behind fences as walking among canola fields can cause crop damage.
  • Only pull over and park where it's safe to do so.

Purple Rain

Sydney to Grafton NSW

Jacaranda season is in full swing between mid-October to mid-November.

While found in Queensland and NSW, Sydney and Grafton are particularly famous for the purple blooms. During its short season, pockets of Sydney explode into a sea of purple providing Insta-worthy photo ops at every turn. Stroll from the Royal Botanic Garden through Circular Quay and The Rocks. In Sydney's eastern suburbs, jacarandas bloom around Oxford St, Glenmore Rd and Five Ways in Paddington as well as the grounds of Vaucluse House. Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge eye-catching jacaranda-lined streets are found in Kirribilli (see the spectacular archway of purple blooms along McDougall Street) and Parramatta while Singleton in the Hunter Valley is home to Australia's largest jacaranda tree (John Street).

A 6.5 hour road trip north of Sydney is where you'll find Grafton's streets and parks blanketed in purple from the town's 2000 plus jacaranda trees. Covid-19 may have forced the cancellation of Grafton's annual 10-day Jacaranda Festival this year but that doesn't stop these purple beauties from blooming. You can download this nifty map to help you find them. See myclarencevalley.com; visitnsw.com

Tips for photographing jacarandas:

  • Shoot at sunrise or sunset for images with a golden hue.
  • Photograph a person or object beneath the canopy for contrast.
  • Jacarandas look striking against a contrasting blue sky.

See also: Better than the beach: Australia's ten most spectacular places to take a plunge

See also: Let loose those wows: The ten best views in Australia

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