This is sponsored content for VisitCanberra.
Canberra might be the best spring weekend destination in Australia. Just three hours' drive from Sydney and with blossoming weather, it offers so many experiences for so many tastes, ages and budgets. Whether you love food and wine, music, art or the great outdoors, it's all on offer. Canberra not only suits travelling families, couples, friends and soloists, but each spring it offers one spectacular event that encapsulates the lot. Floriade, the capital's world-famous, and Australia's biggest celebration of spring is the one that has it all. Kicking off from Saturday 14 September, the festival runs for 30 full days and wraps up with Dogs' Day Out on Sunday 13 October.
Here are six ways to find your personal Floriade and have the best spring getaway ever.
Get your garden on
Incredible garden design's await at Floriade. Photo: VisitCanberra
Floriade's undeniable centrepiece is flora, glorious flora. You won't see such an abundance of blooms and flowerbeds mixed with live entertainment and great food anywhere else this side of the Chelsea Flower Show.
For Sydneysiders, Floriade is a lot closer than that English extravaganza but for garden lovers especially, it's no less spectacular. You can soak up inspiration for a spectacular spring garden at home by strolling the seemingly endless displays. But the best way to really experience the beauty and extract tips and tricks from the experts is to book in for a Floriade Garden Walking Tour. You get to explore the festival's flowerbeds with a member of the official gardening team, who'll share their knowledge on what it takes to produce the displays to what types of flowers are used. Questions are most welcome so come prepared.
There's one on every morning of the Floriade festival. Bookings are essential.
Capture the night
Delight in the after-dark spectacular of Floriade's NightFest. Photo: VisitCanberra.
Ah, Canberra in spring, you beautiful thing, with your early sunrises and later sunsets sparkling across beautiful Lake Burley Griffin, your air infused with the scent of fresh blooms and your spring weather producing cool, crisp mornings and sunny days followed by the kind of gorgeous temperate nights that beckon everyone outdoors.
Across the long weekend October 3 – 6, from 6.30pm till 10.30pm, NightFest celebrates the delights of those Canberra spring evenings, throwing open the window to a different view of Floriade 2019's World in Bloom theme.
Get out and about in Floriade's dark side, a nocturnal playground of interactive entertainment among the one million flowers in already stunning displays that take on a magical transformation through dazzling light installations – creating that perfect photo moment. Food and beverages, music, art, comedy and festive atmosphere are in abundant supply. BYO friends, imagination and good vibes.
Catch live music
Enjoy DJs and live music at Floriade's NightFest. Photo: VisitCanberra.
Canberra is home to fantastic venues for gigs, recitals and concerts. With a lively university and a heap of young professionals working in the capital, there are pubs, clubs and bars contributing to a thriving underground scene, while world class large-scale venues attract the bigger names. As do the festivals.
Floriade's NightFest 2019 is one of those, bringing a stellar line up of artists to Commonwealth Park in a series of night concerts not to be missed.
On October 4, the multi-award-winning duo, Electric Fields bring their stunning mix of pop, electronica and songs often sung in the traditional language of the Anangu people to NightFest. They are sharing the night with Australia's chart-smashing sisters, The Veronicas.
October 5 sees one of Australia's most loved live acts, BUSBY MAROU on the Saturday night stage.
Sunday October 6 is given over to Comedy NightFest, with a huge line up of comedians including Guy Montgomery, Becky Lucas, Dave Hughes and Urzila Carlson.
Fun-loving rides await at Floriade. Photo: VisitCanberra.
Amazing interactive museums and attractions, easy-access outdoor activities and a safe, welcoming community make this a family-friendly destination. And best of all, it's a short easy road trip from Sydney, so no "Are we there yet?" from the backseat.
If you come for Floriade you're enveloping the whole tribe in a cheery, colourful welcome that offers so much in the one location.
From the expansive lush lawns awaiting picnics, to the carnival rides beckoning excitement, the thousands of flowers ready to incite wide-eyed wonder to the free daytime workshops and events, there is something to keep everyone enthralled. Plus, there's a heap of activities designed just for kids – all free as well – and there's such a great variety of food available, even the fussiest eaters will be satisfied.
The Gnome painting competition at Floriade. Photo: VisitCanberra
Spring sunshine simply makes us feel better – and so does crafting. It's proven to be great for mental health, brain dexterity, is mood-enhancing and energising.
Floriade has an incredible program of opportunities to learn new hobbies and skills and create beautiful things along the way. The program of workshops is based around plants and their many uses – and it's right on point with currently popular pastimes.
For instance, experience the principles and techniques of fermentation, creating foods containing pro-biotics that soothe the gut and boost immunity.
Catch up with friends
Wine lovers know the Canberra region's wineries produce what is considered by many to be the best shiraz in Australia, among other excellent varietals. In recent years, a slew of craft breweries has joined the region's stellar vintners in producing unique boutique imbibements, adding further excitement to Canberra's culinary scene. Across Floriade, there's a focus on the local artisan food and drink offerings
Get the gang together at Capital Brewing Co.'s Floriade Pub, where they'll be serving award-winning local brew on tap and by the tin, and running lawn games and competitions. Wine aficionados can sip the beautiful wines from Canberra's boutique, single-vineyard winery, Contentious Character. Those after something a little stronger can pop by the Underground Spirits bar for a cheeky cocktail.
Floriade 2019 runs for 30 days from Saturday 14 September until Sunday 13 October. With magnificent floral displays, live music, workshops and mouth-watering food and more, there is something on offer for everyone. Plus, visit over the long weekend and explore Floriade's dark side at NightFest – a night full of perfect picture moments. Walk through the illuminated flowerbeds and enjoy the larger than life installations before grabbing some dinner and a beverage to enjoying while taking in the main stage entertainment. With so much on in Canberra this spring, now is the time to book your getaway and enjoy a weekend of spectacular events, delicious food and so much more. Plan you weekend now at https://visitcanberra.com.au/spring-into-canberra.