Already dreaming of spring? Spring is a wonderful time to travel in Australia – the weather is warming up, flowers are blooming and nature is coming to life. Festivals fill the calendar while wonderful outdoor experiences await in every corner of the country.
Here is a list of some of the most sensational things to do in Australia in spring.
Go wild for wildflowers
Between late July and November Western Australia is transformed into a vibrant display of wildflowers in bloom. The state is home to more than 12,000 species, 50 per cent of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and there are many nature trails and heritage activities to explore.
Coalseam Conservation Park is one of the best sites to walk among blooming wildflowers and delight your senses. While there you can also discover Western Australia’s first coal mine, and view fossilised marine life in the riverbank. Taking a stroll along one of the many trails will help you immerse fully in the beauty of the spring season.
Another option is to download a map and take off on a self-driving wildflower tour put together by Wildflower Country, which will take you up and down the coast for the best views of this stunning display. Midlands Route is the most central, but there are plenty more to discover.
Along the way there’s also a packed schedule of events to check out, including the Bloom Festival in Katanning. With a month of activities on offer there’s something for everyone, including displays, exhibitions, guided walks, and more.
Seek out the Southern Lights
Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, is a natural light display caused by high-energy particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. It often appears as spirals, rays and flickers covering the whole sky, and is a truly breathtaking sight. The best time to see the phenomenon is during the spring equinox, travelling as far south in Tasmania as possible for broad views of the horizon.
One of the top places for this experience is Bruny Island, a half-hour drive from Hobart and free from light and city pollution. Visitors can climb the stairs at The Neck for unobstructed gazing over the landscape below. Whether or not you see the Southern Lights, the view of the island, beach and stars will be well worth the journey.
Or you can try Satellite island, named for its excellent star-gazing experiences. Only 34 hectares, it has been converted into a private hotel, meaning visitors will need to rent the whole island to stay there. Holding up to eight guests, staying on the island is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
To ensure the best chance of spotting these breathtaking coloured lights, the Facebook group Aurora Australis Tasmania Alert NOW is the platform where watchers post to-the-second accounts of aurora sightings across Australia.
Have a blooming good time
Although it’s one of Australia’s lesser-known flower festivals, Tulip Time in Bowral is not to be missed. From 16 September to 3 October this year, the historic town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales will come to life with a spectacular display of 75,000 tulips in Corbett Gardens. This year’s theme is ‘EXPLORE’, and it’s set to feature beautiful flower displays, stalls, entertainment and more. The area is easily accessible from Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra and the South Coast, making it a perfect day trip.
Visitors can also experience Tulips After Dark every Friday and Saturday evening throughout the festival. Sip on wines from local Southern Highlands wineries as you stroll among the illuminated tulips, while listening to bands playing from the Victorian pagoda.
Spring is also a wonderful time to explore the rest of the Southern Highlands, and the quaint towns of Mittagong, Berrima and Robertson are just a short drive away, surrounded by picturesque pastures and wilderness. There are plenty of wineries, cellar doors, cafes, restaurants and farm gates to choose from, including the Robertson Cheese Factory, Centennial Vineyards Restaurant and the Berrima General Store & Cafe. For those looking to get out and about, there are great walking trails in the region as well as stunning Fitzroy Falls.
Soak it up in hot springs
Located only 90 minutes from Melbourne, Peninsula Hot Springs is a natural mineral spring and day spa – the ideal spot to take advantage of gorgeous spring weather and book in for a unique and relaxing holiday experience.
The site includes more than 70 spa and wellness experiences, including a Spa Dreaming Centre, private bathing and moonlight soaking, with the natural geothermal waters flowing up from 637 metres below the ground guaranteed to help you refresh and rejuvenate. Walk up to the hilltop pool for amazing 360-degree views of the Mornington Peninsula, while your little ones can be entertained in the baby barrels for hours of fun. The spa treatment facilities will help ease any tension and promote a healthy mind and body.
The glamping options are perfect for spring weather, too, allowing guests to sleep surrounded by the sounds of the environment. Dining options are plentiful, with a range of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus tailored to reflect the atmosphere of the season. The hot springs are an idyllic spot for rest and relaxation, celebrating spring with a range of comforting and spectacular encounters for everyone.
Bounce over to Kangaroo Island
Beautiful and rugged Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, is just a short hop from the mainland by ferry. It’s Australia’s third largest island, with over 500 kilometres of stunning coastline, and in spring the unspoilt landscape blossoms into life with native flora and fauna.
The island is a sanctuary for many native Australian species, including its namesake, the kangaroo. Spring is a great time to spot joeys exploring and returning to their mothers to feed. Pygmy possums, echidnas, koalas and wallabies will also be more active – and you might even catch a glimpse of a shy platypus. It’s a haven for marine life, too. Pop along to Seal Bay Conservation Park to see Australian sea lions basking on the sand, or head to Flinders Chase National Park to see .
Kangaroo Island is also known for being a gourmet heaven where foodies can enjoy fresh local seafood, cheese, honey and wine. Drop into the local markets in Penneshaw or Kingscote to grab some gorgeous seasonal produce and then head out for a peaceful picnic on one of the island’s many remote beaches and headlands.
Be blown away in Brisbane
This year’s Brisbane Festival runs 2-24 September, lighting up the Queensland capital in a blaze of colour and art. It’s a striking celebration of the city, and features theatre, opera and music performances. Be sure to catch Riverfire, the spectacular fireworks display over the Brisbane River, on the opening weekend.
Take a walk down sunny Southbank to visit QAGOMA – the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art – for amazing exhibitions and immersive installations by local and international artists. Entry to the Children’s Art Centre is free to entertain the little ones with art projects and activities. Also check out Birrunga Gallery, an Aboriginal-owned art gallery that celebrates the rich Indigenous culture of the city, and offers a unique dining experience based on native ingredients.
A short drive north to the Sunshine Coast or south to the Gold Coast will take you to beautiful beaches with great surf. The Gold Coast also has one of the longest continuous whale watching seasons in the world, and is a great spot to see humpback whale calves. Hervey Bay (a 3.5-hour drive north of Brisbane) is the world’s first whale heritage site, and also one of the most well-known locations in the country for viewing migrating humpback, blue and southern right whales.
Getaway to the Grampians
Only two hours’ drive from Melbourne, the Grampians region is the perfect road trip destination for spring. Known as Gariwerd to the local Aboriginal people, the sandstone ridges of the Grampians National Park are rugged and impressive, just waiting to be explored.
The botanical wonderland boasts more than 800 species of indigenous plants, and comes to life in spring with bright yellow wattle, white and pink heath and spectacular orchids, among many others. The Grampians is also home to wildlife including kangaroos, emus, echidnas and many native birds. You can spot kangaroos at Halls Gap, or head to the Halls Gap Zoo if you want to see some exotic species, too.
MacKenzie Falls is one of Victoria’s biggest and most iconic waterfalls, and makes for a gorgeous springtime hike. Cascading over huge cliffs into a deep waterhole, the fine sprays of water fill the air with rainbow mist. To see the falls, take the wheelchair-accessible path one kilometre to the viewing platform at the Bluff, or make the steep trek down to the base of the falls, which takes 30 minutes one way.
On the first weekend in September, make sure you get to Seriously Shiraz, the annual celebration of Grampians wine. Try some of the region’s best-selling wines in the great outdoors and enjoy a weekend-long program of masterclasses, tastings, live music and more.
Bliss out at the Whitsundays
The world-renowned white sandy beaches and sparkling azure waters of the Whitsunday Islands are at their best in spring. Temperatures are comfortable and the skies are clear – and stinger season (when Irukandji and box jellyfish are drawn to the warm summer waters) hasn’t started yet, making ideal conditions for picturesque days on the water.
And there is so much to explore! Airlie Beach is the mainland gateway to the 74 islands and tropical coastline of the Whitsundays, or you can base yourself centrally on Hamilton Island. It’s the perfect time to snorkel through reefs bursting with colour and marine life, take a scenic flight or boat tour from one island to the next, or hike through cascading rainforests to untouched beaches.
And don’t forget to head for one of the most famous and beautiful destinations in Australia: Whitehaven Beach. Here, the silica sands are so soft they squeak under your feet. Hike to the lookout at Hill Inlet for iconic views of the swirling turquoise waters and white sands (time it for low- to mid-tide for that wow-factor photo). At the north end of the beach is a little hidden gem called Betty’s Beach: a local’s favourite and a great way to get the Whitsundays all to yourself.