Featured image: Just another autumn day in the Adelaide Hills. Photo: Michael Waterhouse Photography
We’re ringing in the new season with six Australian holiday ideas for the leaf-chasing romantics out there.
- Crunch through the colours in Canberra
For an autumn short break in Australia, it’s hard to go past the nation’s capital. As well as the Enlighten Festival (hello, Canberra Balloon Spectacular!) and the NGA’s incredible new Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London exhibition, the city turns on the seasonal charm with a blaze of ruby-red and golden leaves. Follow the dedicated Autumn Leaves Map which will take you straight to some of the most impressive seasonal sights. We hear Yarralumba is a hotspot of leafy goodness.
2. Go for gold in Queensland’s Granite Belt
Autumn is harvest time in the fruit orchards and vineyards of the bountiful Granite Belt & Southern Downs region, meaning apples plucked fresh from the trees and a sea of russet-red and golden leaves. Sitting pretty at 1000 metres above sea level on Queensland’s southern border, the Granite Belt is centred around the buzzing hub of Stanthorpe and offers a cool-climate environment ripe for an autumn escape. Share a romantic Gourmet Vineyard Picnic at Ballandean Estate Wines, a legendary slice of apple pie from Sutton’s Juice Factory & Cidery, or a romp through the leaves along the banks of Quart Pot Creek.
3. Fall for the foliage in Tasmania
You’ve probably never heard of it, but the ‘fagus’ is Australia’s only native deciduous tree (and only found in Tasmania)! Also called tanglefoot and Nothofagus gunnii, this shrubby beech puts on a colourful show during April and May known as the ‘turning of the fagus’. This Insta-ready phenomenon is best enjoyed in the glorious remote wilderness of northern Tassie so lace up your hiking boots and head to Mt Field National Park (an hour north of Hobart) or the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
4. Journey around a Japanese Garden in Toowoomba
While we’re itching to return to Japan, a stroll through Ju Raku En in Queensland’s mountaintop ‘Garden City’ of Toowoomba might be the next best thing. Traditional and tranquil, this Japanese garden is just 1.5 hours from Brisbane and was designed by Prof. Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto with a name that roughly translated as “to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place”. The expansive site includes a central lake, walking paths and bridges, a mountain stream, and 230 species of deciduous Japanese and Australian native trees and plants — perfect for a romantic picnic beneath a canopy of red and gold. Can’t make it for the Japanese maples and liquidambars in autumn? The spring explosion of cherry blossoms is also a highlight.
5. See the colours in Victoria’s High Country
A town which rolls out the crimson carpet for an annual ten-day autumn festival: now that’s our kind of town. Welcome to Bright in Victoria’s Alpine High Country, an autumn wonderland thanks to extensive planting of European deciduous trees in the late 1880s. They’re everywhere. And though the Bright Autumn Festival is on hold until 2022, the blazing tide of autumn foliage is not.Road trip your way around Bright and the charming nearby townships of Mount Beauty and Beechworth and keep your camera poised for oaks, elms, poplars, maples, and chestnuts. Keen cyclists can discover the broader region’s bounty on two wheels via the Pedal to Produce trails which take in gourmet producers, wineries, historic townships, and lush alpine landscapes. Staying on for winter? You’ll be close to the snowfields of Falls Creek, Mount Buffalo and Mount Hotham.
6. Experience autumn in the Adelaide Hills
Adore autumn leaves — and love wine? The Adelaide Hills is here for you, with the region’s deciduous trees, orchards and vineyards dripping with vibrant foliage from March to May. Kick up some crunchy colour in Crafers where the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden offers 97 hectares of seasonal splendour (bring a picnic basket) or head out to the vineyards where the grapevines will be preparing for their winter hibernation. The townships of Hahndorf (half an hour from Adelaide) and Stirling are also awesome in autumn.