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Guide to Floriade - Canberra's Flower Show

This year’s Floriade Festival runs from 14th September to 13th October 2019.

Floriade in Australia is a major event - it’s Australia’s biggest flower festival! Held in the city of Canberra, in Australia’s Capital Territory, this floral display is also the largest flower festival in the whole southern hemisphere, making it well worth the visit.

Floriade gift shop
Marvel at over one million spring blooms. Credit: Martin Ollman Photography

About Floriade Festival

Marvel at over one million flowers in bloom throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, alongside picturesque Lake Burley Griffin at Floriade Festival. 
This annual floral display welcomes over 400,000 local, interstate and international travellers looking to bring in spring in style - day and night.  While the tulips may steal the show, there is a lot more to this festival than you may think. Here you can take part in workshops, be them flower arranging, nature art journaling or photography, meet the market traders, join a guided tour, admire floral artistic displays and even enjoy live music and entertainment - it really is a great atmosphere! Every year Canberra event organisers choose a theme for the festival – and this year’s theme has been chosen as “Wold in Bloom”. 

Floriade is the perfect time to visit Canberra, over 1 million bulbs in bloom, the entertainment, food and wine, it really is a celebration of Spring. Not to mention NightFest where Floriade comes to life at night

- Justin Henry, Director of Sales & Marketing AT Novotel Canberra
Girls taking photos at Floriade
There is more to Floriade than meets the eye. Credit: Martin Ollman Photography

What’s on

Floriade NightFest
Floriade’s after-dark extravaganza NightFest is not to be missed. As the sun sets over Commonwealth Park, garden beds become illuminated with cutting-edge light installations, and markets, while live music, comedians and DJ’s provide plenty of fun for the whole family. This ticketed evening event really draws in the crowds, so it’s well worth booking in advance.
painted gnomes at the festival’s Gnome Knoll
Add your painted gnome to the festival’s Gnome Knoll. Credit: Visit Canberra

Gnome Knoll
One of the quirkiest attractions at the flower festival is Gnome Knoll, whereby thousands of hand-decorated Gnomes vie for the prize of ‘best-painted Gnome’ in a bid to raise money for multiple community charities. The great news is, anyone can enter! Simply buy and paint your own gnome at the festival, during the weekends, and place him on Gnome Knoll. 
The full list of festival attractions and activities is released on the Floriade website, at the beginning of September. 
Dog’s Day Out at Floriade
Sunday, October 13th is dog’s day at Floriade so bring your four-legged friend along and spend the day enjoying the festival with your pooch. There is also said to be doggie stalls offering goodies for your pooch as well as dog-friendly activities.

No Floriade would be complete without the return of Dogs’ Day Out. For one day only, event organisers invite visitors to bring their four-legged pals! With speciality stores just for dogs (including non-alcoholic dogs’ beer!), lots of extra doggie activities and breed group photos it’s definitely a day not to be missed!

- A spokesperson from Floriade
Kids train in Floriade
There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Credit: VisitCanberra

Travel Tips for Floriade Festival

Floriade Opening Hours
Floriade is open daily from 14th September to 13th October between 9.30am – 5.30pm. Last entry is at 5pm each afternoon.
When to Visit
This can really depend on what you are hoping to get from the festival. If you are wanting to snap some great photos of the flowers in their best light then we recommend visiting Floriade at the start of the festival in the morning. 
However, if you are wanting to avoid the crowds, then the afternoon is much better, as the morning crowd begins to fade - visiting during a weekday is also a great option. The first and last weeks of the festival also tend to be the quietest – however it’s worth remembering that the flowers may not be in their best form, come the last days of the festival. 
What to bring
     • Camera
     • Refillable water bottle – as there are water refill stations around the grounds
     • Sunscreen
     • Hat & sunglasses
     • Wear walking shoes 
How to get there
The main festival gate is located on Regatta Place, off Commonwealth Avenue.
Consider leaving your car at home and instead taking public transport when visiting Floriade, as parking is limited, and festival traffic congestion will mean it takes longer to enter and exit festival parking.
      Bus – buses stop on both sides of Commonwealth Avenue, opposite Regatta Place which is only a short walk to the festival entrance.
      Light Rail - Once at Alinga Street stop you can walk 20 minutes to the festival or jump on a number 2, 4, 6, 7, 57 or 58 bus to Commonwealth Avenue.
How much are Ticket Prices?
It is free to attend Floriade Festival! However, you will need to buy tickets for NightFest and certain workshops run throughout the festival. 
Food and drink at Floriade
There will be a range of food trucks offering both food, coffee and refreshments scattered around the ground, we well as a range of snacks and goodies for you to buy.

Leave your car at the hotel, jump on the Floriade courtesy bus from the Canberra Centre, hire a bike or enjoy a 15-minute stroll to Commonwealth Park from the CBD

- Nathaniel Crouch, Car park attendant at Novotel Canberra
Mount Ainslie lookout
Mount Ainslie lookout provides panoramic views over Canberra. Credit: Tourism Australia

Things to do Around Canberra When Visiting

There are so many great things so see and do in the national capital while visiting for this spring festival – including some great free attractions in Canberra. Packed full of natural beauty, art and culture, and great places to grab a bite to eat, Canberra really is the perfect weekend escape.
With an exploding food and drink scene, you are sure to find hidden bars and bustling restaurants around every corner – we recommend ONA Coffee to give your morning a kickstart and The Hamlet food truck village for a laid-back dinner. If you have a little extra time on your hands then you could even organise a Canberra day trip to Bowral in the Southern Highlands for their Tulip Time Festival running from September 24th to October 7th. This tulip festival sees public gardens and premier private gardens explode in a sea of coloured flowers. 
If you are planning on avoiding the crowds and visiting Floriade in the afternoon, then you’ll have the whole morning free to explore the city! If in Canberra on a Saturday, then be sure to stop by Capital Region Farmers Market for some hand-made goodies. Stretch your legs around the National Botanic Gardens and don’t miss a visit to Parliament House, Australia’s War Memorial, the National Library of Australia, and the National Gallery of Australia which houses over 150,000 artworks through its art exhibitions. Canberra is also great to explore at night - from evening photography classes to dinner cruises, there is always something going on. 

Beyond the gates of Floriade, Canberra is brimming with must-see-and-do experiences this spring. With a stellar food and wine scene, a multitude of museums and galleries and endless natural attractions just waiting to be explored, discover why the capital was named third in Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2018

- A spokesperson from Floriade

Finding Accommodation During Floriade

When visiting Canberra and the Capital Territory for Floriade Festival, you will want a comfortable hotel to call home, which is central and well connected with public transport, making it easy for you to get to and from the festival. 
Whether you are travelling as a family, and need space for the kids to play, or looking for something luxurious for a romantic couples getaway, Accor offers a range of central accommodation in Canberra, for any budget. 

While in Canberra visiting Floriade, try and find a hidden gem called ʺMolly'sʺ a 1920's speakeasy bar. Only known location is 35°16'44.5ʺS 149°07'42.0ʺE

- Rohit Chavan, Rooms Division Manager at Novotel Canberra

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