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Guide to Floriade - Canberra's Flower Festival

The largest flower show in the Southern Hemisphere.

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

About Floriade Festival

While Canberra is a great location for a quick weekend getaway, it’s never better than the weeks of early spring, when Floriade, Canberra takes centre stage. Marvel at over one million flowers in bloom throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, alongside picturesque Lake Burley Griffin at Floriade Festival. Floriade always coincides with the start of spring, and Floriade 2021 runs from the 11th of September to the 10th of October. As Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, Floriade is not something to miss.
This annual flower festival welcomes over 400,000 visitors, both local and tourists, all 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—there really is something for everyone! Every year Canberra event organisers choose a theme for the festival – and this year’s theme has been chosen as “The Future of Flowers”

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 at Floriade?

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 DJs 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.
Food at Floriade
With Floriade running day and night, you might start to get a little peckish. Fortunately, there are plenty of food vendors throughout the Canberra flower festival. Grab some street food that you can enjoy as you stroll amongst the flowers, a refreshing drink to cool you down as Australia heads into the warmer months, or a cold drink to keep you warm and cosy at night. 
Live entertainment at Floriade
Throughout the festival, live entertainment is scattered amongst the flowers. Activities for kids at Floriade mean the little ones can learn and have a great time during the day, then live music makes Floriade NightFest come alive.
There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Credit: VisitCanberra
There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Credit: Visit Canberra

Travel Tips for Floriade Festival

Floriade Opening Hours
Floriade is open daily from 11th September to 10th October between 9.30am – 5.30pm. Last entry is at 5pm each afternoon.
When to Visit Floriade 2021
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 to Floriade, Canberra
     • Camera
     • Refillable water bottle—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 that run throughout the festival. 
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
Novotel Canberra is a great option for families
Novotel Canberra is a great option for families

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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