Australia’s autumnal season officially starts on 1st March, and almost immediately the leaves change from verdant to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. We asked travellers where the best places were for watching this glorious display, and this is what they told us.*
Armidale in New South Wales
The University of New England in Armidale
The Armidale Autumn Festival is a great way to take in the historical city’s most vibrant foliage, but Armidale is also surrounded by wild gorge country. 30 minutes in the car will take you to the Wollomombi Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Take the 90-minute Chandler Walking Track around this magnificent plunge waterfall and admire the autumnal display from the viewing platform at Edgars Lookout. Guarantee yourself a sunset view by checking into the Waterfall Way Farmstay.
Bright in Victoria
An aerial autumnal view of Bright
Thanks to it’s elevated location, the town of Bright has one of Australia’s most impressive displays of autumn leaves. While the Victoria Alpine High Country town delights in putting on a show for visitors, those in search of an alternative experience should hike up to one of the local lookouts. Huggins Lookout has a view of the town and the Ovens Valley, or head to Apex Lookout via the Quinn Gap for a view of Mount Feathertop. Finally, the long established gardens at Alpine Aspects offer multi-coloured views in luxurious surroundings.
Beechworth in Victoria
The historical Beechworth town centre
Less than an hour’s drive from Bright, the town of Beechworth is one of the stops on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and has a long association with outlaw Ned Kelly. But it’s the town’s surrounding vineyards that make it a must-visit. The Beechworth Honey Discovery includes a tour of the town’s brilliant autumn display and is especially popular with young families. Situated on the banks of Lake Sambell, the Beechworth Cottages are a two-minute cycle from the Mountains Rail Trail and are praised for their gardens.
Orange in New South Wales
The cooler temperatures in Orange make it ideal for wine growing
Orange is a small NSW city to the west of Sydney that really has earned its nickname of ‘The Colour City’. The name ‘Orange’ is a nod to the city’s Dutch connection but, fittingly, every autumn swathes of gold and bronze poplars line the streets. Once you’ve admired the city’s 40 vineyards, head to Lake Conolas or go apple-picking in the local orchards. Continue with the colourful theme by checking into the five-acre Melview Gardens.
Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory
Sunset on Canberra city
Australia’s capital city is often skipped in favour of Sydney or Melbourne, but there’s one time of year when the vibrant Canberra is impossible to ignore: Autumn. The Colours in the Courtyards tour includes private spaces that are closed to the public for most the year, including those at Parliament House. To really make the most of the colourful season, consider staying nearby. Other popular spots to admire the autumn foliage include the leafy suburb of Acton, The Cotter Reserve and Weston Park.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top destinations in Australia endorsed for ‘autumn leaves’ by travellers.