Florals for spring? We might not impress Miranda Priestly by suggesting you take time to smell the roses (or see jacarandas in bloom) this season, but we’ve covered plenty of ground to curate a comprehensive edit of the best things to do in Australia this spring so you won’t be disappointed. Whether it’s world-class swimming and surfing along endless, golden coastline or learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ cultures and histories at rock art sites in national parks, it’s time to get outdoors and celebrate the good weather.
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Best things to do this spring in New South Wales
Share in jacaranda fever at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival
Head up the coast from Sydney to Grafton for the Grafton Jacaranda Festival, held from 28 October to 6 November 2022. Here, you can witness jacaranda fever in full bloom with the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen and a parade of jacaranda floats, and, of course, snap photos on purple-carpeted streets.
Sip on Sémillon and shiraz in Hunter Valley
There are 150 cellar doors to choose from across Hunter Valley, and booking a wine flight, masterclass, or vineyard tour offers a curated experience of the region’s celebrated Sémillon or shiraz varieties. A tasting at Tyrrell’s in Pokolbin is a fine choice – they’ve been practising sustainable winemaking since 2009.
Catch powerful right-handers at Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach offers surfing for all levels, whether you want to book a beginner’s lesson at a surf school or brave potent swells in South Bondi. Follow a surf session with a refreshing spring sundowner amid locals at La Palma Cocktail Bar, which boasts a bottomless fiesta of unlimited daiquiris, piña coladas, and mojitos.
Discover Sydney’s coastline along Bondi to Coogee
Take the two-hour Bondi to Coogee coastal walk for a jaunt that’ll fully immerse you in Sydney’s coastal culture. Along the way you’ll see Aboriginal rock engravings, take a dip in the Bronte baths, and even end with a curated fine-dining experience at Coogee Beach’s modern Australian eatery Mimi’s.
Hike the ancient Blue Mountains
This 470-million-year-old range has plenty of walking trails from which to appreciate the hazy blue mountainside. For families, there’s the kid-friendly Fairfax Heritage walk – where you can see blooming waratahs in October – while experienced trekkers can take the Pool of Siloam track for a rewarding post-hike dip.
Uncover local talent at the Sydney Fringe Festival
Throughout September, the Sydney Fringe Festival’s open access programme puts Sydney voices in the spotlight, with shows that span comedy, dance, film, theatre, music, and more. You can get a taste of the local visual and performing arts scene in venues all over the city, and there are child-friendly events on the schedule, too.
Did you know Westpac Concierge has a team on the ground in Sydney? We use our connections and expertise to book our members hotel stays with benefits, we take the time to help them plan the things they want to do no matter the season, and we’ll go above and beyond to make your experience a memorable one. If you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already be eligible. If not, get in touch with us to find out more.
Best things to do this spring in Victoria
Place your bet at the Melbourne Cup Carnival
After a two-year hiatus, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is back from 29 October to 5 November 2022, with thoroughbred racing, music, food, dancing, and, of course, fashion. Don your most glamorous, race-ready attire and cheer for racers surging towards the finish line at Flemington Racecourse.
Discover iconic wildlife on Phillip Island
You’ll find some of Australia’s most emblematic animals on Phillip Island, including koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies, which little ones will relish getting to hand-feed. Ensure you stick around for the Penguin Parade at sunset when thousands of penguins make their way home after a busy day in the sun.
Enjoy a game of Aussie rules football
Watch the country’s premier men’s and women’s teams battle it out over Aussie rules football on their home turf in Melbourne – a veritable sporting capital of the world. The tradition-defying, hybrid rugby-soccer sport draws thousands of avid supporters, creating an electric atmosphere in which to kick back with a pint.
Sip refreshing cocktails on Melbourne’s rooftop bars
Spend spring’s graciously cool nights on one of Melbourne’s many rooftop bars, soaking up its panoramic skyline views. Try Runner Up if you’re partial to Collingwood Yards’ youthful, artistic atmosphere, or Parisian-style Siglo for a more upscale venue that serves cigars and looks out over Parliament House.
Chase wildflowers along the Great Ocean Road
Wind your way up the coast from Melbourne to Port Fairy on a three-day tour that’ll uncover some of Australia’s most exotic flora, from more than 80 types of orchids to towering eucalypt forests. Along the way, stop for a photo at the Twelve Apostles – a collection of limestone stacks rising out of the ocean.
Indulge in a full-body detox at Peninsula Hot Springs
Renowned for their natural detoxifying properties owing to the water’s high mineral content, Peninsula Hot Springs’ geothermal pools are paragons of rejuvenation. Whether you want to take a quick dip or bathe under the stars, there are more than 70 baths to choose from, which you can pair with an overnight stay on the property.
Best things to do this spring in Queensland
Island hop around the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef’s Whitsundays comprise 74 islands with some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving. Whether you want to sail, cruise, or take a helicopter flight, spring is the time to experience the reef with high underwater visibility, warm waters, and a chance encounter with coral spawning.
Marvel at Lamington National Park’s ancient trees
Lamington National Park still holds the secrets of its ancient past, when supercontinent Gondwana began to break up 120 million years ago. Choose from a number of time-travelling trails through the rainforest and bring binoculars for bird-watching colourful species such as the Australian king parrot.
Immerse yourself in the arts at the Brisbane Festival
From 2 to 24 September 2022, the Brisbane Festival features the city’s effervescent arts across theatre, dance, music, and more. Festival highlights include David Morton’s Holding Achilles, which reclaims the queer aspects of The Iliad by exploring Achilles’ relationship with his lover, Patroclus.
Laze amid lavender fields at Kooroomba
The heady, fresh scent of lavender drifts over Kooroomba in the Fassifern Valley, just one hour outside of Brisbane. Book a romantic picnic basket filled with treats from the farm’s French country-style kitchen and find a quiet setting amid the purple fields. Make sure to grab a bottle of Kooroomba Chardonnay, too.
Watch migratory humpbacks in Hervey Bay
Until November, Hervey Bay will host humpback whales migrating from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. Take a guided tour to learn about how adult whales teach their calves in a makeshift kindergarten – flipper slapping, water spurting, and spectacular full-body breaches included.
Wander through the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Held throughout September in charming Toowoomba, this festival celebrates spring blooms with a packed schedule of activities. Wander through opulent floral displays in the town’s public and private gardens and make sure not to miss the Grand Central Floral Parade with its botanical floats, street performers, and carnival characters.
Best things to do this spring in South Australia
Amble through Adelaide’s galleries and museums
Take a walk around Adelaide and you’ll see plenty of art galleries and museums exhibiting works from both local and international artists. A must-visit is the South Australian Museum, which hosts one of the world’s largest collections of Australian Aboriginal cultural material, and works with indigenous Australians to capture their histories.
Dine amid landscaped gardens at Restaurant Botanic
Restaurant Botanic’s food philosophy is inspired by its Adelaide Botanic Garden locale, presenting you with 20 Australian flavours within a minimum four-hour dining experience. The al fresco area offers views of the surrounding gardens, which elevate the eatery’s use of unique Aussie ingredients such as marron, green ants, finger limes, and bunya bunya branches.
Encounter ’roos in their natural habitat on Kangaroo Island
Set a day aside to meander through Kangaroo Island’s ‘zoo without fences’, where encounters with many of Australia’s weird and wonderful animals are common. The sanctuary is abundant with wallabies, fur seals, dolphins, koalas, glossy black-cockatoos, and, of course, kangaroos.
Sample renowned Riesling in Clare Valley
Set among the rolling fields of springtime canola, and offering some of the world’s best Riesling, Clare Valley’s cellar doors have a plethora of tasting options to choose from. Pauletts’ tastings will introduce you to their celebrated bottles, which can be paired with a seasonal, multicourse meal at their on-site restaurant.
Stand at the edge of the world at Talia Caves
Talia Caves’ ‘The Woolshed’ is emblematic of Australia’s rugged coastline – a limestone and granite grotto carved by the ocean, resembling a portal to another world. It’s an ideal stop for intrepid photographers, and you can follow a walk here with either beach or rock fishing for big salmon along Talia Beach.
Explore the Kaikai Walk on Granite Island
The 1.9km Kaiki Walk is a leisurely way to get to know Granite Island’s boulder-covered coastline and local flora and fauna. Easily accessible for prams and wheelchairs as well, you can take a gentle, 45-minute stroll where you’ll get to spot little penguins and even playful southern right whales.
Best things to do this spring in Western Australia
Become an oenophile at Entwined in the Valley Festival
From 7 to 9 October 2022, Entwined in the Valley Festival will be held in one of Australia’s oldest, sun-kissed wine regions: Swan Valley. There’s no shortage of events celebrating the winemakers’ spring crops, including masterclasses, long lunches, and degustation dinners from the region’s winemaking and gastronomy giants.
Track rare wildflowers on the Coral Coast
With more than 12,000 species of native flowers to encounter, the Coral Coast is well worth the two-hour jaunt from Perth. Carnamah, Mingenew, and Mullewa are must-visit towns for sightings of rarer wildflowers, such as the low-lying pink wreath flower and the Carnamah bell.
Discover Gutharraguda with Wula Gura Nyinda
The Nhanda, Malgana, and Yingkarta people who call Gutharraguda (Shark Bay) their home have a deep spiritual connection to its land, water, and wildlife. Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures lets you experience it all through their eyes. The Didgeridoo Dreaming Night Tour is our top pick, introducing you to the magic of the traditional instrument around an open campfire.
Brave the Cape to Cape trail
Bold explorers can attempt the Cape to Cape trail, which covers Western Australia’s untouched coastline from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. The eight-day, 123km trail is ideal for spring, passing through fields of wildflowers and some of the region’s top natural attractions, such as Sugarloaf Rock, Quinninup Falls, and Hamelin Bay.
Explore the Bungle Bungle range in Purnululu National Park
The Bungle Bungle range has become synonymous with Australia’s wild geography – a scattering of 300m-high orange and black-striped sandstone domes rising above a grassy plain. Signposted walking trails will lead you through this epic wonder, with some spots for swimming after the wet season’s rains.
Cuddle with quokkas on Rottnest Island
Just off Perth’s shore is Rottnest Island, home to internet-famous quokkas. Take a guided tour to learn about these cute creatures, known as the happiest animals on earth. Spring marks an ideal time for encounters with young joeys leaving their mothers’ pouches to investigate the big, beautiful world.
Best things to do this spring in Tasmania
Taste your way through the Tamar Valley Wine Route
The Tamar Valley Wine Route has over 30 cellar doors to explore along kanamaluka (the Tamar River), each offering their own interpretation of Tassie’s regional varieties. Our top pick is Josef Chromy Wines, which offers tastings of its cool-climate vineyard wines in an original 1800s farmhouse.
Dine on sustainable seafood at Stillwater
Located in an 1840s flour mill, Stillwater is a must-have casual fine dining experience, with sustainably harvested Tasmanian seafood featuring prominently on its seasonal menus. An award-winning venue helmed by Tassie-born Craig Will, the restaurant focuses on local produce, grown using ethical and sustainable techniques.
Stroll around Salamanca Place
Hobart’s historic Salamanca Place comes to life every Saturday, with more than 300 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to local crafts along its cobbled streets. Street performers will serenade you as you shop for souvenirs, people watch, or stop at one of the area’s many attractions, such as the Salamanca Arts Centre.
Gaze upon Wineglass Bay’s spectacular coastline
Freycinet National Park is home to Wineglass Bay, with its pristine, arching coastline surrounded by lush Tasmanian vegetation. Take the 45-minute hike to its lookout point for a sweeping aerial view, or opt for a cruise around the bay that may include encounters with migrating humpback whales.
Stop at Coles Bay for a sunset view of the Hazards
Also in Freycinet National Park are the Hazards, a 450m-high range tinted pink by feldspar granite. Make your way to Coles Bay for a bite at one of the coastal eateries at sunset, when the mountains’ rosy hue is at its most prominent – ideal for photographs.
Experience Tasmanian wildlife at wukaluwikiwayna (Maria Island)
Discover Tassie’s abundant marine life – including different shark species, jellyfish, sea turtles, and stingrays – at the idyllic snorkelling and diving spots in Darlington Bay and the Painted Cliffs at wukaluwikiwayna (Maria Island). Meanwhile, back on dry land, you may be lucky enough to see wombats, Tasmanian devils, and wallabies.
Best things to do this spring in Northern Territory
Marvel at Uluru at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a sandstone monolith that defines the Northern Territory’s Red Centre. If you’re after cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, get there around sunrise or sunset and take the three-and-a-half hour Uluru base walk that’ll connect you to this ancient rock’s thriving past.
View ancient rock art at Jarrangbarnmi (Kakadu National Park)
The Aboriginal rock art of Jarrangbarnmi (Kakadu National Park) reflects the close relationship that the Bininj or Mungguy people share with their land and spiritual heritage – some of the art is up to 20,000 years old. You can see these ancient wonders at the Ubirr rock formation via several scenic walking trails.
Take a sundowner cruise around Darwin Harbour
Larger than Sydney Harbour and every bit as cosmopolitan, Darwin Harbour has an abundance of activities to enjoy along its sun-drenched coast. Viewing the sunset from one of Darwin Harbour Cruises’ three-tiered catamarans is a luxurious option, so you can sip on a glass of fizz on the sun deck while you soak up its golden glow.
Enjoy a waterside bite at Pee Wee’s at the Point
A Darwin staple, Pee Wee’s at the Point offers al fresco waterfront dining in East Point Nature Reserve, overlooking Fannie Bay. Its à la carte dishes reflect the depth of Northern Territory produce, including select seafood such as saltwater barramundi, caught just off its teeming coastline.
Learn about traditional art on the Tiwi Islands
Immerse yourself in Tiwi Islands’ local art scene with a guided tour led by its community members. The SeaLink Tiwi Islands day tour will introduce you to Tiwi Design’s artists, who produce ochre paintings on canvas and bark, ironwood carvings, and screen printed fabrics, among other mediums. It’s an ideal space to gain first-hand knowledge from the artists themselves.
Visit The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs
Alice Springs’ Kangaroo Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby kangaroos, and releases them back into the wild. It’s also the site of the popular television series, Kangaroo Dundee. You can visit the wildlife reserve on a guided sunset tour just as its red kangaroos begin to wake up from their daytime sleep.
Best things to do this spring in Australian Capital Territory
Learn about Aboriginal history at The National Gallery of Australia
Housing one of the world’s largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, The National Gallery of Australia is a must-visit for those seeking to learn more about First Nations culture. The Aboriginal Memorial is an installation of 200 hollow log coffins from Central Arnhem Land, and a solemn reminder of the indigenous people’s lives lost since 1778, while defending their land.
Immerse yourself in a sacred past in Namadgi National Park
Namadgi National Park’s walking trails pass through ancient landscape that’s been maintained by the Ngunnawal people for tens of thousands of years. You can explore this sacred landscape on several walking trails, including the Yerrabi walking track to Boboyan Trig, which will immerse you in the Bimberi Wilderness’s diverse ecology.
Discover the wonders of The Centenary Trail
Urban and rural Canberra’s natural and historical attractions are plentiful along this self-guided, 145km cycling and walking trail. You can opt to walk the route in sections – the Black Mountain to Stromlo Forest Park area is ideal for spotting spring’s wildflowers. More intrepid hikers can attempt the entire trail over seven days.
Revel in springtime activities at Floriade Festival
More than a million blooms are expected at this year’s Floriade Festival, held from 17 September to 16 October 2022 in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park. This year’s Sounds of Spring theme means you can meander through abundant garden beds amid live music. At night, the festival lights up and transforms into an electric party atmosphere.
Encounter native species at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary
Just outside of Canberra is Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary – the country’s largest box-gum grassy woodland area. The reserve removes invasive flora and fauna to create a sanctuary for native species to thrive, including the eastern bettong and eastern quoll, superb parrot, and the striped legless lizard.
Float over Lake Burley Griffin in a hot-air balloon
Canberra’s artificial lake, Lake Burley Griffin, has plenty of activities to experience, including paddle boarding, cycling, and cruising. Most exciting, however, is hot-air ballooning with Balloon Aloft. Take flight in one of their safe and comfortable hot-air balloons to experience uninterrupted views of Canberra.