If you thought the canola fields were beautiful, just wait until you see a whole town glow violet.
Jacaranda season is upon us which means purple flowers will be blooming all over Australia but you won’t find anywhere more bright and beautiful than Grafton, NSW.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
The charming city in the Northern Rivers region comes alive every October with more than 2000 lilac hued jacaranda trees lining its streets. The impact is so lovely, they even built an annual event around it, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival.
While Australia’s longest running floral festival won’t be going ahead this year due to COVID restrictions, the town released a statement urging people to still visit this October and see the trees for themselves.
“While we’re heartbroken there’ll be no Jacaranda Festival this year, the natural beauty of the flowering trees that provide the underlying reason for our 86 year tradition will soon come into bloom. We encourage you to safely venture out, support local business and experience this once-a-year spectacle.”
The jacaranda season officially runs from October 16th to November 11th (although you can’t really give nature a deadline, can you?) The blossoms start peeking out in early to mid October and by early November, the petals fall to become a thick purple blanket over the roads and footpaths. It’s short, sweet and oh so stunning.
Grafton is a few hours south of Brisbane or a short flight from Sydney. The trees are scattered all over the town so just take a wander or jump on a bike and cruise around town to see them. If you don’t want to miss any, there’s a map to see where they’re all planted.
It’s worth making the trip to Grafton for this incredible natural phenomenon alone but once you get there, there’s plenty to explore. The little city is perched on the Clarence River and is packed with history, good food and wild terrain to roam.
The wide streets are lined with beautiful Victorian heritage buildings with history in every brick, so follow the Walking and Cycling Heritage Trail to discover the stories. Take a trip over the iconic two-storey Grafton Bridge, rent a kayak and paddle over to the nature reserve on Susan Island or simply eat your way through the city’s myriad cafes and restaurants. For your culture fix, there’s a brilliant gallery, while shoppers will adore the quirky vintage stores on South Grafton’s main street.
Lastly, be sure to pack your camera. Despite all the activities going on in Grafton, you’ll probably just want to spend hours gazing up at the mesmerising purple canopy above you, and it sure is photogenic!