Why My Family is Heading to Floriade This Spring (And You Should Too)

Floriade in Canberra, Australia
Floriade in Canberra, Australia

You can’t visit Canberra in Spring without also visiting Floriade.

We previously visited Canberra for a mini family holiday in Spring of 2007 with our two toddlers who were aged 3 and 2 years old at the time.  We had a fabulous time exploring the bright tapestry of flowers at Floriade, and it was hard to keep up with our two children who quickly migrated from one flower garden to the next!

We all really enjoyed spending several hours exploring the Floriade site which provided new discoveries around every corner.

Floriade in Canberra, Australia
Floriade in Canberra, Australia

Canberra and Floriade Trip Inspiration

Fast forward to 2014 and we have decided to revisit Canberra on a multi-generational family trip.  This time around we are travelling with three children aged 9, 8 and 5 years old and my parents in law.

Our initial inspiration for the trip was for my parents in law to revisit some old stomping grounds in Cooma in the Snowy Mountains during their visit with us from interstate during the September school holidays.  Once we looked at options we quickly realised that Floriade would also be on during the school holidays so we decided to extend our trip to visit both Canberra and the Snowy Mountains.

About Floriade

The Floriade Spring Festival commenced in 1988 to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday and has been a regular feature of Canberra’s Spring ever since.  The month long Floriade festival attracts over 400,000 visitors each year between mid September and mid October.  The Floriade site has free entry, which makes it a great affordable option for families.

Floriade in Canberra, Australia
Floriade in Canberra, Australia

In 2014 Floriade will run from 13th September to 12th October 2014.  Floriade is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9.00am to 5.30pm on weekends and public holidays.  Each day has the Floriade program of events which includes gardening, food and wine, roving performers, sport, circus and crafts.

In addition there are some really quirky options like the collection of garden gnomes which are a regular feature (and you can paint your own…)!

Painting Garden Gnomes at Floriade
Painting Garden Gnomes at Floriade
The Garden Gnome Knoll at Floriade in Canberra
The Garden Gnome Knoll at Floriade in Canberra

Floriade NightFest

An additional event which is run during Floriade is NightFest, which has now been in operation for seven years.  NightFest is a fabulous festival of light with a diverse range of lighting installations across the site. The NightFest program includes live music, comedy, DJs, cooking demonstrations, night markets, roving performers and a great range of food options.

Floriade NightFest in Canberra, Australia
Floriade NightFest in Canberra, Australia

NightFest will run for only five days from 6.30pm to 10.30pm on 24th – 28th September 2014.  Tickets can be purchased in advance from Ticketek.

Floriade NightFest in Canberra, Australia
Floriade NightFest in Canberra, Australia

Having just experienced the artistry of the Sydney Vivid Festival we are really looking forward to seeing the NightFest lights!  Although this time we may invest in some glow sticks ahead of time…

Canberra Trip Highlight

We plan to visit both the daytime Floriade and the NightFest during our Canberra visit this September and we fully expect both events to be real highlights for our trip.  So if you have any opportunity to visit Canberra while Floriade is occurring I strongly suggest that you plan to make the most of this great Australian event.

This article was written in collaboration with Floriade and Visit Canberra.

Have you ever visited Floriade or are planning to visit?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

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  • I’ll be there too! Heading down on the first weekend so I’ll miss out on nightfest. Been wanting to go for years but have just never made it. Looking forward to seeing your pics of nightfest. Enjoy!

    • Fiona, thanks for your comment. I guess that where ever you live has annual events and you are unlikely to go every time. I think the concept of Floriade is great are we are really looking forward to seeing it again after about a seven year absence, and last time we went we did not have the opportunity to attend the NightFest. Having just been to the Sydney Vivid Festival we are looking forward to seeing what the NightFest has to offer!

  • Hi Anne,

    Just stumbled across your blog post while looking through NightFest media. I’m the lighting designer for NightFest and my team is currently in Canberra setting everything up.

    We love to hear when people are looking forward to the experience as it really keeps everyone motivated during a month of long cold night time setups. Hope you have a fantastic visit and that you love your time at Floriade 🙂 Will look forward to hearing your thoughts!


    • Richard, thanks for your comment. We are really looking forward to seeing the Nightfest lighting display – the photos we have seen so far look amazing and it will only be better to actually be there!

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