Come October, pockets of Sydney and New South Wales bloom in a sea of purple, with the infamous Jacaranda trees flowering from late October to November.
Here’s where to get a burst of lilac …
For luxury shopping with your lavender hues, head to Oxford Street, Glenmore Road and Five Ways in Paddington. Don’t miss The Intersection, Paddington—the tree-lined point where Glenmore Road meets Oxford Street. The chic enclave is the home to high-end Australian designer boutiques and sits opposite the sprawling jacarandas on Victoria Barracks Lawn. Start at Jackie’s Café with a sunlit brunch in the leafy courtyard—their greenhouse-style bar opens during Spring for cocktails. Nearby Woollahra and Double Bay also boast a stunning purple haze, along with the courtyard at historic Vaucluse House.
Pack a picnic and head to Kirribilli, Lavender Bay, Greenwich, Waverton, Hunters Hill, Woolwich, Longueville or Wollstonecraft for a long lunch under the trees. In the heart of Lavender Bay is heritage-listed Wendy Whiteley’s Garden, which has a spectacular view back to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour foreshore dotted with Jacarandas.
There’s also a little piece of magic by the name of McDougall Street. Come Spring, tourists and locals alike flock to the fairytale avenue in Kirribilli, where the splendid arch of jacaranda trees creates a lavender-hued dome, perfect for Spring selfies. Just remember to be road safety aware at all times and mindful of residents.
Take a do-it-yourself Jacaranda walking tour through the city starting at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, passing through Circular Quay and The Rocks. View the stunning trees set against the backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour and historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks.
The urban landscape of the Inner West precinct also pops with purple foliage. For history buffs, the much-loved Jacaranda at the University of Sydney stood for 88 years in the quadrangle before it died in 2016. The tree was so iconic—students and teachers have talked and studied under the branches for years—the university cloned it before it collapsed. The planting of a native flame tree and the clone of the original jacaranda was celebrated in 2017. As the new tree grows, it’s likely to also become a living legend on the University grounds. The neighbouring suburbs of Camperdown, Newtown and Glebe are also worth a wander—pop into farm-to-table restaurant Acre Eatery or head to the Saturday Glebe markets and enjoy the vibrant Inner West community.
South West of Sydney in Camden, the main street of Argyle has an iconic line of Jacaranda trees. The streetscape was brightened back in 2017, when eight mature jacarandas were planted in addition to the 39 remaining 90-year-old jacarandas along Argyle St. Camden has a three-day Jacaranda Festival to celebrate their iconic lilac gateway, with the lighting of the Jacaranda trees, performances from local schools and sampling of the delicious fresh produce of the Macarthur region.
The historic town of Grafton located alongside the Clarence River on NSW’s North Coast is known as the Jacaranda Capital. Grafton is home to more than 2000 Jacaranda trees and the annual Grafton Jacaranda Festival is the longest running flower festival in Australia. Festival highlights include the coronation of a Jacaranda Queen, a street parade with themed floats, markets, live performances and fireworks from 27 October until 4 November 2018.
A great way to see the purple blooms in Grafton is by bicycle. There are no steep hills in Grafton and not too much traffic, so riding the wide tree-lined streets under a canopy of blossoms is a magical way to experience the purple splendour. If you can’t bring your own bike, hire one in Yamba.
For something unique, float over Grafton in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the lilac-dotted landscape.