5 holidays perfect for garden and flower lovers

Feb 04, 2022

Over the past two years, our gardens have become our safe havens, providing a healthy and fulfilling focus when the outside world has felt so uncertain.

The avid gardeners in our over-60s community have been especially active since 2020, with thousands of members sharing beautiful flowers, visiting birds and amazing vege patches in the Starts at 60 Gardeners Facebook group.

With so many Australians now fully vaccinated, stretching their legs and yearning to travel again, this passion for gardening is influencing a lot of upcoming holiday plans.

“The Floriade festival in Canberra has always been a big hit among our over-60 travellers”, says Travel at 60 Chief Commercial Officer Wendy Harch, “but this year interest has been through the roof on all flower- and garden-themed destinations”.

“After so much isolation and uncertainty, mother nature has never looked so appealing.”

Love to garden? Longing to travel? The following five holidays are a great way to combine your passions, get inspired, and come home full of ideas for your next project!

1. Floriade (Canberra)

“Spectacular” and “beautiful” are the two words we hear the most after this fabulous spring festival. Held annually in September, and showcasing more than a million flowers in bloom, this event is on every serious gardener’s bucket list.

Each year Floriade’s garden beds designed to a new theme, making every visit a unique experience.

Not only can you enjoy the elaborate gardens of the festival; springtime in Canberra also sees the “Floriade Community” initiative, in which more than 300,000 bulbs and annuals are planted by local schools, community groups and organisations. It’s a garden lover’s paradise!

Our community of over-60s will make their annual trip to Floriade together this September (running return from Sydney with either a mixed or ladies only group). We’ll also visit the Tulip Time festival in Bowral — a must-see event in its own right and explore the ACT’s must-see highlights!

Learn more: Visit Floriade & Tulip Time with the Starts at 60 community

2. Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

If the stunning floral displays and show gardens aren’t enough to entice you, the hands-on workshops and free advice from qualified gardening professionals might be the excuse you need!

Thanks to recent food shortages on retail shelves, we’re guessing the ‘Edible Gardens’ area will be especially popular this year; a wonderful opportunity to learn about vegetables and plant varieties not found in supermarkets! 

The ever-popular great hall of flowers is a must-visit, but for those who have downsized recently, the ‘Boutique Gardens’ or the ‘Balcony Gardens’ displays may also be of interest.

Make sure you have a comfortable pair of shoes at the ready, as you could still be finding new and exciting discoveries several days in.

If you’re eager to tick it off your list this March, we’ve put together a great-value holiday package: stay in five-star accomodation, enjoy easy transfers to and from the festival, and share the experience with like-minded gardeners from the Starts at 60 community!

Learn more: Visit the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show with the Starts at 60 community

3. The Queen Elizabeth Gardening Cruise

A Queen Elizabeth cruise is high on the bucket list for many travellers, but this roundtrip to Tasmania (departing Melbourne in February 2023) is set to be something extra-special.

A huge lineup of gardening experts and well-known personalities (including Graham Ross and Jamie Durie) will share their knowledge of over a series of onboard talks, demonstrations, shore excursions and intimate dinners.

Topics will include rose gardening, small garden design, bee-keeping, lawn maintenance and growing native plants — just to name a few.

Queen Elizabeth’s renowned entertainment program will have a green twist, with hands-on workshops, gardening trivia events, special craft classes and lessons in cooking from the garden.

The cruise will visit Adelaide, Hobart and Port Arthur. Guests will have the option to take bespoke shore tours that cover the beautiful gardens in each capital city.

If you love cruising, gardening and learning new things, this one’s for you!

Learn more: Australia’s Gardening Journey on the Queen Elizabeth

4. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is the longest running floral event of its kind in Australia; a grand celebration not just of gardens, but also of food, wine and culture.

Our community will be touring this beautiful event together on a dedicated Starts at 60 community holiday, which also but also visits a steam railway museum and the Cobb & Co museum.

We’ll even board the Garden Valley express train to tour the 60-acres of nursery that is the largest wholesale nursery on the eastern seaboard!

With roundtrip coach departures from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, this is an easy way to experience this iconic springtime event in the company of other gardening enthusiasts.

Details of this community holiday will be announced in the coming weeks. Please contact us here and ask to join the waitlist. Our friendly travel team will be in touch as soon as dates and pricing are finalised.

5. Japan in sakura season

International travel in 2023 may seem a far-off dream, but for those who book smartly, there are some easy and low-risk ways to dream ahead to March 2023, when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom.

This Princess cruise and tour package is currently going with flexible and fully refundable deposits. This means you can hold a place with just 10% of the fare up-front and have nothing more to pay until 181 days before departure. If you change your mind at any point before then, you’ll be entitled to a full refund!

Learn more: Tour Japan in 2023 cherry blossom season, then set off on an 8-day spring flowers cruise!

Prefer to stay at home this year?

If you’re saying put and focussing on your own garden, Starts at 60 not has some great tips and tricks from leading garden specialist Roger Fox.

The Starts at 60 Marketplace also has a range of tools to make your life easier and your garden even more beautiful.  Here are two of the most popular picks:

  • First up, a fabulous Australian-designed caddy that sits on your garden waste wheelie bin so you can easily carry your tools around the garden with you and put them where you can’t lose them! There is even a caddy wall bracket to simply unhook the caddy at the end of your gardening and you’ll know where your tools will be when you need them next time you do your gardening.  The caddy is recyclable and made from a sturdy plastic material with a 12-month warranty.

Browse more holiday ideas for garden lovers at Travel at 60, our dedicated travel agency especially for Aussie baby boomers.

Do you have any great gardening destinations on your bucket list?

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