The top spots to experience autumn in Australia

Apr 06, 2023
The town of Bright, Victoria is a must-visit during the Autumn season. Source: Getty

“New England in the fall” is a travel goal for many, but don’t worry – if you love the fiery colours of autumn but can’t make it to the USA, there are some lovely options closer to home. While captivating at any time, in autumn the following regions of Australia are particularly irresistible when bathed in oranges, reds and golds.

High Country, Victoria

Beechworth, Harrietville, Yackandandah, Myrtleford, Mount Beauty, Wandiligong–The roll call of towns that nestle around the rugged mountains of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria’s High Country is long, and their charms many. Historical buildings line the streets of these quaint, gold rush-era towns where the legacy of the European settlers is still strong. In autumn, the villages and surrounding alpine landscape put on a stunning show, with trees – and then the ground – covered in crimson and honey-hued leaves.

One of the most popular places at this time of year is Bright – it’s in autumn that you’ll see the town is aptly named, thanks to a bounty of deciduous trees setting it ablaze with colour. The Bright Autumn Festival, which runs from April 28 until May 7 2023,  is a 10-day celebration of the colours and flavours of the season, where you can enjoy markets, music in the street, talks, exhibitions and a grand parade, and stroll through private gardens to see even more gorgeous, colourful trees.

Adelaide Hills, South Australia

A sublimely beautiful part of Australia at any time of year, it’s no surprise that many people hold off until autumn to visit the Adelaide Hills. For this is the time that the Hills are alive… with spectacular autumn foliage; with orchards, vines, farm gates and markets laden with a bountiful harvest; and with world-class vineyards and restaurants proffering whites as crisp as the weather and reds as rich as the leaves turning on the trees around you.

Hiring a car is a must – from the centre of Adelaide, you can reach the charming town of Stirling within 20 minutes and then spend the rest of the day meandering from one gorgeous tree-lined village to the next – Aldgate, Crafers, Bridgewater, Mylor, Hahndorf, Verdun, Balhannah, Woodside, Lobethal, Lenswood and beyond. It’s a scenic feast (and a literal feast too – the Hills are a foodie’s dream), and the ultimate place for a leisurely drive during autumn.

A don’t-miss stop on a tour of the Hills in the fall is the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in Crafers. Here, maples, elms, oaks and liquidambars wearing their autumn best will take your breath away. Head to the Main Lake and the Duck Pond for spectacular displays, or follow the trails and explore the glades and gullies of this sprawling, 97-hectare Eden.

Blackwood River Valley, Western Australia


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About three hours’ drive hours south of Perth you’ll find the Blackwood River Valley, a fertile and lush part of the state that’s home to some of its most picturesque towns, including Nannup, Boyup Brook, Balingup, Bridgetown, Mullalyup and Donnybrook. Many of the towns are historic and home to award-winning gardens, making them a popular springtime destination, but this is also a top place to go in autumn when the countryside plunges into hues of red, gold, russet, ochre and crimson. The time is just right and the journey to Nannup will become a very scenic road trip, as the deciduous trees along the way turn yellow, orange, flame-red and every shade in between.

Golden Valley Tree Park, near Balingup, is possibly the ultimate place in the whole of Western Australia to see autumn foliage. More than 3,000 native and exotic trees live in the 60-hectare park, including oaks, redwood, giant sequoia and elms. But it’s not just about the leaves here: they share the limelight with native karri trees. The towering trees (the third-largest in the world) shed their grey bark, revealing dramatic slashes of orange and pink beneath.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Australia’s Parliament House is home to some beautiful trees, but they’re usually hidden from the public. For a few weeks in autumn, however, when the trees are at their vivid best, they can be admired in one of the Autumn Colours in the Courtyards tours. Visitors will be taken to a number of Parliament House’s courtyards to see the trees – both exotic and native Australian – that call the courtyards home, including Japanese maples, magnolia, birch trees, maple, linden trees and dogwood.

But you don’t have to visit government buildings, institutions or botanical gardens for an amazing autumnal display in Canberra – simply walk the streets and you’ll be treated to a showcase of seasonal splendour. The nation’s capital bursts with exotic trees that colour the streets once a year, including English elms in Glebe Park, pin oaks on Fawkner and Torrens Streets, Braddon and Ebden Street, Ainslie and ornamental pears on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin, near the National Library.

Mount Field National Park and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania


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It’s the natural spectacle known as the “Turning of the Fagus” that really defines autumn in the Apple Isle.

A relic from the Gondwana age, Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) – also known as tanglefoot – is a kind of beech. It’s also Australia’s only native cold-climate deciduous tree – the only native tree that sheds its leaves in anticipation of the cold. So while other parts of the country celebrate their beautiful autumn colours, Tasmania is the only state that can celebrate the true colours of Australia and not ones introduced from Europe.

The low-growing, extremely hardy shrub only grows in two places in Tasmania: Mount Field National Park, about 70 kilometres from Hobart, and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Every April and May, they erupt in a riot of colour as the plant’s tiny ribbed leaves turn yellow, red and orange before dropping off altogether in anticipation of cold winter weather. The phenomenon attracts locals and tourists alike, who come to walk among the Fagus and try to capture its golden beauty with their cameras and smartphones.

Other popular spots to see glorious autumn foliage in Australia’s coldest state include towns in the Derwent Valley, easily accessible from the Tasmanian capital, and the tiny historical village of Ross, between Hobart and Launceston in the Midlands. 

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