In a country full of the muted silvers and evergreens, where do you go if you've a yen for the cooling weather and fiery colours of autumn? We take a tour of five beautiful Australian places to go in autumn.
Turning of the Fagus, Tasmania
The whole of the Apple Isle takes on quite a different flavour in autumn with introduced trees and shrubs garlanding gardens. Towns like Ross and the banks of the Derwent are bathed in oranges, reds and goldsi.
However, the true charm of Tasmania in autumn lies in the spectacle known as the "Turning of the Fagus"ii. Every April to May, pockets of wilderness-Tasmania erupt in riotous colour as Australia's only native cold-climate deciduous tree prepares for winteriii.
A relic from the Gondwana age, the Fagus, a kind of beech, can be found in cool, damp places like Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and Mount Field National Parkii.
Looking for colour? Try Orange
If the name alone doesn't do it, the festivals, the food, the wine and yes, the colour, ought to see you heading for
Orange, in NSW's Central West.
Home to some of Australia's best cool-climate wines and produce as well as a strong food sceneiv, Orange's yearly festival,
F.O.O.D Week (Food of Orange District) will celebrate its 25th year from 8 to 17 April this year. There will be the 100-mile dinner under the stars at Molong, a FOOD train departing Sydney, night and Sunday markets, and a mobile feast through vineyards.
From 6 to 8 May you can experience the community cook-up, fun-run and sample free apples from local orchardists at the new
Orange Apple Festival. At other times, enjoy farmers markets and the microbreweries, wine bars and wineries - not to mention fine dining - the Orange district is famous forv.
Best of all, the whole district bursts into bright, glaring, fiery colour in autumn as the fruit-trees and vineyards as well as deciduous trees in public and private gardens prepare to lose their leavesvi. Birthplace of two of Australia's greatest poets, A.B. "Banjo" Pattersonvii and Kenneth Slessorviii, Orange is only 3.5 hours drive from Sydney.
Melbourne, autumn's culture capital
When better to visit Australia's capital of culture than autumn? Think
Melbourne, think food, wine and fashion.
March kicks off with the trifecta of
Virgin Australia's Melbourne Fashion Festival, the
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and the family-friendly fun of Australia's largest community festival,
No matter what your passion, Melbourne in autumn has you covered. Delight in the
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, experience fast and furious at the
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and catch a gig at the 30th
Melbourne International Comedy Festival running from 17 March to 23 April.
The Pearls of Broome and Cable Beach
If you're one of those people who never want summer to end, but don't like the crowds, autumn is the time to visit Broomeix and one of Trip Advisor's top ten most beautiful Australian beaches for 2016, Cable Beachx.
The dry season kicks in from April so the weather is more predictable with clear, sunny days and cooler nightsxi, while stinger season ends in Aprilxii. This makes the perfect combination to relax and enjoy the 22km of white sands and turquoise waters that are Cable Beach, a very short drive from downtown Broomexiii.
The more adventurous can investigate Broome's South Sea Pearl Industry with a trip to a pearl farm, or a history tour of Chinatownxiv. If you're lucky and there's a very low tide you may even find real dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Pointxv.
From March to October witness the "Staircase to the moon" as the full moon rises over Broome's Roebuck Bay. Dates for 2016 can be found
For a truly iconic Broome experience, take a camel ride along Cable Beach at sunset. You'll get your autumn colours as the sun setting over the Indian Ocean turns the sky a fiery red-orangexiii.
Cool off at Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
April to November, encompassing Autumn, is the dry season: it's the perfect time to discover Litchfield National Park, just 100km from Darwinxvi.
The landscape of monsoon rainforests, waterfalls, creeks and waterholes is more accessible from April onwards and an increasingly popular daytrip for 4-wheel driving, a hike and a dipxvii.
National Parks and Wildlife administers the park and offers guided tours from May to September as part of their
Parks Alive program, or you can navigate your visit yourself.
Attractions not to be missed include Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole, Tjaetaba Falls (a sacred site )xv and the ghostly ruins of Blyth Homestead and its nearby minexix.
There are plenty of places to camp overnight, and nature-lovers will be delighted by visits from wallabies, wallaroos and sugar gliders. It is also home to a colony of the uncommon Orange Horseshoe Batsxx. At the entrance to the park are eerie fields of termite mounds, oriented to the earth's magnetic fields while within the park another species of termite builds huge cathedral mounds, like a giant castle you might build at the beachxxi.