A city turns purple

By | Category: Travel destinations
a jacaranda in full bloom

What I should have seen if I had stayed in Grafton a bit loinger!

Claimed to be the longest running flower show in Australia, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival begins at the end of this week.

In this subtropical city about 650 kilometres north of the NSW capital, Sydney, the festival is one of the biggest attractions on the northern NSW coast let alone in the place itself. So well-known has the festival become that overseas visitors time their Australian trip to coincide with the purple invasion of the city.

The jacaranda is not an Australian native plant but one that has been imported into Australia and it can be seen in any number of places. But Grafton is the place to see them with over 2,000 trees which line the wide roads of the city.

When I was there just over a month ago, there was no sign of the purple flower explosion to come. The trees were in leaf but all that was open were the spring yellows. Checking locally, I found that Iwas too early by about six weeks and not even some of the early blooms came out to greet me.

What a typical street looks like in early spring before the jacarandas flower

During the festival which runs from this coming weekend until November 5th there is the coronation of a jacaranda queen, a street parade with themed floats, markets, live performances and fireworks. The blooms last longer depending on the weather but should be around for another week or two.

Because the Clarence River flows through the city some of the celebrations take place at the riverside so you’ll find food options plus any variety of entertainment. Unlike many of our rivers, the Clarence can be wide in places so you will see excursions up the river as part of the festival. (There are river trips up the river throughout the summer not just at festival time.) It is on the riverside and closeby that you can catch the fireworks display on the 3rd of November.

And there is even a Jaranda Hotel

For those of us living in Europe, no-one is going to fly over to catch this year’s purple display (even the guides and information people wera purple and you are encouraged to do the same. But if you are considering a trip down under think about planning it so that you catch the Jacaranda’s in full bloom in Grafton. That’s not to say you can’t see them elsewhere. Most state botanical gardens have a few trees but nowhere has a display quite like Grafton.

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