FAMILY HOLIDAYS

Bound for glory. 10 essential Australian spring experiences

Spring. You can feel it in the air.

Spring. It can be a magical season in Australia.

If you live somewhere in this country where bleak, cold winters are the norm, spring is uplifting as it heralds the arrival of better weather. Or at least gives hope.

It’s also a time when the nation has a collective spring in its step, as a feast of essential events and experiences burst to life.

Get among the action with the help of this inspiring line up.

In much of Australia, spring serves up a mixed bag of weather, which keeps us on our toes.

1. Margaret River Gourmet Escape, WA

Margaret River is revered for its premium wine and gourmet produce. So, fittingly, it hosts one of Australia’s biggest food and wine festivals. This award-winning gourmet gala features a star-studded collection of winemakers and chefs, including Nigella Lawson, backed by a feast of excellent events that are spread across multiple venues. What’s not to love?

When: 16-18 November.

Book now: BIG4 Taunton Farm Margaret River, BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park, or RAC Busselton Holiday Park.

Various enticing venues play host to the excellent Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

2. The Barossa Gourmet Weekend, SA

More taste bud-tempting treats are dished up within the nation’s most famous wine region for a weekend of pure indulgence. Explore this prized area at its colourful best and revel in masterclasses, long lunches, tastings, garden parties, and much more. The designated Gourmet Trail is a great way to get a taste for the region with seven wineries playing host to various events. Delicious.

When: 31 August-2 September.

Book now: BIG4 Barossa Tourist Park.

Garden party, anyone? What a place to be in spring.

3. Footy finals, various locations

Whether you’re an AFL or NRL fan, spring signals the ‘business end’ of the season for both codes. Get among the action in September by supporting your team at home or away as all roads lead to the ‘big one’ at month’s end. In 2018, the AFL Grand Final is set for Saturday 29 September at the MCG, while all eyes will be on Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Sunday 30 September for the NRL showpiece.

And with long weekends either side of grand finals weekend for NSW, ACT, Victorian, and SA residents, it’s the perfect excuse for a getaway.

Long weekend ideas: State by state short breaks inspiration.

The atmosphere is electric when footy finals fever hits, and the MCG is set to take centre stage for the AFL Grand Final.

4. Swell Sculpture Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Crowds flock to this eye-catching outdoor sculpture exhibition, held on the beaches of Currumbin since 2003. It’s a photographer’s dream day and night with a bounty of sculptures and designs on display, backed by artist talks and workshops and guided twilight walks. These free and paid-for events attract visitors in their hundreds of thousands over the course of 10 days. Swell indeed!

When: 14-23 September.

Book now: BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park, BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park, or NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort.

Crowds swell for this action-packed annual art event. Credit: Alison Allcock Surf Warriors Photography PBR Images

5. Queenscliff Music Festival, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC

The historical seaside spot of Queenscliff is an alluring destination, and that charm is only heightened when this annual event hits town. The Queenscliff Music Festival has a history extending 20-plus years and a habit of pulling big-name acts to entertain in intimate, scenic surrounds. This year’s bill includes The Whitlams, Sarah Blasko, The Herd, and loads more.

When: 23-25 November.

Book now: BIG4 Beacon Resort or BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park.

Charm-rich Queenscliff shines in spring when its annual music festival comes to town.

6. WA wildflowers, various locations

The numbers are extraordinary. Each year, a staggering 12,000-plus species of wildflowers carpet the WA landscape, making it the world’s largest collection. Incredibly, 60% of these species are endemic to the state. At the start of spring, Perth and surrounds are treated to the colour parade before the South West WA region traditionally bursts with blooms in October and November. Driving trails and walking tracks make for easy viewing and incredible photos.

Further reading: Australia’s fabulous flower festivals.

Book now: BIG4 parks in South West WA.

Going wild for flowers: WA's landscape boasts an array of colours in wildflower season.

7. Table Cape, TAS

Continue the floral theme in North West Tasmania where the jaw-dropping site of Table Cape is at its most exquisite in spring. This 180m-high plateau is presented with a mammoth patchwork quilt-like ‘cover’ in spring as the landscape showcases more colours than a rainbow. Much of that colour emanates from the Table Cape Tulip Farm, which makes for a must-visit, and the coastal views from the nearby lighthouse are breathtaking.

Note: Wynyard hosts the annual Bloomin' Tulips Festival on 13 October.

Book now: BIG4 Ulverstone Holiday Park (nearby).

Table Cape Tulip Farm is a sea of spectacular shades in spring. Credit: Luke Tscharke

8. Alice Desert Festival, Alice Springs, NT

Alice Springs leaps into action each year when it plays host to the vibrant desert festival. This month-long event showcases the rich art and cultural vein of Central Australia as told through dance, music, and other enthralling entertainment. With multiple venues and outdoor spaces, it all leads to an electric atmosphere.

When: 30 August–13 October.

Book now: BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park.

Alice comes alive for the desert festival.

9. Spring Racing Carnival, VIC

Melbourne’s reputation for its Spring Racing Carnival stretches across the globe, and rightly so. But it’s not just the Victorian capital that is gripped by all the on and off-track excitement at this time. The ‘ponies’ take centre stage at racetracks across Victoria with a cluster of country cups and other feature events bringing a buzz to Bendigo, Ballarat, Bairnsdale, Benalla, and anywhere in between.

Of course, the headline-stealer is the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Held in 2018 at Flemington Racecourse from 3-10 November, this is a bucket-list event.

When: 1 September-24 November.

Book now: BIG4 parks in Victoria.

The Melbourne Cup is a bucket-list event, but don't overlook the country cups.

10. Eden Whale Festival, NSW

This South Coast NSW town is highly regarded for its whale watching, and for three days in early November such status is celebrated in style. The festival combines ample opportunities to glimpse whales – this is peak viewing time here – with all manner of family-friendly events. It all helps to create a fun, vibrant atmosphere in a town filled with charm no matter the time of year.

When: 2-4 November.

Book now: BIG4 Eden Beachfront Holiday Park.

While this is a whale festival, there's plenty going on that makes for widespread appeal.

But here's a pic of a whale just to keep you happy. And, yes, it was taken in Eden. Credit: Ros Butt

Have you experienced any of these events or attractions? Or is there something else you think warrants mention? 

Isn’t it time you had a spring break? Book a BIG4 escape now.

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