From brilliant fall colours to out-of-this-world wildlife experiences, autumn just hits differently in these Australian towns.
One can no more say what autumn ‘is’ in Australia than you can rattle off the thousands of ecosystems we have here on this mind-boggling big continent.
Here, autumn is not so often the scent of spiced pumpkin in the air and piles of dead leaves to kick through, as it is a definite shift in the natural world towards the colder months.
Whether you want your autumnal experience to be gallivanting through a deciduous forest or escaping the incoming chill for just that little bit longer, we’ve got the town for you.
1. Orange, NSW
While it’s always a good time to visit the vines in this Central West town, come autumn Orange attracts visitors from all around the state for its Orange F.O.O.D (Food of Orange District) Week is happening. If you can’t make it for the end of March when the festival is on, don’t fret. Head out apple picking, book in for some tastings at a local vineyard and prepare for your tastebuds to be dazzled at one of its gourmet natural restaurants.
Orange in Autumn is not to be missed. (Image: Destination NSW)
2. Bright, Vic
Take a weekend break up in the High Country town of Bright. In autumn, the Victorian alps are at their best as local poplars, elms, oaks and maple trees burst into spectacular fall colours.
If you come at the end of April, there are the activities of the 10-day Bright Autumn Festival to enjoy too; like a gala day with street stalls and the charming Wandiligong Nut Festival.
Enjoy a weekend break in the High Country town of Bright.
3. Exmouth, WA
Swap one majestic natural experience for another when you fly to the town of Exmouth on the Coral Coast to see the annual migration of whale sharks. These gentle giants are the biggest fish in the world.
Each year, they make their way to the Ningaloo Reef on the Western Australian coast, near Exmouth. Once you spot them on a tour, you can even slip into the waters for a closer look.
See the annual migration of whale sharks in Exmouth. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
4. The Barossa, SA
When the days begin to cool and the foliage turns, it’s grape-picking time in Barossa Valley wine country.
As well as stopping at the region’s famous cellar doors, spend an afternoon bushwalking in the nearby Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park or Para Wirra Conservation Park, or cycling through town with your friends.
Pick some grapes in the Barossa this autumn. (Image: Barossa Grape & Wine Association)
5. Strahan, Tas
Located at the entry to the wilderness of western Tasmania, Strahan is surrounded by a whopping 19 national parks and reserves.
Embark on an adventure with Gordon River Cruise, explore the nearby rainforests, get a taste of the harsh convict life at Sarah Island on Macquarie Harbour, and gorge yourself on the freshest of fresh seafood at this marine town.
Explore the wilderness from this marine town. (Image: Stu Gibson)
6. Armidale, NSW
Take the Waterfall Way inland out to this New England High Country town for the Armidale Autumn Festival. A celebration of the changing of seasons, it takes place at the beginning of April, when the burnt oranges begin to take root in the foliage.
For the rest of the time, take a trip out to the stunning Ebor Falls, sip on Armidale’s cool climate wines, take a heritage tour, stop by the Armidale Folk Museum to find out more about the region’s settler backstory, and visit the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place.
Visit the Armidale Autumn Festival for a celebration of the changing of seasons. (Image: Destination NSW)
7. Toowoomba, Qld
Ninety minutes from the state’s capital, up in the Great Dividing Range, ‘the garden city’ of Toowoomba is resplendent come autumn.
Start with a walk in the heritage-listed Queens Park, with its tree-lined avenues, and then head up to Picnic’s Point, with its epic views over the colours of the Great Dividing Range. Want more? We’ve lined up the best things to do in Toowoomba, here.
Toowoomba, ‘the garden city’, blooms in autumn. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
8. Margaret River, WA
Come March, the summer crowds that visit this magical wine and produce region are dying down, making the summer the perfect time to plan your trip here.
Between the food and wine trails, walks among the towering karri forests and on the Cape to Cape Track, and explorations of ancient cave systems, take a trip to the actual town of Margaret River for its boutique shops and bars.
Walk among the towering trees of the Boranup Karri Forest. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
9. Richmond, Tas
Take a day trip from Hobart to the colonial-era town of Richmond. With buildings that date back to the 1820s, a trip to this pretty Tassie town can seem like a step back in time.
Check out the view of the Coal River from the Richmond Bridge, which was built by convict labour, and take a trip to Australia’s oldest intact gaol.
Try a tipple from the nearby Coal River Valley growing region, stop by the miniature model village, and search for goodies at the village market.
This pretty Tassie town can seem like a step back in time. (Image: Poon Wai Nang)
10. Yarra Valley, Vic
While it may be most famous for its pinot noir and chardonnay, the Yarra Valley is also a stunner when it comes to its pretty autumnal gardens.
From the water features and blooms of the Alfred Nicholas Gardens to the golden canopy of the George Tindale Memorial Garden, there’s plenty to see.
Closer to the heart of the Yarra, take a tour of the wineries; that, at this time of the year, will be collecting up the grape harvest.
The Yarra Valley is also a stunner when it comes to its pretty autumnal gardens.