The ultimate travel guide to

Autumn Escapes

As the heat of summer cools and vast swathes of the countryside are painted in brilliant hues of orange, apricot and russet red in the country’s south, the call of a weekend escape spent exploring charming towns and cosying up beside a toasty-warm fireplace with a bold shiraz in hand will become impossible to resist.

 

For those more interested in following the sun than layering up, head north to discover your own summer escape and indulge in lazy days spent swimming in crystal-clear waters and soaking up the autumn warmth on sugar-white sand.

 

Australia in autumn really is a choose your own adventure holiday; whether you’re planning a romantic weekend away or a road trip with the family, you’ll find the best events, experiences and escapes to add to your autumn travel itinerary right here.

The best events around Australia in autumn

It’s not just the trees and foliage that are rendered with intense colours over autumn.

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, Alice Springs

Venture to Parrtjima – A Festival in Light in Alice Springs, which brings to life the stories of Australia’s oldest-living culture.

Tasting Australia

South Australia’s annual Tasting Australia has blossomed as a national event that includes a program of long lunches, exclusive dinners, farm tours and tastings.

Vivid Festival, Sydney

Sydney’s annual Vivid Festival kicks offs in May: it’s where artists from all over the world use light and technology to paint the city’s landmarks in luminescent hues.

Enlighten Festival, Canberra

Canberra will also shine over autumn with the annual Skyfire brightening the night sky under the umbrella of the Enlighten Festival, which illuminates natural attractions after dark.

Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach

The Rip Curl Pro is held at Bells Beach along the Great Ocean Road. Follow the Great Southern Touring Route to see the iconic limestone stacks and season changing hues.

Autumn travel deals

The best autumn food and wine experiences

Embrace harvest time around Australia

Autumn is harvest time in Australia which makes it the perfect time to celebrate the season’s bounty.

 

Pick crisp apples and pears in the Adelaide Hills from February to April or if you’re wanting to travel between March to May then head to the Tasman Peninsula or Batlow in NSW for a later apple picking season.

 

Harvest grapes in South Australia’s Barossa Valley or Tasmania’s Tamar Valley from February to April or head to Tumbarumba in NSW during March to April.

 

Alternatively, Queensland’s Lockyer Valley is ripe for harvesting various fruits and vegetables from April right through to October.

 

For something a bit different make your way to Western Australia’s Carnarvon between March and October for scalloping and prawning.

Food and wine regions to visit

VICTORIA

 

Join in on a state-wide celebration of the culinary scene at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival; embrace a weekend getaway with wine, food and music in Halls Gap at the Grampians Grape Escape; and then head to the coast to join farmers, chefs, scientists, fisherman and foodies at the Apollo Bay Seafood & Produce Festival.

 

CENTRAL NSW

 

Local restaurants and vineyards in Central NSW showcase the best the region has to offer at the annual Maitland Taste, Orange Food Week.  The Field to Forest Festival in Oberon also invites gourmands to enjoy rural vistas along its new self-drive wine and beer trail.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Gastronomes flock to South Australia for a few very good reasons: to dine on the culinary creations of world-famous chefs (think Hardy’s Verandah in the Adelaide Hills, Africola and Restaurant Orana in Adelaide), the chance to sip their way through the world famous Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions and for the Tasting Australia event in Adelaide and surrounds that’s held annually in autumn.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Wait for the heat of summer to soften before you scuttle over to Western Australia to the Mandurah Crab Fest where the native blue manna crab in WA is the headline act. You can also meet the down-to-earth farmers on a  Genuinely Southern Forests Food & Farm Tour which celebrates the diverse array of local produce in southwest WA.

 

Finding a warmer escape in autumn

The Kimberley, WA

The dry season generally starts mid-autumn in April and continues through to September in the Kimberley. While the rain can still make an appearance and the floods continue to recede from parts of the Gibb River Road, it also means the greenery will be at its most lush, the sheer force of the well-fed waterfalls won’t fail to impress, encounters with wildlife will be plentiful and with temperatures reaching highs of 35 degrees on average, snorkelling the coastline for your fill of marine life will also be a welcome pastime.

Cairns, Qld 

The start of autumn meets the tail end of the wet season in Queensland’s tropical north, which means the weather is still balmy enough to enjoy a swim in your hotel pool and the sun continues to shine in between downpours.

 

A little bit of rain won’t stop you exploring the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef or the 180-million-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site, the Daintree Rainforest – book a trip in the autumn shoulder season and embrace the sleepier side of Cairns, Palm Cove and its surrounding towns.

The Whitsunday Islands, Qld

Boasting 300 days of sun each year, the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays more than qualify as a sunnier destination for those looking to escape the cooler autumn climates of their hometown. Take your pick and stay on one of the four resort islands – Hamilton Island, Hayman Island, Daydream Island and Long Island – or base yourself on the mainland in Airlie Beach, Bowen or Proserpine and stretch your summer into autumn.

Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Trace the migratory route up to Noosa on the aptly named Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which is a top spot for a summery break year-round. Head inland to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland during peak foliage season to watch nature colour the trees in fiery reds, yellows and oranges.

Northern Territory

Autumn in the south-east of Australia coincides with the start of the dry season in the Top End, which is when the wetlands and estuaries come to life with flowering water lilies and dramatic tropical storms.

 

 

The best luxury escapes in autumn

Accommodation

Travel along the Bells Line of Road to the Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley, which is book-ended by the Gardens of Stone National Park and Wollemi National Park. The luxury resort is a carbon-neutral conservancy and well placed for a wander through the surrounding woodlands in autumn.

Destinations

While the weather in the autumn months is more changeable in Tropical North Queensland, it’s also less touristy. Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef only has two seasons: wet and dry, which makes autumn the perfect place to chase the sun and worship the mighty melaleuca which is in flower in early autumn.

Experiences

The skies will be ablaze with colour in Canberra during the Balloon Spectacular in March, which is one of the offshoot events of the Enlighten Festival. The annual festival launches on the lawns of the old Parliament House in Canberra in March.

The best family escapes in autumn

Tasmania

Tasmania is a top spot for a family road trip in autumn as the bite-sized Apple Isle has less visitors and lots of wide open spaces to let the kids get their wiggles out. The children will enjoy the shorter car rides, and watching for wildlife such as echidna, wombat, wallabies and Tasmanian devils.

Northern Territory

The early part of the Dry Season is the best time to introduce budding nature-lovers to the local wildlife on the Bamurru Plains in the Top End: watch fat baby magpie geese learning to fly, observe wallabies getting a lesson on how to hop and Jacana chicks learning to walk on their stick legs. It’s autumn with a tropical twist.

Blue Mountains, NSW

Head one hour west of Sydney to explore the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mt Tomah. Here, the maples begin to blaze early and the wooded mountains are splotched with russet, copper and gold. Wake up early in the pearly pink and lilac light and join your children on a self-guided treasure quest collecting clues that encourage them to engage with nature.