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Canberra’s huge flower festival returns with nighttime illuminations

Emma Joyce

Book your flights to the capital this spring as one of the most Instagram worthy flower festivals returns to the lakeside gardens, Commonwealth Park.

What started in 1988 as a supposedly one-off event to mark Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th anniversary is now an annual pilgrimage for half a million flower lovers. Floriade has now grown to 30 days of floral displays and events, including the popular after-dark viewings called NightFest.

For $35 you get to wander around the gardens, which are illuminated with light artworks, and see stand-up comedy from Arj Barker, Akmal Saleh and Matt Okine, or a Bowie tribute performance by Kate Miller-Heidke and Jeff Duff (depending on the night you book).

This year’s Floriade is adopting a pop culture theme, showing off flower beds inspired by iconic figures in 20th century pop music, movies and social media – including Marilyn
Monroe and Ken Done inspired creations alongside floral dedications to the Rubik’s Cube.  

They’re also paying tribute to the nostalgic children’s book Where’s Wally, setting up open-air film screenings and wrapping up the festival with a pet-friendly party, Dogs’ Day Out, where visitors get to dress up their doggos as superheroes.

Floriade runs from Sep 15-Oct 14 and tickets cost $35 for the NightFest program. It’s free to view the flowers from 9.30am-5.30pm.

While you’re there, check out the Heath Ledger exhibition.

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