Cherry blossom season is landing in Sydney, and with it, Auburn's beloved Cherry Blossom Festival. Running from August 20 to August 28 in the Auburn Botanical Gardens, this fragrant festival is all about celebrating Japanese traditions, music, pop-culture and food, with visitors able to wander through fields of fluffy pink blossoms in the process.
This year's festival will include a 45-minute long self-guided tour down the Cherry Blossom Trail, which is bookable by the hour everyday from 9am to 5pm. Visitors will also get to the chance to eat their way through the festival's resident Japanese Food Village, a street food haven where festival food vendors will be peddling a delicious variety of Japanese Hanami staples, including traditional yakatori, omurice, onigiri and karaage chicken.
Every day, from 10am to 5pm, you'll also get the chance to play putt-putt golf with live DJs and a Sakura mocktail bar. You can also get down at the Flower Rave, a massive garden dance party that will kick off every morning from 9-11am and attend a Japanese taiko drumming show at noon on weekdays. Also, at 1pm daily, you can listen to a collection of readers from Sydney's entertainment and food industries when they read epic Japanese stories out loud. At 3pm daily, all budding flower-arrangers will get the chance to attend an ikebana talk, where you will get to learn all about the delicate art of Japanese flower arranging.
Excitingly, on the weekends, all attendees will also get the chance to attend the Hello Kitty Garden Party, where the cutest cat in town will be set up in a garden grove with a whole lineup of fun activities, workshops and facepainting available for kids and adults alike.
This festival tends to get pretty busy, which is why the free shuttle buses that will be running everyday from Auburn Station are such a catch. You can also get on board the thrilling 'Sushi Express', a tiny trackless train that will run you into the gardens as a cute lil' end to the journey.
This year, in the interest of Covid safety, there will be eight festival sessions running per day, and all tickets must be pre-booked in advance. You can do that here. Tickets are free for all Cumberland residents, kids aged 16 and under, senior card holders, and companion card holders, while everyone else will have to pay $10. This pass gives you all-day entry to the festival grounds, and a 45-minute session of your choice on the Cherry Blossom Trail.