While the northern hemisphere inches towards Autumn, it’s springtime Down Under and Canberra is celebrating longer days and warmer evenings with a range of festivals, exhibitions and sporting events. From the show-stopping Floriade festival to exhibitions celebrating female trailblazers at the National Gallery of Australia, read on to find out what’s on in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) this season.
Floriade, 16 September to 15 October
Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of spring returns to Commonwealth Park, right by the city centre. From 16 September to 15 October, extensive displays of flowering bulbs will fill the gardens on the picturesque shores of Lake Burley Griffin in a springtime extravaganza. There will be a delicious selection of gourmet food stalls featuring tasty eats from Lobster and Co. and The Fudge People, arts and crafts stalls, a perfume workshop, as well as clothing and accessories, homeware and of course garden products for those green-fingered festival goers. The flowers are brought to life with integrated sculptures and live entertainment scattered amongst the gardens. This year, the theme is Floral Wonderland and visitors are encouraged to be inquisitive as they see and experience Floriade from a different perspective, escaping for a moment into their own wonderland as they explore the magical charm of over one million blooms.
Floriade NightFest, 28 September to 1 October
When the sun goes down, explore Floriade’s dark side as NightFest returns with a new and exciting programme of after dark entertainment and horticultural illuminations. From 6:30-10:30pm each night, the garden beds of the Commonwealth Park will be illuminated with colourful light installations and filled with live music, DJs, roving performers, comedians, face painting and even more delicious food and market stalls. Tickets start at $15 AUD.
Know My Name: Making It Modern, National Gallery of Australia – 5 August to 8 October
“Know My Name: Making it Modern” commemorates trailblazing female artists who revolutionised the trajectory of contemporary art in Australia. The “Making it Modern” exhibition further advances the National Gallery’s Know My Name initiative, dedicated to honouring the contributions of all women artists, fostering a deeper comprehension of their impact on Australia’s cultural landscape. Ranging from Margaret Preston’s striking prints to Olive Cotton’s evocative photographs, from Grace Cossington Smith’s luminous paintings to the ethereal ambience of Clarice Beckett’s creations, Making it Modern presents the individualised artistic methodologies of each creator, shedding light on their roles as modern women within their respective eras.
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Australians and Hollywood: The Exhibition, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia – On now to 31 Dec 2023
Celebrate iconic moments in contemporary Australian film, and the people and stories that brought them to life, when you visit National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s “Australians and Hollywood” exhibition. See rare behind-the-scenes footage, beloved cinema moments, plus dazzling costumes and props on display for the first time, and much more. Highlights include spectacular costumes from Elvis, Moulin Rouge! and The Sapphires, props from The Power of the Dog, customised steering wheels from Mad Max: Fury Road, and Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin’s concept books for Romeo + Juliet. “Australians and Hollywood” is open daily from 10am to 4pm and on Fridays from 10am to 8pm.
The Little Burley Food Market – Every Saturday morning
The Little Burley Market is a Saturday market, right by the waterside. This beautifully curated gourmet food and artisan market is beholden to magnificent views where visitors can relax by Canberra’s famous Lake Burley Griffin whilst diving into something tantalising. Browse gorgeous locally handmade stalls, purchase a pastry for a walk around the lake, or tuck into delicious foods and listening to live local talent for a day out by the lake. From delicious multicultural cuisines to devour, chef-created desserts, smoked meats, fresh-out-the-oven pastries, beautiful blooms, handmade jewellery, artisan pottery, children’s apparel, and more, plus of course, stalls for furry friends. There is something for everyone at this lakeside market.
Experience an AFLW game – Canberra Giants Vs Melbourne Demons – 10 September – other fixtures ongoing
The AFLW, Australian Football League Women’s Competition, makes its triumphant return to Canberra this season as the Canberra Giants gear up to face the Melbourne Demons in an exhilarating Sunday afternoon clash at Manuka Oval. It’s an absolute must for visitors looking to immerse themselves in the thrill of a Sunday ‘footy’ match alongside family and friends. The Giants Fan Zone promises a delightful time for kids, abuzz with giveaways, face painting, inflatables, and a post-game kick-to-kick experience. Visitors can join the Canberra team in showing their unwavering support for the GIANTS AFLW team while relishing in top-notch family entertainment right in the heart of the nation’s capital. The GIANTS will also take on the Adelaide Crows at Manuka Oval on Saturday 23 September.