The best places to visit in autumn
Blessed autumn; the love child of summer and winter, and a time of year where every type of traveller can find their bliss.
Like two sides of the same coin, autumn serves up a perfect balance of offerings stretching from the coastline’s balmy climate to the crisp air of the countryside. And it’s these 6 destinations that’ll have you feeling its splendour the most.
Go as hard as you’d like or take your cue from nature to slow down and relish the seasonal glory with the best places to visit this autumn.
1. Southern Queensland Country
If autumn were a theatre production, then Southern Queensland Country would hands-down set the main stage. While it’s true most of our coastline cousins are still getting away with bikinis and boardies, out here, the change in season sees (and feels like) a distinct transformation, even though you’re only around 90 minutes from Brisbane.
First things first: dust off the winter wardrobe because you’re going to need it as temps delightfully dip further and further away from the scorch of summer. (At night it can even drop to single digits. You know what that means… holla cosy fireplaces!).
Whether it’s a day-trip that has you road-trippin’ for the hills or a weekend rendezvous, you won’t want to forget your camera as you stalk the changing colours of the countryside. In Toowoomba, this colour burst goes beyond the golden blanket of fallen leaves in Queens Park as artists leave their mark on the city streets with large-scale mural paintings at the annual First Coat Festival.
Food lovers, welcome to your nirvana as seasonal produce takes the country into a feasting frenzy at food festivals in South Burnett, Felton and Hampton. And since harvest season has kicked off, it would be a crime not to sample the famous apple pie from Sutton’s Farm or the fresh drops of this 5-star winery hop through the Granite Belt.
Still not convinced? Take a look at this video and you will be.
#realtalk: Noosa is pretty amazing no matter the time of year, but now that the hordes of summer travellers have gone, you’ve got a little more breathing room to enjoy one of the 50 best places to travel in 2017 as crowned by Travel + Leisure.
Warm beach waters and ‘laxed vibes aside, there’s been some major sprucing across the hotel scene, including Mantra French Quarter‘s newly decked-out lagoon pool, the stylin’ dinin’ at the refurbed View Restaurant at Peppers Noosa, and most recently, the injection of five-star French luxe at the Sheraton-turned-Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort.
As tempting as it is to stay put in your stunner digs, you’d be robbing yourself given the incredible surroundings (Noosa National Park, we’re looking at you) and new activities taking outdoor exploring to nek-level, including cruising down the Noosa River in Australia’s first Aqua Donut BBQ, local guided adventures with Freedom Trail, and abseiling down Mt Tinbeerwah with Grab Rock.
After all that physical exertion, you’re going to need to fuel up. While you can’t pass on classics like Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House and Betty’s Burgers, you’ll want to squeeze in some of the new kids on the block like Providore on Hastings (your gourmet snack heaven) and the uber cool Moto cafe/bar/vintage motorbike showroom. Better still, time your visit with the Noosa Food and Wine Festival and get om nom nom-ing through culinary creations from some of the best chefs and winemakers in Australia.
Ahh Brisbane… we can always rely on your hustle and bustle for a good time, but this season brings with it some major firsts for the capital.
The World Science Festival returns bigger and better in 2017, and with its slime, bubbles and epic science chats comes an exclusive live performance of Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi wonder 2001: A Space Odyssey accompanied by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra to kick-start the festivities.
Techies and entrepreneurial minds won’t want to miss Myriad, a groundbreaking new technology and startup festival designed by the minds behind SXSW, SLUSH and PAUSE, that’ll firmly place Brisbane on the map as the next major hub for technology and innovation.
DC fans, avert your eyes because the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) will be bringing to life the interconnected Marvel characters of Thor, Captain America and Iron Man in the first major Marvel-related exhibition to be staged in Australia.
Speaking of GOMA, this year marks 10 years of inspiration and imagination, so get amongst the celebrations at the headlining exhibition Sugar Spin, where you’ll find furry walls, sleeping giants, thousands of Lego, and the return of Carsten Höller’s Left/Right Slide (an actual slide spiralling visitors from the top floor to the bottom).
We might be coming to the end of turtle season, but it’s not too late to witness the miracle of life in the turtle watching capital of Australia.
More than half of the entire concentration of nesting loggerhead turtles in the Southern Hemisphere make the annual pilgrimage to Bundaberg to lay their eggs at Mon Repos, and although the time has passed to catch the mamas nesting, from now until late March you can book a front row seat to watch thousands of baby hatchlings scramble across the beach into their new ocean home.
After ticking that off the ol’ bucket list, check out this guide for our top tips for what to see and do while you’re here, and make sure you squeeze in enough time to visit the home of the World’s Best Rum.
(Psst, shocked/impressed by what Bundy’s got to offer? Wait ’til you sample the paddock-to-plate game along this North Burnett food trail.)
Country music lovers need no introduction to Ipswich, AKA the home of the biggest international country and roots festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
This year, fans have even more reason to bust out their best Akubras as CMC Rocks QLD marks its 10-year anniversary. Naturally, the festival is bringing out some big guns from around the world to celebrate, including Australia’s own Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Kip Moore, and headliners the Dixie Chicks (returning for the first time in over 10 years).
But despite your musical preference, Ipswich should be on your travel-to radar, as it’s one of the most underrated cities in the sunshine state (and one of the fastest growing according to the Courier Mail).
In just a zippy 35-minute drive from Brisbane you’ll find yourself in the oldest provincial city in Queensland, one with a cultural scene giving our capital a serious run for its money. From the heritage buildings lining the streets and vintage shopping at the Top of Town, to trendy laneway restaurants and microbreweries, Ipswich is (surprisingly) jam-packed with things to see and do, so do yourself a favour and stop ignoring this destination on the rise.
6. Gold Coast
The Gold Coast continues to be a solid choice when you’ve got the kids in tow, and it seems the rest of the world has caught on too, being voted as the best family holiday spot in Australian Traveller‘s 2016 People’s Choice Award.
And with the brunt of summer now behind us, autumn’s the perfect time to make the most of the agreeable climate (read: less rain, less humidity, cooler days, but still warm waters perfect for swimming #hallelujah).
So start planning the school holiday fun now with this list of family-friendly activities:
- Got a budding Mick Fanning/Stephanie Gilmore in your midst? They’ll be pros in no time after hitting the waves with these GC surf schools.
- Secure your tix for the mammoth three-day Kids Expo taking place on the last weekend of April, packed with parenting workshops and kids activities from toddlers to tweens.
- Bust out the superhero costumes at QPoW on Broadbeach as you celebrate all things Supanova.
- Why go inside when you can catch a free flick at ‘Movie under the stars’ (check the City of Gold Coast website for details).
- Treat your littles one to a world of creativity at the interactive art installations at Bleach* Festival‘s Jnr Program.
- Grab the selfie sticks and use this guide to make the most out of a day at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
If eat, sleep, beach, repeat, is more your Easter jam, we suggest surfing the menu of the best Gold Coast restaurants by precinct and laying a towel on these beachy hotspots. (Psst, need a detox after smashing all those chocolate bunnies? Treat yourself to mini-vacay at one of the GC’s top three wellness retreats.)