The best places to see autumn colour in NSW

Gardens around NSW are alight with glorious shades of reds, golds and russets this month. Here are some spectacular National Trust (NSW) destinations to visit, plus a selection of nearby iconic gardens for perfect autumn day trips.

Head to the Blue Mountains

The cool climate gardens of the Blue Mountains, a 90-minute drive northwest of Sydney, are rich with autumn colours throughout April and early May.

One of the first towns you’ll pass is the pretty village of Leura – home to the National Trust’s Everglades House & Gardens. Designed in the 1930s by Paul Sorensen, this is Australia’s most spectacular inter-war period garden, and you’ll quickly see why. There are towering deciduous trees, expansive garden terraces, and views across Jamison Valley to Mount Solitary. Enjoy autumn blooms like Windflowers, Mexican Sage, and Nerines, and follow the curving paths down to a tranquil grotto and reflection pool.

Visitors are also welcome to explore the recently-conserved Art Deco Everglades House, and stop by the tea rooms on the weekend for a cup of tea and fresh scones. If the weather’s good, bring a picnic and sprawl out among the autumn leaves.

The changing leaves at Everglades House & Gardens in Leura. Image: Destination NSW

While you’re there

Head a bit further north to the 252-hectare Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, popular with photographers this time of year for its incredible display of autumn colours and panoramic views.

The heritage garden village of Mount Wilson is also well known for its cornucopia of colours, including an avenue of deciduous elm trees and numerous public gardens that are open to the public. A very special autumn experience for all ages.

Fiery autumn leaves on trees lining a quiet street in Mount Wilson. Image: Destination NSW.

Dazzling days in the Southern Highlands

For bucolic countryside and old-world charm, head to the town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

The National Trust’s Retford Park is only minutes from Bowral’s town centre and is ideal for autumn strolling, with Japanese maples on the eastern lawn, taxodium, ginkgo, and oaks in shades of fiery reds and golden yellows. Dogs on leashes are also welcome to enjoy the grand gardens.

Make sure to book ahead for a house tour, which will take you inside Retford Park’s famously pink mansion. Once the home of James Fairfax AC, the Victorian Italianate homestead was richly decorated by Australian designer Leslie Walford in the 1960s, and still contains Fairfax’s impressive art and furniture collection.

Not far away in Berrima is another National Trust destination – Harper’s Mansion – which features a charming 19th century mansion surrounded by two acres of cool-climate gardens. The gardens are draped in shades of reds and golds, and there’s even a hedge maze to explore.

A sculpture within the leaf-strewn grounds of Retford Park in Bowral. Image: SGR Photo.

While you’re there

Stroll through Bowral’s Corbett Gardens, and the beautiful Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens, a vast botanical garden that is at its colourful best in autumn. From there, take your time exploring other charming towns in the region, from Mittagong and Burradoo, to Exeter or even Sutton Forest.

Autumn colours in the town of Bowral. Image: Destination NSW.

New England

About five hours drive north of Sydney is the historic New England region. The town of Armidale hosts the Armidale Autumn Festival and boasts many beautiful parks and tree-lined streets.

Armidale is also home to the National Trust’s Saumarez Homestead – a remarkable Edwardian mansion surrounded by grand gardens and historic farm buildings. The homestead is only open on Sundays throughout April and May, so make the most of it and see the rich autumn colours of the centenarian trees and beds of windflowers.

The gardens here are dog-friendly, and you can also book a house tour to discover the stories of the White family’s former life in the house. Bring a picnic and allow lots of time to explore this spectacular heritage landmark.

Windflowers
The windflowers at Saumarez Homestead are abundant throughout April.

While you’re there

Glen Innes is stunning during autumn, with poplar-lined streets and its autumn Australian Celtic Festival. Tamworth is also glorious in autumn, with highlights including the view from Oxley Scenic Lookout.

Autumn colours along the New England highway near Glen Innes. Image: Destination NSW.

Regional adventures in Bathurst

Bathurst’s variety of historic buildings, museums, and art galleries makes it a great spot for history buffs. The town and its surrounding villages host an Autumn Colours Heritage Festival, with a huge range of experiences on offer, including heritage tours. Go for the incredible autumn colours, and stay to explore the history of this beautiful region.

Our very own Miss Traill’s House is just a ten-minute walk from Bathurst town centre, and features a lovely cool climate garden. Little has changed in the former home of Bathurst resident Miss Ida Traill, who amassed a rare collection of furniture, ceramics, horse racing memorabilia and art – all of which lives on inside the house museum. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the house, take a trip through Bathurst’s history, then stroll through the heritage gardens, which are perfect for picnics.

MTH Autumn
Miss Traill’s House in Bathurst.

Autumn is a special time at National Trust (NSW) properties, and when you visit and support our places, you’re helping to ensure the future of these historic houses and gardens.

Join the National Trust (NSW) as a member and become part of a worldwide community that treasures, appreciates and protects heritage. Membership is your chance to support the National Trust. Join today.

 

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NSW Editor

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