Wildflower Season in Bloom
The Grampians, with its vast variations in topography, rainfall, temperature and soil structure is home to more than one third of Victoria's flora. Early botanists once described this mountainous region as the “Garden of Victoria”, a reflection on its more than 1000 plant species, including 26 endemic to the region and 100 types of orchids. So it’s no surprise that come spring, it’s one of the best places in the state to see new flowers in bloom.
The north is the first to change colour – head to Heatherlie Quarry, Mount Zero, Mount Stapylton and Roses Gap – while in the south, there are often good displays as you walk to the summit of Mount Abrupt. The dramatic Wartook Valley (and its gardens), are home to vibrant displays, particularly at Pohlner Track, Asses Ears, Lodge and Rose Creek roads, as well as along walks to the Balconies, MacKenzie Falls Lookout and the Zumsteins MacKenzie River walk.
If you're trekking further afield, October is also the peak month for wildflowers in Croajingolong National Park in East Gippsland. Along with other flowering shrubs, the diverse coastal landscape here supports over 1,000 native plant species, and includes eucalypt forests, rainforests and heathland, and over 90 species of orchids. Give yourself some time – the Wilderness Coast Walk extends 100km from the Eastern Shores of Sydenham Inlet in Croajingolong National Park, to Wonboyn in the Nadgee Nature Reserve, NSW.
You can also see spectacular displays of wildflowers at Wilsons Promontory National Park and Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, native orchids at Morwell National Park, and snow daisies and yellow billy buttons in the Snowy River National Park.
Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges — TarraWarra International 2017: All That Is Solid
Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne is the architecturally (and bucolically) impressive TarraWarra Museum of Art. This regional gem is currently exhibiting TarraWarra International 2017: All That Is Solid…, the third exhibition in the TarraWarra International series.
All that is solid… follows on from TarraWarra International 2015 and its exploration of meaning beyond hegemonic narratives. The exhibition showcases leading contemporary art in a global context, and sees five Australian and international artists depict precarious histories through photography and video.
Artists Didem Erk from Turkey and Cao Fei from China, along with Tom Nicholson, Patrick Pound and Cyrus Tang from Australia have used archival material such as photos or video footage as a starting point for their work, or drawn on current social and political change and conflict to inform their response.
Make a day of it at TarraWarra Estate by wandering the idyllic grounds, and enjoying lunch at the restaurant, prepared from the kitchen’s own market garden. The cellar door (designed by Melbourne’s Kerstin Thompson Architects) has been framed by stone-sourced from the Castlemaine quarry, resulting in an impressive backdrop to enjoy a tasting of the on-site vineyard’s cool climate drops.
TarraWarra International 2017: All That Is Solid… runs until November 12.
Goldfields – Bendigo Heritage Uncorked
Bendigo Uncorked Week brings together some of the Goldfields’ top drops, with local food, live music, film and the chance to step inside Bendigo's historic buildings.
On Saturday October 14, Bendigo Heritage Uncorked takes over several venues in the boomtown city with its roving wine and food trail. A ticket to this all-day affair sees seven venues hosting tastings of different local wines, which will be matched with an entree-sized dish developed especially for the day by each kitchen, along with strolls and architecture gazing in between.
The seven venues – Ulumbarra Theatre, Rocks On Rosalind, Wine Bank on View, Bunja Thai, Hotel, Shamrock, FOS Kitchen & Bar and Clogs – are all based in central Bendigo, so it’s easy to walk between.
Wine enjoyed throughout the festivities can also be purchased from the Pop Up Wine Shop in Dudley House until Tuesday October 17.
Ballarat – Writer’s Festival and Open House
The Ballarat Writer’s festival is again bringing some of the brightest minds and their best words to the region for discussion. Held across three venues – Federation University Arts Academy, M.A.D.E, and Trades Hall – the three-day event will present author talks, workshops, performances, children’s events and more. Highlights include crime writer Dorothy Johnson discussing crime fiction, Chris Corbett introducing the fundamentals of screenwriting, and award-winning authors Peggy Frew and Lia Hills discussing the representation of the “other” in their work.
The festival runs October 20-22 and features both free and ticketed events. Tickets are available now – see Ballarat Writers Festival for more details.
The following weekend is another busy one for Ballarat. From October 28-29 Open House Melbourne, in collaboration with Visit Ballarat, presents Ballarat Open House. Over two days, 20 of Ballarat’s most impressive private residential homes, landscapes, and commercial and civic buildings will be on display to the public for the first time. It’s an ideal tour for the design inclined, space curious and just plain nosey alike.
See the full list of buildings open on the weekend. The event is free, but several inspections do require bookings.
Mornington Peninsula — National Photographic Portrait Prize
After its opening stint at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, the National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) has begun its roadshow, and is now showing at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery until November 26.
This annual prize of outstanding Australian photography saw more than 3000 entries submitted for 2017, with judges selecting 49 for the exhibition. The NPPP is open to both emerging and established photographers, and celebrates the year’s best contemporary photographic portraiture from across the country.
Sydney photographer Gary Grealy was awarded the $25,000 prize for his striking portrait of television presenter Richard Morecroft and painter Alison Mackay. Highly commended was awarded to two photographers this year: John Benavente for his work Renaissance Rose, and Brett Canet-Gibson for Mastura, with Canet-Gibson also taking out the people’s choice award.
The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery is set adjacent to the Mornington Peninsula Botanical Rose Gardens. After a visit to the gallery, lap up some spring sunshine by wandering the gardens’ 86 beds of 4000 roses surrounded by a border of native Australian trees and shrubs.
Visitors can also mosey down to nearby Main Street to enjoy lunch at the town’s many cafes, before heading to Mornington Foreshore Reserve for a stroll along the boardwalk between the beach and the wildflower-lush reserve.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Victoria.