By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Wednesday, August 11, 2021
The distinct change in seasons is synonymous with South Australian life. In spring, floral buds begin to unfurl, releasing their perfume into the air, while worker bees leave the cosy comfort of their hives and begin pollinating with zest.
We start to come out of hibernation too. Heaters are turned off, blankets are removed from laps and we venture outside, breathing in the crisp, fragrant air and welcoming the sunshine with open arms.
We want to witness the new life before us, and South Australia has plenty to offer, if you know where to look.
South of Adelaide, on the breathtaking Fleurieu Peninsula, almond trees fill with white and light pink blossoms from as early as July each year – a symbol of renewal for many.
The flowers are so iconic to this region that the local township of Willunga hosts an annual Almond Blossom Festival, celebrating the occasion.
While the festival may have passed this year, visitors can still see the eye-catching flowers around Willunga until early September with locals putting together a map, available online, of where to find the best blooms.
Willunga isn’t the only place in South Australia where almond blossoms can be found. The Riverland also produces this versatile nut.
With white flowers covering hundreds of orchards in early spring, you could easily be mistaken for thinking a light snow had fallen.
Almond blossoms not only signify birth – they indicate whether a bumper crop will be ready to harvest in the coming months.
Other symbolic flowers vie for our attention in the Riverland. Renmark is home to the southern hemisphere’s largest private rose garden, Ruston’s Roses.
Established by the late David Ruston, it features more than 4000 species of roses and is home to the National Rose Collection.
Renmark’s love for roses is reflected along the town’s streets, which are lined with thousands of flowers during spring.
Walk along the riverfront and you’ll be met with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours as the roses bloom.
If an entire town covered in roses isn’t enough, then a week-long flower festival in October surely will be.
During the annual Riverland Rose and Garden Festival, locals open their homes, showcasing lovingly tended private rose gardens.
The whole region gets into the festivities, with a rose ambassador appointed, and a rose-infused vodka concocted by local distiller 23rd Street Distillery.
Another prominent South Australian, The Clare Valley becomes a golden patchwork of canola fields as winter gives way to spring.
Every August and September, Canola fields in South Australia’s cropping regions turn golden, creating the perfect contrast to the blue sky and occasional gum tree on the horizon.
After you’ve taken your Insta-worthy snaps, sip some wine at one of Clare’s world-class wineries. Along the Riesling Trail, yellow makes way for green as new leaves sprout from the once bare grape vines.
The former railway line from Auburn to Clare has been transformed into a 33km trail that winds its way through the Clare Valley, passing vineyards and wineries along the way.
Take a leisurely walk or ride along the picturesque path, enjoying the farms and natural bushland, while also making frequent stops at wineries like Sevenhill or Tim Adams Wines.
It’s important to note that canola fields are private property and there’s no access to the public. Please admire the picturesque scenery from behind the fence.
Further north, the Flinders Ranges is home to an array of wildflowers awaiting the arrival of warm spring sun to come to life, as well as golden fields of canola.
Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit, with bursts of green, red, yellow and white colouring the usually rugged landscape.
Alligator Gorge in Mount Remarkable National Park is home to a wide variety of spectacular blooms. Fringe lily, myrtle, guinea flower, lavender grevillea, mintbush and the nodding chocolate lily all come out of hibernation to show off their beauty.
The appearance of wildflowers also attracts native wildlife. Visit on a warmer day, and you might spot yellow-footed rock wallabies and echidnas in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.
Walk the 11km Rawnsley Bluff trail and you’ll see many beautiful shrubs and wildflowers at the base, before climbing to the summit.
While it’s a challenging hike, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the Chace Range towards the south east.
Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills
It’s not just regional South Australia that sees an explosion of colour in spring. Some of our state’s most stunning flowers can be enjoyed in Adelaide’s inner city and surrounds.
Our 3 Botanic Gardens – Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga – are full of blossoms that’ll delight the senses.
Adelaide Botanic Garden, in the heart of the city, comes to life during spring. See rainbow lorikeets feast on the sweet nectar of spikey sapphire tower flowers. Walk under the Wisteria Arbor – a cloister-like structure draped in a mesmerising blanket of violet – or stroll over to the historic Palm House and see the Star Jasmine Archway, heaving with white speckles.
Further afield, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden – well known for its colourful autumn leaves – is just as beautiful in spring.
The garden boasts an array of orchids, including many native species, that explode with colour as the warmer weather arrives.
The grounds are a vivid collage of daffodils, bluebells, flowering cherries, azaleas and waratahs.
Wittunga, near Blackwood, comes into its own during spring, with the many terrace beds becoming fusions of colour. Flowering shrubs and a variety of South African proteas burst out of their winter cocoons, when the clouds make way for the sun.
These stunning flowers, along with the fire-red rocket pincushions (Leucospermum reflexum) create a colourful mosaic that is a feast for the eyes.
You don’t have to look far to see South Australia breaking off the icy shackles of winter, from the rainbow colours created by Renmark’s roses to the wildflowers taking hold in the Flinders Ranges.
If spring’s temperatures aren’t quite high enough to satisfy you, in Adelaide there’s a sure sign that summer’s on the horizon: a purple rain begins to fall from the jacaranda trees lining the streets, creating a lilac-coloured carpet, welcoming us to the warmer months ahead.