Iconic Canberra tourism event, Floriade, opened its gates for its 30th birthday last weekend. Over a million bulbs are on display across 8,000 square metres of scenic Commonwealth Park. We’ve put together a list of the must-see attractions at this year’s festival.

1. Garden beds
It goes without saying that Floriade’s main attraction is the gorgeous flower beds. Over 100 species of tulips have been planted in carefully crafted beds that are 18 months in the making. Canberra design group LANDSCAPEalign have been hard at work creating the colourful beds, from basic concept sketches to the works of art on display today.

2. Dogs’ Day Out
Floriade is welcoming your four-legged friends for a day of fun on Saturday, October 14. Strike a pose with your pooch in the photo booth, or pick them up a present from the Dogs’ Day Out Market. Grab a snack together at the Pooch Café, and make sure to enter the competition for best dressed pup!

3. Gnome Knoll
Purchase a gnome from the festival, and show off your creative flair for everyone to see, by painting it for display on Gnome Knoll. Entries for the best painted gnome competition will be accepted until Sunday, October 8. Gnome Knoll is facilitated by the Rotary Club of Canberra East, who ensure that all funds raised go to valuable projects that benefit the local community.

4. NightFest
Floriade’s fantastic after-dark experience will run across two weekends this year: 22 September – 24 September and 29 September – 01 October. This year’s edition features a stacked line-up of comedians, musicians, roving performances to keep you entertained. View the flower beds in a new light, as they are illuminated by the amazing display of LED designs. Book a ticket here.

5. The Tasting Plate
Unleash your inner foodie at The Tasting Plate. The country’s top culinary talent will be giving demonstrations at 8:30pm each night of NightFest, on all things oysters, chocolate, champagne, and Poacher’s Pantry. Head down to taste some delicious dishes and learn from the best. 

6. Guided tours
Take part in a tour of Commonwealth Park, led by one of Floriade’s friendly guides. The guides will give you a rundown on the history and development of the festival, allowing you to learn and ask questions about all things Floriade. Tours will run for around 45 minutes, from 10:30am, 11:30am & 2pm every day. Book a ticket here.

7. Kids’ activities
There’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained at this year’s festival. Budding gardeners can pick a worm to be adopted for release into the Floriade worm farm, while BUGS + BLOOMS will teach kids about the importance of up-cycling, as they create insects and flowers from recycled household items. There’s also perfume making classes, circus workshops, and heaps more.

8. Live performances
A selection of talented musicians will provide the soundtrack to your Floriade experience. You can find these gifted performers playing their tunes on Stage 88 and throughout the festival. Acts include Azim Zain and His Lovely Bones, Mondecreen, Betty Alto, and Ghostnoises. Head to the Floriade website for the full line-up and schedule.

9. Sculptures
artsACT have curated a striking collection of sculptures, created by local and national talent. The sculpture exhibit features a range of pieces which utilise a variety of materials, from natural stone to recycled plastic. View the flowerbeds from a different perspective through Horizon, or sail across the lake on In Plain Sight, the colourful boat.

10. Markets
This year, the Floriade marketplace will be spread throughout the festival, allowing you to discover each stall as you explore the event. A huge variety of local producers will be showcasing off their wares, including creators of food, art, kitchenware, and clothing. Some stalls will open and close during the festival, so make sure you to download the Floriade 2017 app to access the complete schedule.