While most major Australian events have pivoted online or taken the year off in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canberra’s annual tulip festival Floriade still went ahead – though it looked a little different this year. 

From the 12th of September to the 11th of Octoberresidents from NSW, Canberra and even interstate were able to enjoy the floral displays, e-workshops, exhibitions and entertainment that had been offered in previous years.  

Instead of being held primarily in the Commonwealth Park (below), over ninety community groups came together to plant one million tulip bulbs across the city’s suburbs, parks and landmarks. Both virtual and in-person events were held throughout the festival, and maps were available online for people wanting to safely explore the trail of flowers throughout through the city.

The changes were made in hopes of increasing tourism, helping local businesses, and connecting local and wider communities. 

The instalment at Commonwealth Park was a popular spot. People walked through and around the park to see other tulips especially along Lake Burley Griffin (below).

Heading down to Floriade became a day trip to explore the city and its landmarks.

A view of the National Carillion.

Boxes of tulips were planted along Capital Paddle, where people can rent paddle boats throughout the week.

Maps and signs were posted throughout the city, showing nearby displays, with flowers lining streets.

Sign at the Kingston Foreshore Eastlake Parade at Kingston.

Reminders of COVID safety were also signposted.

Thousands of tulips were planted at Cockington Green Gardens, amongst the miniature replicas of global buildingspublic places and models of miniature homes.

 Entrance to Cockington Green Gardens.

People were able to walk the Cockington grounds to marvel at all the shapes and colours.  

Miniature replica of the Slovakian Bonjice Castle surrounded by tulips.


–   Story and images by Briannah Devlin. Additional editing by Lucy Tassell.