Thursday, 24 November 2016

Blooming Sydney: Jacaranda - November’s Purple Haze

Purple Haze in Sydney

Every November a purple haze engulfs Sydney and transforms the city into a magical lavender-blue wonderland.  It is Jacaranda, a blossoming tree that is not native to Australia, but brought here from South America in the 20th century by growers as part of a city beautification project.  It is a deciduous tree and loses all of its leaves before flowering, so in November there is a full explosion of bright purple with very little green.  

Jacaranda blooms first appear in early October and peak in November.  At this time of the year you can walk under a lilac canopy on a purple carpet along Sydney’s beautiful tree-lined streets as the Jacaranda blossoms start raining down on the footpaths.   Make the most of spring in Sydney and fully experience this short-lived annual splendour and explosion of colour.

The best way to experience the Lilac Magic in Sydney


Spring is a lovey time to be out and about in Sydney and it is also the Jacaranda season.  Take advantage of the generally mild spring weather and the clear blue skies in November to experience the lilac magic of Jacaranda. 

In wet weather


Although bright sunny weather is best for viewing and photographing Jacarandas, a walk in the rain can be equally exhilarating if you are the adventurous type.  Wear a clear rain poncho or carry a see-through umbrella (available at most dollar stores in Sydney) so as not to obstruct your view.  

Caution: Do be careful not to walk on the fallen Jacaranda flowers as they can be quite slippery when wet!

Choose the best times of the day to see Jacarandas


I would recommend either early morning from 7:30am to 10:00am or late afternoon from 04:00pm to 05:30pm.    

Sydney’s best Jacaranda hotspots


North Shore


Lavender Bay


No, Lavender Bay does not take its name from our lavender-blue blossoms.  However, it is one of the best spots in Sydney to see and experience Jacarandas.  In the November peak season Lavender Bay has a stunning display of the purple flowers on its steep harbour foreshores.  As an added bonus the suburb has a delightful cafe culture we well.  So don’t forget to enjoy a great cup of cappuccino or latte while you are  there.  

Kirribilli


Kirribilli is one of the oldest suburbs of Sydney and it contains Kirribilli House, the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia.  It is also a great Jacaranda hotspot.  The Jacaranda tree-lined McDougall Street becomes a purple-blue haze in the months of October and November.  Every year tourists flock to McDougall Street to photograph the purple blossoms.  Don’t forget to check out the lovely Kirribilli markets while you’re there - you may be able to grab a bargain or two!

Hunters Hill


Hunters Hill is a leafy peninsula that sits between the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers.  The Aboriginal people appropriated named it Moocooboola - ‘meeting of waters’.  It can also be called Sydney’s Jacaranda tree capital.  In fact, the Hunters Hill Council offers a series of guided Jacaranda Walks and Cruises in early November every year.  Book early to enjoy the magnificent Jacarandas in full bloom in historic Hunters Hill.

Mosman


Jacarandas paint the lovely Mosman purple every spring.  According to a local legend, in the past century the hospitals on the north shore handed out Jacarandas to all new mothers and asked them to plant them in their backyards and watch them grow as their their babies grew. If that is fact or fiction we do not know.  What we do know is that the Jacarandas on the north shore are simply spectacular.  So pick a bright sunny day and catch an early ferry to Mosman for a leisurely walk along its Jacaranda tree-lined streets for a stunning view of the blossoms.  

Eastern Suburbs


Paddington


Oxford Street in Paddington is one of the best Jacaranda hotspots in Sydney.  Grab a takeaway coffee and stroll down Oxford Street on a spring weekend and enjoy its magnificent purple-blue Jacarandas. And don’t forget your camera...

Double Bay


This posh harbourside enclave is also affectionately known as Double Pay due to the high income of its residents.  Double Bay is a beautiful upmarket European-style shopping village packed with exclusive designer boutiques, stylish cafes and trendy beauty salons.  It also boasts a stunning collection of Jacaranda trees that paints the suburb a lovely lilac every spring.  For a great Jacaranda walk in Double Bay that does not disappoint you, start at the corner of New South Head and Wolseley Roads and finish at Guilfoyle Avenue.  

City of Sydney  


The Royal Botanic Garden


The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney was established in 1816.  It is the oldest botanic garden in Australia.  It is open throughout the year and access is free.  It is home to a large collection of plants from around the world.  It also has a good collection of Jacarandas, including a unique white flowering variety.  Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon at the Royal Botanic Garden enjoying the lovely purple hues.

Circular Quay


Vibrant and buzzing with activity, Circular Quay is absolutely stunning in the Jacaranda season of October and November.  The lilac blossoms against the backdrop of Sydney’s bright blue sky, beautiful harbour views, its iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge are simply picture-perfect.   Enjoy a leisurely brunch at one of many Circular Quay restaurants with outdoor seating that offer an array of delightful seafood dishes.  Then take a walk all the way to the Rocks, taking in the breathtaking lilac views along the way.

Plan your Jacaranda Walk for 2017 now


As I publish this blog post today it is almost the end of the Jacaranda season in Sydney for 2016.  It is not too late to catch the last few moments of Sydney’s Jacaranda spring although most of the lilac blooms have already fallen to the ground and disappeared.  Most Jacaranda trees in Sydney are now sprouting their soft green fern-like foliage and shedding the purple flowers, getting ready for the warmer summer months ahead.  

But now is the time to plan your Jacaranda walk for next year.  Go ahead, pull out your mobile and add a date or two to your 2017 calendar - just make sure it is in early to mid November so you can experience the spectacular purple haze in its glorious full bloom.

Good luck!



Jacaranda Gallery

Jacaranda canopy and carpet

Lilac blooms against Sydney's blue sky
Jacaranda flower