Sydney’s streets are coloured purple every spring and we couldn’t be more excited about going for a walk at this time of year. The towering Jacaranda trees, which are in fact native to Brazil and were brought to Australia via England in the 19th century, have flourished in Sydney thanks to the subtropical climate and the ability of their seedlings to sprout from falling seeds.
Their attractive and long-lasting pale indigo flowers have also helped since who would dare cut down such stunning beauty?
Flowering from mid-October through to the end of November, the swathe of purple throughout the city welcomes the summer months and generally lifts our moods so if you’re also in need of some flowering beauty, then lace up your shoes and head on out to these locations.
1. The Royal Botanic Gardens and the City
The Sydney Morning Herald on 5 December, 1858, wrote that the specimen in the Royal Botanic Gardens was well worth a journey of 50 miles to see: ”its beautiful rich lavender blossoms, and its light feathery foliage, render it the gem of the season.”
Little has changed since then, except that 50 miles is a much easier journey today than it was back then, so you’ve got little excuse to check out the blooming Jacaranda near Farm Cove. While you’re in the Royal Botanic Gardens, make sure to check out the exhibition at the Calyx. Afterwards, take a stroll to Circular Quay and The Rocks where you will see many more Jacaranda trees in full bloom.
2. McDougall Street and North Shore
From the aptly named Lavender Bay to Kirribilli’s McDougall Street with its flowers stretching over the road and creating a purple-coloured canopy, Sydney’s North Shore is a jacaranda paradise. For views of the harbour peppered with purple leaves, head to Wendy Whiteley Gardens, or check out the suburbs of Hunters Hill, Greenwich, Waverton, Longueville, Wollstonecraft and Woolwich.
3. University of Sydney
Before passing away in 2016, this was perhaps the most famous Jacaranda tree in the whole of Sydney. Nonetheless, a genetically identical clone was planted in its place in 2017 and last year was already blooming. Find it in the University of Sydney quadrangle with a native Illawarra flame tree in the opposite corner.
Nearby the University of Sydney, the neighbouring suburbs of Glebe, Camperdown and Erskineville are well worth a walk around.
4. Eastern Suburbs
It seems like any which way you look, purple is going to be on the horizon in Sydney. In the east, head for Oxford Street, Glenmore Road and the Five Ways intersection for flowering jacarandas standing side-by-side.
The Jacaranda Festival on Argyle Street in Camden is filled with live music, markets and walking tours. And, at night, the 47 purple-flowering Jacarandas are lit up gloriously. However, the volunteer-run festival has run into some roadblocks the past couple of years and hasn’t been able to welcome the thousands who first showed up back again.
Even still, that doesn’t mean you can’t go and see the Jacaranda trees for yourself.
6. Grafton, North Coast
Unfortunately, there will be no Jacaranda Festival in Grafton. However, that doesn’t mean their 2000-odd purple-blooming trees don’t come out to play. Generally, the second half of October sees Grafton’s streets turn into a purplish haze and makes the six-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney totally worth it. Go in early November if you want to be walking on purple. Check out their map for the best streets to see.