Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Blooming Marvellous; Give Yourself a Dutch Treat and Head to Silvan for Flower Festival

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Blooming Marvellous; Give Yourself a Dutch Treat and Head to Silvan for Flower Festival

Article excerpt

TRAVEL

with Ann Rickard

IT HAS been on my travel bucket list for a long time: visit Amsterdam for the spring tulip festival. Wouldn't it be nice to be in Holland when the tulips are in the bloom and the country is a celebration of spring colour against a backdrop of cute windmills?

The good news is the tulips of Amsterdam have been upstaged by the tulips of Silvan.

In late September and early October in the Victorian country town, the tulip bulbs welcome spring with a firestorm of incandescent colour for the Tesselaar Tulip Festival.

It is glorious. In fact, it is so beautiful and uplifting I wonder why I have not had Silvan on the bucket list rather than Amsterdam - more affordable and so much easier to get to.

We happened to be in Melbourne in early October with no thought of tulips. But these beautiful bulbs had unknowingly obliged us by being fashionably late in poking their colourful noses up from the red soil at Silvan.

Someone told us about the festival and from that moment there was no question of not attending. The window to see this tulip spectacle lasts only a few weeks every spring. If you are in Melbourne, you simply must go.

The hour or so drive to Silvan from the city is delightful, up to the Dandenong Ranges through eucalypt forests and quaint towns with charming B and Bs and country cafes.

And everywhere, the flowers: rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, daffodils. All that before you arrive at the tulip farm.

Because the day was overcast, we thought we'd have the tulip farm to ourselves. But not so. There were hundreds of people out to see this exquisite display of colour, ignoring the rain and heavy sky.

The farm's slopes were a thick blanket of colour with rows of beautiful tulips to the horizon. From fiery red to bright yellow, delicate pink, pale white, deep purple, the tulips were more glam than any Hollywood star. …

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