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Canberra bathed in autumn colour

Vijay Koul

Vijay Koul

May 29, 2021

Best time to visit Canberra is during autumn to enjoy the beautiful tree colouration of yellow, orange and vivid red.

During autumn days the temperature drops, day length (duration of daylight) shortens and thus the change of the colours of the leaves and trees make it magnificent to enjoy autumn, especially around Lake Burley Griffin.

Lake Burley Griffin and the magic of autumn. Photo Vijay Koul

Officially autumn in Canberra starts from March but I find around April it is at its peak. This is when the mean maximum temperature is around 20.1 °C and mean minimum temperature 7.0 °C (Source: Bureau of Meteorology). This mild temperatures makes April a great time of the year to enjoy Canberra city and particularly the autumn colours.

Weston Park, Canberra. Photo Vijay Koul

There are literally thousands of deciduous trees planted around the city that help create the magic of autumn. A drive or walk around lake Burley Griffin and old suburbs, particularly Ainslie, Braddon, the City centre, Deakin, Downer, Garran, O’Connor, Reid and Yarralumla, will take your breath away.

Splendid colour Yarralumla. Photo Vijay Koul

Glebe park and Commonwealth park will be equally stupendous. For the best autumn viewing or bird’s eye view, there are elevated areas such as Telstra Tower, Mount Ainslie and Redhill lookout.

Canberra from above. Photo Vijay Koul

As a student in school back in Kashmir, our science teacher used to teach us how and why leaves change colour in autumn. While the daylight shortens, which results in less photosynthesis, there is a reduction in the chlorophyll (pigment that gives a green colour) to the leaves. The green colour drops, and the yellow to orange colours appear, contributing to the colour and tones of the trees.  Other pigments present in the leaves like Anthocyanins (give red, purple, and blue colour) and Carotenoids (which give yellow, orange, and red colour) also play their role to create the variable colour in the leaves.

Royal Canberra Golf Club. Photo Vijay Koul

Being a resident of this beautiful autumn city,  also allows me to enjoy the crisp, morning sunshine and fantastic time in my own garden, whether to enjoy the daily change of colours or raking fallen leaves. In fact, I find it quite therapeutic raking the fallen leaves and walking on them, which gives a rustling sound.

Another place not to be missed if you love autumn is the National Arboretum in Canberra. Officially opened to the public on 1 February 2013, it was formerly a pine plantation.

Arboretum. Photo Vijay Koul

After bushfires in 2003 the Australian Capital Territory government established a National Arboretum on the 250-hectare site.  Over 44,000 trees have already been planted.

Once these deciduous trees are fully established, with their full canopy cover, my imagination can visualise that this will create an enchanting magical colour in autumn. The National Bonsai & Penjing Collection of Australia (NBPCA) is also not to be missed for beautiful bonsai collections. NBPCA is part of the Arboretum. There is a good chance you will find some bonsai with autumn colours.

Bonsai. Photo Vijay Koul

An insiders tip for great places to take photos. Don’t miss Beijing Garden and Lennox Garden should also be part of your itinerary. Here at sunset you can drench yourself in autumn colours.

Beijing Garden. Photo Vijay Koul

The Australian National University has been another of my favourite places to take autumn photographs.

I consider myself lucky to call Canberra my home city where I enjoy all four distinct seasons of the year but autumn in particular is my favourite. I would love to see Canberra as the autumn capital of the Southern Hemisphere.

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