IN his continuing search for the more eye-catching in this world, David Ellis says that if you're a green thumb and into all things florally and Springtime, the place to head this month is the NSW Southern Highlands.
Because just an hour or so south of Sydney, one of Australia's oldest and most-visited floral festivals will attract something like 65,000 visitors for the 65th annual Tulip Time from September 13th to 25th.
Ablaze at Bowral's famed Corbett Gardens will be 75,000 tulips and 15,000 annuals, and with a theme of Alice in Wonderland, garden bed displays will cleverly depict such scenes as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, the Cheshire Cat, Big Clock, Playing Cards and more.
And a further 40,000 tulips will add more rainbows of colour to parks and gardens across the Southern Highlands' other major towns of Mittagong and Moss Vale, and a score of surrounding picturesque villages.
On Saturday September 17th a Street Parade through Bowral will include marching bands, floats, vintage farm equipment, street performers, a procession of classic cars – and 140 cyclists who'll have just pedalled down from Sydney raising money for brain cancer research.
As well a heritage steam train will bring scores of other visitors from Sydney for not just the gardens, but the region's internationally-famed street dining and shopping, and a Tulip Time market-place crammed with local foodstuffs and beverages, home-wares, clothing and jewellery… while awaiting wine buffs will be the area's famed boutique wineries.
It's a long way from Bowral's first 500-bulb Tulip Time in 1960; for information and free assistance with booking accommodation call1300 657 559, or visit southern-highlands.com.au to book online.
 75,000 tulips and 15,000 flowering annuals in Bowral's Corbett Gardens will be the centre-piece for this month's 65th Southern Highlands Tulip Time festival. (Courtesy Southern Highlands News)