Spring: Things to do during November in Australia
As the last month of spring in Australia, November offers a taste of what’s to come with the approaching festive season.
By Natasha Dragun
As temperatures continue to rise around the country throughout the last month of spring, so too do local spirits. The end of the year is in sight, the beach beckons and there’s a packed events calendar nationwide, catering to everyone from foodies to outdoor adventurers. Here are some of the activities and festivities you can look forward to when visiting Australia in November.
Experience the sweat life in Noosa
Noosa is the perfect place to relax. Think long stretches of white sand, beachside dining, and a lush hinterland dotted with health retreats. But it’s also home to the Noosa Triathlon, the biggest Olympic-distance triathlon in the world. Held on the first Sunday of November, this annual event takes in some of Queensland’s most scenic spots, from powdery beaches to leafy rainforest. Join thousands in the main event or choose from one of the many other events on offer, from ocean swims to charity golf. There's even a kid's triathlon for the little ones.
Wine and dine in Margaret River
Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White are just some of the celebrity chefs who have graced Western Australia’s premiere culinary extravaganza, the Western Australia Gourmet Escape. This extraordinary celebration of food and wine begins in the Swan Valley, continues in Perth and concludes in Margaret River. Before the festivities begin, stay in the Swan Valley for a couple of days where you can hire bikes and sample world-class wines along the scenic Swan Valley Cycle Trail.
Take to the skies
Warm November mornings are perfect for a hot air balloon safari. Spot wildlife while drifting across the vast red desert surrounding Alice Springs in the Northern Territory; plan your day of wine tasting from the air over South Australia’s Barossa Valley; glimpse at the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest when taking off in Tropical North Queensland; or glide above the mirror-smooth waters of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
Rustle up something delectable
Spring in Tasmania offers an abundance of fresh produce from the island's trees (apples, pears, limes), soil (asparagus, eggplants, edible flowers) and sea (giant crabs, rock lobsters, sea urchin roe). And there’s much more in between too, as you’ll learn in The Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School & Farm’s hands-on classes. About 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Hobart, on this farm’s paddock-to-plate experience, you’ll pick and prepare your own produce before sitting down to a magical homemade meal.
Dive into the world of design
Australia is home to some extraordinary creative talents and many unite at Design Canberra Festival, a display of 200 events across three weeks showcasing some of the country’s most dazzling designs. This fantastic fête hosts an array of complimentary activities to experience, including exhibitions, collaborations, talks and tours aimed at design-lovers of all ages. There's even a pop-up wine bar.
Put your dancing shoes on
The Western Australian capital of Perth is in its element in November, still coloured with spring blooms ahead of summer. In a nutshell, temperatures are perfect for dancing and that’s exactly what you’ll want to do at the Perth International Jazz Festival. In addition to ticketed events featuring high-profile musicians, you can enjoy a bucket-load of free jazz moments across the city with local, national and international performers. Are you ready to dance?
Float down the mighty Murray River
The Murray River is Australia’s longest river, stretching 2,700 kilometres (1,678 miles) from northern Victoria towards the South Australian captial of Adelaide. As temperatures begin to rise during South Australia’s summer, spring is the ideal time to jump aboard a houseboat or paddle-steamer to take in the gum-lined banks that carve along the river. Historic steamers depart from various locations, including Echuca, Swan Hill and Murray Bridge, giving you a front-row seat to the area’s 350-plus varieties of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.
Visit turtles in the Great Barrier Reef
A blissful coral cay amid the Great Barrier Reef, beautiful Lady Elliot Island is a hotspot for three types of sea turtles: hawksbill, green and loggerhead. The latter two transform the islet into their nesting ground from November to March, burrowing into sand dunes to lay their eggs. At this eco-friendly island resort, turtle rangers will teach you about their work keeping these gentle critters safe and thriving. Then, dive into the coral sea and swim with manta rays and tropical fish, navigating the only living thing you can see from space (the reef, that is).
Enjoy a splash of purple
If you’ve never seen a jacaranda in full bloom, you’re in for a treat. Over the spring months, these beautiful trees shower Queensland and New South Wales with an eye-popping show of Instagram-famous purple flowers. They’re particularly revered in Grafton, about 600 kilometres (370 miles) north of Sydney, where the annual Grafton Jacaranda Festival paints the entire town lilac and culminates in the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen. Why Grafton? This country town lays claim to the largest jacaranda tree on the continent.
Catch a “muddy” in the mangroves
A 15-minute drive north of Queensland's Port Douglas lies Cooya Beach — a diverse ecosystem of mangroves and mudflats, and one of the most culturally significant spots in the region. The local Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal community have called this part of the world home for tens of thousands of years, and today brothers Linc and Brandon Walker offer tours unveiling age-old Aboriginal traditions and customs; from spearfishing to sharing their knowledge of medicinal herbs. The third brother, Juan, operates Walkabout Cultural Adventures, which explores Cooya and other spiritual sites, including Mossman Gorge and the Daintree Rainforest. It’s about to get hot in this part of Australia, so arrive early in the month to make the most of cool coastal breezes.