In the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, an easy, pleasant drive from Sydney, springtime is tulip time.
As you head southwest along the Hume Highway (which goes all the way to Melbourne), enter the town of Mittagong (113km from Sydney) and visit the Southern Highlands visitor centre there, which should be on your left-hand side if you're coming from Sydney.
This is as good a place as any to take a short break, admire the tulips blooming in the visitor centre in the spring, and get as much information as you need about the Bowral Tulip Time Festival and the Southern Highlands in general.
Getting to Bowral
If coming from Sydney or other places north of Mittagong, take the left-hand turn at the fork in the road in Mittagong with a clearly visible sign pointing the way to Bowral. The drive from Sydney should take just about an hour and a half.
If coming from Canberra or other points south of Mittagong along the Hume Highway, watch out for the right-hand turn to Bowral as you approach the centre of Mittagong town.
You won't get lost following the road to Bowral.
The Bowral Tulip Time Festival is usually held for 10 days or so within the NSW Labor Day fortnight.
The annual Bowral event features planting of up to 100,000 tulip bulbs, centred on Corbett Gardens. There will also be a large number of Open Gardens to visit.
The festival information office is at the corner of Bendooley and Merrigang Sts.
Art shows, street performances and other entertainment, special dishes prepared from local produce, and specialist garden shows over the Labor Day long weekend are among the attractions of the Bowral Tulip Time Festival.
For many, just taking that leisurely drive over the rolling hills of the Southern Highlands — and savoring the country air — are pleasure enough. The flowers are a bonus.