Floriade Nightfest

26 Sep

Floriade is a huge event for Canberra, and while I appreciate all the good it brings for our fair capital, I’m always a little wary. Floriade is synonymous with traffic being backed up down Commonwealth Ave Bridge and Parkes Way thanks to those pesky (but necessary) traffic lights, and it always signals the start of hayfever season for me. But, every time I see Floriade’s Nightfest being advertised, I get more than a little excited. It always looks so other-worldly. Last year was going to be the year I finally went along, but we had a wedding overseas instead. So, as soon as it was announced this year, I booked tickets – and hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed.

I booked the tickets online with Ticketek, and before we head along I double check my confirmation e-mail. I’ve elected to pick up the $25pp tickets from the venue, which is surely as simple as every time I’ve done this for other events…

We arrive just a little after 6.30pm. Most of the car parks are full, but we manage to find a space. We cross the road at the traffic lights – becoming those people I usually curse – and join a long but fast moving queue towards the entrance. There are still ticket sales occurring in a caravan to the right of the line up, but there’s no sign for ticket collection. I assume it’s up further, but check with one of the women directing the people traffic. She tells me it is indeed up at the entrance, and that’s what she’s been telling people.

You know where this is heading, right? We move with the crowd up the hill and then. No. No ticket? Head back down to the caravan, please. It’s no big deal, but there’s not a lot I hate more than trying to do the right thing, being told what the right thing is, doing the supposed right thing, and then being told it’s wrong. Credit to the poor fellow who politely listens to me launch into, “I know you’re not responsible, but firstly we couldn’t see any sign indicating that, and secondly, we asked and did what we were told, and thirdly, from what she said we’re not the first people she told, either, so surely this is going to be a problem for other people as well–”

As I pause to catch my breath, he says if I show him the e-mail with our ticket confirmation, he’s happy to let us through. I do, and he does. Thank you, ticket gentleman.

The drama doesn’t end there, but the rest of the night is more of the dramatic lighting kind. Pictures tell the story a lot better than words can:

The lighting was pretty extraordinary - I had no idea what colour these tulips actually were. I could easily be convinced they were blue!

The lighting is pretty extraordinary – I have no idea what colour these tulips actually are.



As far as the eye can see…


If you didn't like the colours of some flowers, you just had to wait a moment...

If you don’t like the colours of some flowers, you just have to wait a moment…

... and they would change!

… and they would change!

Green flowers? You got it!

Green flowers? You got it!

Two lovely ethereal ladies twisted around on stilts (one a little more sure on her feet than the other)

Two lovely ethereal ladies twist around on stilts (one a little more sure on her feet than the other) – I think they are called Space Ballerinas

Of course there was food (these donuts didn't really have the honey kick I was expecting) - $5 a cup

Of course there’s food (these donuts don’t really have the honey kick I expect – $5 a cup)

Plenty of stalls - this one was selling whizz bang vegetable peelers ($25 each!)

Plenty of stalls – this one was selling whizz bang vegetable peelers ($25 each!)


Plus a show, with what appears to be plenty of seating (both on the ground and on chairs)

Plus a show, with what appears to be plenty of seating (both on the ground and on chairs). Other smaller marquees have music and other shows.

You can't have Nightfest without glowing blue people!

You can’t have Nightfest without glowing blue people!

... as well as the crowd favourite

… as well as the crowd favourite


There's even a touch of Sydney!

There’s even a touch of Sydney!

The entertainment aside, we’re still all here for one thing:

It is a photographer's dream!

It is a photographer’s dream!





Pretty pretties :)

Pretty pretties 🙂


Nightfest is a little moody, and the lighting is powerful: exquisite and clever. If you own a camera, you’re guaranteed to have a good time – and probably lose track of time, too!

I find the map handed out to be fairly useless, and later realise I completely missed some things. $25 is quite a lot, and I’m not sure it’s worth the price even if you can’t get along to Floriade during the day, or hate crowds, or want a romantic evening. We were also lucky with extraordinarily warm and calm weather.

It just doesn’t have quite the carnival or magical feel with which I always associated it in my head.

But, then again, maybe being able to capture pictures like this does make it worthwhile, regardless.


Date: 6.30pm, Wednesday, 25 September

Cost: $25pp (less for concession card holders)

Worthwhile factor? Worthwhile

Want more? Head to the Floriade Nightfest page here (contains ticket prices and a link to buy tickets)


8 Responses to “Floriade Nightfest”

  1. Michael T September 28, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    You must have missed the laser light show then. absolutely magical. Went back to it a second time during the night.

  2. ladyjodie October 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    I always think Night fest is pretty disappointing. The lights are great but they wipe out all the natural flower colours which, correct me if im wrong, is the whole point of Floraide! You should check out Tulip Top Gardens. Im about to be a post on it, I went on the weekend and it was awesome. Definately beats Floraide hands down


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