For many of the more southern reaches of our big brown land, spring signals the end of a long, dreary winter. It brings with it an explosion of fragrant flowers, the re-emergence of our native wildlife, and the arrival of sun-drenched, longer days.

Vibrant bluebells, wisteria, daffodils, sunflowers, and quintessentially Australian golden wattle begin to blossom all over the place, and everyone seems to be cheerier and intent on getting out and about in the mild temperatures. A road trip to the nation’s capital – home of springtime festival Floriade – could be just the ticket to celebrate the fact that spring has sprung.

Canberra is far more than the home of Australia’s Parliament – road-trippers now flock here for a laidback getaway (that still has a city feel). Smaller and more compact than other cities, our capital is a great place to explore on foot, dotted with serene parks and gardens to bask in the sun, and trendy cafes and hangouts popping up left, right and centre.

Celebrate Spring at Floriade

Now is the perfect time to plan a road trip to Canberra. Floriade 2017, an enormous annual event suited to lovers of springtime and the floral magnificence that accompanies it, kicks off on September 15th and wraps up on October 15th.

Since 1988, Floriade has been a go-to Aussie flower exhibition – think Australia’s answer to the famous British Chelsea Flower Show. The show is held in Commonwealth Park, adjacent to well-known Lake Burley Griffin.

On top of the estimated one million blossoming blooms the event displays each year, Floriade is also a chance to indulge in live music, workshops for amateur horticulturalists, art exhibitions, children’s activities, and a myriad of other drawcards.

Drive from Sydney to Canberra

Canberra is situated between Sydney and Melbourne, but much closer to Sydney, making a road trip from Sydney to Canberra an easy and relatively quick trip.

There are a few ways to approach the 290 km journey from Sydney to Canberra. The most picturesque option will take you down the New South Wales coast, via stunning seaside stop-offs Wollongong, Kiama, Ulladulla, and Bateman’s Bay, before heading inland to Canberra. If you’d rather take a shorter trip, the simplest way is straight down the M5 Freeway. This will take you through Goulburn, where you can pay a visit to the Big Merino – one of Australia’s quirky and loveable Big Things.

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Keep an eye out for the Capital Wind Farm, near Bungendore just as you’re approaching Canberra. The massive windmills make for an interesting and impressive sight, and are definitely worth a photo or two.

How to drive from Melbourne to Canberra

If you are travelling up from Melbourne to Canberra for Floriade this year, you have two great route options to choose from.

The Hume Freeway is a 670 km stretch of inland road that will get you to our great capital in about eight hours, depending on the traffic. Once you are free and clear of the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, stop off for a meat pie or coffee in the quaint town of Nagambie, just north of Seymour, and be sure to take in the stunning lakes region from Jacobson’s Lookout. The large border towns of Albury/Wodonga are also popular stop-off options for a bite or a spot of shopping, and don’t forget to get a photo with the dog on the tuckerbox at Gundagai!

Prefer a coastal road trip? From Melbourne, the 730 km journey to Canberra via the Princes Highway will take you on a picturesque drive through the rolling hills of the Gippsland Region and up through the stunning holiday hotspot, Lakes Entrance. Once you cross the state line into New South Wales, you’ll bypass the pristine Kosciuszko National Park. Now that it’s spring, the snowfields will be melting, and you’ll have an incredible green vista to enjoy.

All that’s left to decide is, country landscapes or coastal delights?

Canberra is the city of the season, and whether you are making the journey from Melbourne or Sydney (or anywhere along the way!), Thrifty has a convenient rental car location to suit your needs to make that springtime road trip easy and breezy.