Get out and explore Brisbane's top jacaranda trees hotspots
Have you ever seen Brisbane erupt in a sea of purple jacaranda trees? One of our favourite Instagrammers Lee Haskings (better known as @imlee_) is a little more than obsessed with what he's coined #purpleseason.
Lee has kindly shared the best spots to find the purple rain in Brisbane, and top tips on how to photograph them. Go on, chase after them.
Jacarandas and their history in Brisbane
In the middle of spring comes one of my favourite times to take shots across the city. It’s when all of the jacarandas around the region start to bloom and everywhere starts to turn purple.
You’d think the trees are native to the region, but they’re actually introduced from Brazil. Some of the more famous tree-lined streets (Goodna, New Farm) even have trees dating right back to the 1920s and 1930s. Throughout the city during the '60s and '70s the Brisbane City Council livened up the parks and streetscapes by planting more of the trees and even offered them free to residents to plant and look after.
And thanks to that forethought, we now get to see these colourful trees come to life all over the city at the same time.
When do they bloom?
It all depends on how cold the winter has been as to when they’ll start blooming. But for the past few years they’ve been blooming earlier and start around the second week of October and go right through to the start of November.
You can tell if a tree has only started blooming if there aren't many flowers on the ground around it. Just come back in a week's time and you’ll be surprised just how much more purple there is!
@imlee_'s jacaranda hotspots
Here’s all my favourite jacaranda spots around Brisbane. Just remember they all bloom at slightly different times, so I’ve ordered them based on which ones are the first to bloom to those that are a bit later. There’s also some tips afterwards on how to get those perfect jacaranda shots.
Dockside Walk, Kangaroo Point
These trees bloom very early and are the best indicator that the purple season is about to start! They can be a little tricky to find but if you go to Medley Café and look south down along the walkway you’ll see the whole line of trees going down to the ferry stop.
The classic. One of the oldest and largest collection of jacarandas in Brisbane, New Farm Park is a definite must-see. It's always very busy on the weekend so try to visit during the week – early morning or late afternoon is your best bet.
Just up at the start of the Corso, near the South Brisbane Cemetery, is one of the largest single clusters of jacarandas in the city. It’s a truly impressive display when in full bloom, don’t miss this one!
Not far from the UQ campus in St Lucia is this park that has a huge line of jacarandas along its border on Munro St. It blooms a bit later than everywhere else, but when in full bloom has one of the longest purple carpets in Brisbane!
Not only does this lookout have one of the best views of the bridge and the city, it also has a few younger jacaranda trees throughout the park. The perfect foreground for a city shot!
Butterfield Street (RBWH), Herston
Just along the entrance to the hospital is a row of jacarandas lining the street. They’re not large trees, but will get better and better every year.
Yep, that’s right. Brisbane even has a park named after these trees. There used to be more jacarandas but some were lost to a major storm a few years ago.
It is still worth the visit to see some of the older trees, and there’s even a purple sunshade for the playground!
UQ has so many jacarandas all over the campus. Some of the best ones are near the UQ Lakes bus stop near the bridge. Just park along Sir William MacGregor Drive near the ferry terminal (or catch the CityCat there) and explore the grounds.
Easily one of the most impressive displays in region. The park has jacarandas all around its border and there’s even a Jacaranda Festival held here at the end of October.
Make sure to drive along the Brisbane Terrace side to see one of the oldest tree-lined streets. Quick tip – checkout George St, my favourite hidden jacaranda street.
Busway Station, Woolloongabba
Just across from the Gabba is a jacaranda-lined walkway. The trees aren’t too big now, but will be an impressive display in a few years time!
Clem7 Smoke Stack, Woolloongabba
Ok, so it’s not really a jacaranda tree. But the façade on this building was inspired by all of the jacarandas in the region and can be seen from everywhere you go in Woolloongabba.
How to get the best shot of a jacaranda
All of my shots are taken from just my iPhone – you don’t always need expensive gear if you get your timing right. Here’s some quick tips when you’re trying to get some shots of the trees.
- Shoot with light behind you. Try to make sure the flowers on the tree aren’t in the shadows – otherwise the purple will disappear.
- Blue skies + purple trees = perfection. Try to get that perfect contrast of the sky behind the flowers.
- Early morning (before 9am) or afternoon (after 4pm) are the best times. Make sure it isn’t too close to sunrise/sunset, otherwise the trees won’t have enough light.
- Get down low. If you time it right there should be a carpet of purple below the tree – perfect for adding in even more purple to your shot!
And the most important rule. If posting on social media make sure to use #purpleseason and #brisbaneanyday
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