Top Tips for visiting Araluen Botanic Park and Tulip Festival

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Last Updated on August 22, 2021 by Travels with Kids

Enjoy a colorful welcome to spring at the Araluen Tulip Festival at the Araluen Botanical Gardens!  Located just out of Perth, in the Darling Range,  the Araluen Tulip Festival is a great day out.  With tulips in full bloom and a riot of color, this is an awesome springtime activity to put on your “to-do” list.  If you are looking for a great Perth Staycation, we have provided some handy Araluen Accommodation options at the end of the post, and things to do near to Araluen.

Top tips for visiting Araluen Botanic Park and Tulip Festival

Araluen Tulip Festival 2021 Dates

Are you wondering what the best time to visit Araluen Botanic Park is?  The answer is – during the Tulip Festival in Perth!  In 2021, the festival is planned to run from the 16th of August to the 3rd of October.

Why do I say, planned?   The tulips are naturally growing plants, and so while the intention is that they begin to bloom in mid-August, this will depend on the weather in Perth!  During the past years, I just check out the Araluen Instagram account to get a good idea of what the tulips are doing in real-time.  This year I noticed that the blooms were out a few days before the official start date – and they were advertising “come and see the tulips in peace”!  That’s because the Araluen Tulip Festival gets pretty crazy.

Top tips for visiting Araluen Botanic Park and Tulip Festival

Araluen Botanic Park – Our Experience

We visited in early September on a sunny Saturday, the first sun that Perth had seen for months.  It appeared that we and every other Perth family thought that Araluen Tulip Festival would be a good idea.  They were packed full of people, but despite that, a picture-perfect family outing.  It was a beautiful atmosphere – like a carnival in that there were so many bright colors, a kaleidoscope of cultures, there was a fantastically festive feeling about the day with everyone celebrating the end of a Perth winter and lots of warm sunshine.

The Araluen Botanical Gardens itself offers a wonderful range of secret nooks, crannies, and pathways.  So once you arrive at the parking area (which incidentally was full – and we parked in an overflow area) you come to the main area where there’s a train stop and beautiful sets of Tulip garden beds.  Absolutely stunning –  but genuinely full as people lined up taking photos, and getting the best Instagram op.

Our verdict – This is a 110% family-friendly outing.  All of Araluen Park was full of families enjoying themselves, a wonderful experience to celebrate the beginning of Spring with the rest of Perth.

Why Visit Araluen Gardens?

If we have not yet convinced you through our loving descriptions and beautiful photos, the Araluen Gardens and park provide a wonderful respite from the busy hectic life in the city.  Don’t get caught up in the idea of only visiting when the tulips are in bloom,  Araluen is a lovely place to visit year-round.

Top tips for visiting Araluen Botanic Park and Tulip Festival

Tips for a Visit to the Araluen Tulip Festival (with Kids)

When is the Best Time to Visit Araluen Botanic Park?

The Araluen Tulip Festival runs from the middle of August to the middle of September  – so what is the best time to see the tulips in flower?  We were told that it depends on the season.  It’s a good idea to be in contact with Araluen to find out when will be the best chance to see the blooms! (Or as suggested above, check out the Araluen Instagram).  This year – 2021 – we don’t have a spare weekend until the end of September so we will have to try our luck to see what the blooms look like then!

Try to go During the Week

To enjoy Araluen Tulip Festival without the crowds,  then try to go during the week.  We’ve been told that after 3 pm is generally quieter and there might be opportunities for solitude in the late afternoon.  The Park closes at 6 pm.

Head Into the Hills 

If you must go on the weekend, once you arrive at Araluen Park – head off into the hills (sounds romantic) by going past the main train stop and the café.  Head up the valley where there are lots more tulip beds and picnic areas.  And  – best of all – there were very few people there in comparison to the main areas.

Pack a Picnic Lunch

Not only is the food expensive, but there are long queues on busy days.  Take a picnic rug for a fun family picnic experience.  Once you get out of the main area near the cafe and train stop there are some lovely uncrowded areas.

Take the Train

It’s a lot of fun for littles – our little guy had a ball.  Cost $5 per adult and $2 for a child under 5.  On A busy Saturday, there was an enormously long wait – up to 30 minutes.  However, we were told that on a quiet day that the passionate driver explains all the different aspects of the park – another reason to go when there are fewer people.  Note – the train has not been running during the Covid Pandemic.  Take a look at the Araluen Facebook page for up-to-date information.

Pack the Pram

Much of Araluen Botanic Park is pram-friendly.  So, even if your toddler likes to walk, pack your pram for the picnic basket.

araluen botanical gardens
The train at Araluen Botanic Park will sure to be a hit with the kids!

Araluen Tulip Festival Photography Tips 

When you first arrive at the initial Tulip beds there are lots of ropes around the garden beds.  If you go further up away from the crowded areas there are no ropes.  So, if you are looking for a very genuine photo, then look for tulip flowers higher in the hills.  Consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon for better photography and avoid the busy lunchtime period.  Our number one hint for photography is – be patient – and considerate of others!

araluen botanical gardens

Araluen Botanic Gardens History

My mother talks about visiting Araluen for picnics as a child in 1950s Perth.  In my own childhood, we’d take my aging grandparents on walks up there.  Without a doubt, Araluen Park plays an important part in the memories of many Western Australians.

Araluen Park was established as a holiday camp in 1929 by Australian businessman, and founder of the Young Australia League, J.J. “Boss” Simons.  He bought 59 hectares in a beautiful valley where creeks ran through and offering a cool climate.  Simons named the valley Araluen, an Eastern States Aboriginal word meaning “singing waters,” “running waters” or “place of lilies”.

By 1990 the Araluen Botanic Park Foundation (ABPF) and the State Government purchased the park.  Since then ABPF continues to manage Araluen on a day-to-day basis.  Significant funding has been invested in order to realize their vision for Araluen:

To create a unique, world-class botanic park of great natural beauty and tranquillity, which is accessible to and remembered by all who visit.

araluen tulips

Araluen Park Facilities

There are barbecues on-site, though you will have to get there early on a busy day to get one.

The Roundhouse building was the original cookhouse for the Araluen pioneers in the early 1930’s.  Nowadays it offers coffee and cakes.

The Chalet Healy Café has recently reopened under new management for the Tulip Festival in springtime.  Their aim is to lift the offering beyond a usual café menu to an offering of seasonal produce featuring modern Australian cuisine.

Built around 1937, Chalet Healy was inspired by Canadian Log Cabins, resulting from Boss Simons wish to enrich the world through travel and global connection.  Still a worth aim today!  Chalet Healy is made from enormous Jarrah logs from the bushlands and stone from the creek.  While in summer the purple flowering Wisteria covers the balcony, in winter the log fire offers a warming log cabin experience.

What can’t I do at Araluen Botanic Park?

  • No dogs are permitted at Araluen.  Actually, the policy states, “no domestic pets”.
  • Smoke.  All tobacco products are not permitted including electronic smoking devices.
  • Play ball, frisbee, scooter, ride a bike, or other activities that would be better suited to a playground or sports area.
araluen tulips
Here we are admiring some cherry blossoms!

Other Araluen Botanic Park Events

So… what is there to do and see apart from the Perth Tulip Festival?

Autumn Leaves

In autumn (late April- May) the colors of the deciduous trees of Araluen Park are worth visiting!  Not all deciduous trees develop reds, purples, yellow, orange, and gold.  Some might just go brown.  However, in windy wet weather, the leaves are blown off the trees often before the gorgeous rich colors can be formed.

Araluen Roses

One of the things that make the Araluen Rose garden so special is that it is not a formal rose garden, instead, the roses are found amongst the native Australian bushland.

The Rose Gardens at Araluen Park are a new initiative, compared to the rest of the park, being planted in 2000.  It is now recognized for its world-class Tea Rose collection!  The roses are in full bloom from late October and early November.

Camellias at Araluen Park

A beautiful old-fashioned flower, Camellias are some of the oldest flowers at Araluen dating back to the Young Australia League camp.  In 2012 the International Camellia Society (ICS) recognized Araluen under its Camellia Gardens of Excellence program.

From April through June, you can see Camellia sasanqua cultivars whose flowers come at a similar time to the displays of brightly colored autumn leaves throughout the Park.  From June to September you can see the Camellia japonica, while the later flowering Camellias finish up in October.  The bright flowers of the Camellias certainly brighten up the park during the winter days in Perth!  One of our camellias which were planted c1930s, located near the Chalet Healy tearooms, towers over the roof of the log cabin

Weddings at Araluen Botanic Park

As described above, while the Tulip Festival at Araluen is generally considered the best time of year to visit, there are a lot of reasons to visit during autumn or even winter.  As such, with so many romantic gardens, gorgeous creeks, there are many beautiful spots to choose from.  Popular places for wedding ceremonies include the Poolside Pergola, Rose Garden Gazebo, Grove of the Unforgotten, or your own choice of space.

araluen park

 Araluen Botanical Gardens – Location

Araluen Botanic Park is located in the beautiful Perth Hills suburb of Roleystone, and up in the Darling Ranges.   If you are traveling from the Perth CBD, it takes about 45 minutes in a car from Perth.  Once near the hills you take the Brookton Highway, and follow the signs from there!  Keep in mind that on busy days there is overflow parking.

Araluen Botanic Park – Admission & Hours

Araluen Botanic Park’s Opening hours depend on the season.  From May through August, the opening hours are from 9 am – 4 pm.

From mid-August (dates change each year) the park is open until 6 pm.  However, the last entry is 5 pm, to ensure that visitors have sufficient time to explore the flowers.

Admission for Araluen Botanic Park can change at any time, these are the current 2021 Springtime rates.  For more information check out the Araluen Pricing.

ADULT $15.00
CONCESSION* $10.00
CHILD (6 TO 15 YEARS) Children under 6  $10.00
FAMILY PASS (2 ADULTS + 3 CHILDREN) $45.00

 

araluen park

How Long do I Need at Araluen Botanic Park?

Araluen Park is a massive 59 hectares in size, and there are many trails and places to explore.   At a very minimum, we recommend a minimum of two hours.  If you had packed a picnic and wanted to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere I would add another hour.  If you want to take the train ride it was about 20minutes plus wait time (30 minutes on a busy weekend).

Things to do around Araluen Botanic Park

If you are visiting Araluen Park in spring, for the Tulip Festival, then I’d say it’s a fair guess is that you love flowers.  We have a wonderful guide to Where To Find The Best Wildflowers In Western Australia that includes sections on the Perth Hills, around Roleystone.

Another idea for the warm springtime of Perth is to explore the gorgeous walk trails and National Parks, like John Forrest National Park and Lesmurdie Falls.  We cover all the best ones in A Guide To The Best Waterfalls Perth.

Nearby to Araluen Botanic Park

Raeburn Orchards – A family-owned business that offers a wonderful day out for all the family.  An onsite shop sells the freshest fruit, while stunning fruit trees give amazing displays in different seasons.  They hold a Persimmon Festival on weekends in May, which features amazing orange and reds of the Persimmon trees.  In September, they have a Spring festival, featuring beautiful pink and white blossoms.  Their Instagram prediction: the fluffiest dates are usually between 7-24.  Bring a picnic, take an orchard walk and enjoy the fresh air up in the Perth Hills.

Naked Apple Cider House –  An award-winning, family-friendly venue located in lush gardens at Karragullen in the Perth Hills.  They are open Wednesday to Sunday and welcome fur babies and human babies.  A great place for a drink and lunch.

araluen tulip festival

Araluen Accommodation

Even though Araluen Park and the Roleystone area are just 45 minutes from Perth, they are a world away.  A perfect place for a staycation, a family getaway or a couples weekend.  Here are some places we have considered!

Avocados Accommodation

Hidden Valley Eco Lodges and Spa

Lakeside Country Resort 

Heritage Country Motel, Armadale WA

If you are coming from out of Perth,  check out our list of the Best Perth Family Accommodation.

araluen tulip festival

Our Verdict – Araluen Botanic Park and Tulip Festival

Follow our useful tips for a visit to the Araluen Tulip Festival, such as visiting during the week or early morning/ late afternoon and you will have a wonderful escape from the hectic pace of city life.  Alternatively, why not play a staycation, and opt for one of the lovely Araluen accommodation options we have suggested.   Or,  if you love roses or camellias,  you might like to make a visit to Araluen Park when it is not tulip festival time.  With our detailed guide, we hope we’ve covered all the options.

 

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