Time is running out for sightseers keen to catch a glimpse of the Capital region’s golden canola fields.
Fields literally spring to life in carpets of bright sunshiny yellow flowers in August and September, and generally look their best from mid-September until mid-October.
A tourism industry has sprung up around the photogenic fields, with drives through the Hilltops and Riverina regions easily accessible from Canberra.
This year sightseers can experience the breathtaking beauty of the crops a number of ways – from cars, buses, trains and even a hot air balloon.
It’s not too late to book one of Goldrush Ballooning’s seasonal flights out of Temora. And after the flight you can celebrate with a delicious cool glass of Prosecco, juice and chocolates.
If you’d rather see the fields closer to the ground, a Canola Photography Workshop out of Canberra will bus you through back roads to the best vantage points around Junee to capture the fields of sunshine.
Tour operator Peter Reichstein says the workshops cater for all skill levels, from the first-time user or the Smartphone enthusiast to the more experienced photographer, exploring how to plan and execute stunning landscape images and much more.
“For those who want to get up nice and close to the canola, we have been given access to a private property which boasts one of the best locations in the Junee area where attendees can get that Instagram selfie (with respect to the environment) or a stunning sunset over the fields,” he says.
If you’d rather do it yourself, a self-drive adventure can take in all the heritage of local towns, museums, restaurants and pubs full of local produce. Throw in a visit to the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, the Coolamon Cheese Cooperative and the Temora Aviation Museum and make a weekend of it.
You can also detour to the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre to visit the memorial site of the World War II Japanese Prisoner of War camp.
If self-drive doesn’t appeal, hop aboard a bus or train operated by NSW Travelink NSW. A Country Pensioner (CPE) ticket is available to eligible pensioners and seniors from NSW and the ACT to travel to regional NSW.
But a word of warning for all the “Insta-addicts” from Australian Farmers Federation spokesperson Trevor Whittington. “Muddy boots and tyres tramped from one farm to the next is a risk of triggering fungal and bacterial disease.”
Farmers also don’t appreciate you trampling their crops.
So enjoy yourself, take lots of photographs but respect the working farm boundaries and forgo that picture of yourself immersed in the blooms – you could be placing farmer’s livelihoods and the Australian economy at risk.
Worth an estimated $4.5 billion to Australian farmers in 2021-2022, canola is grown for its seeds which are crushed to produce a rich oil low in saturated fat.