A surprising turn of events for Tulip Time 2023 started with unseasonably warm weather which caused the bulbs to bloom early and gave locals a head-start on the crowds. And there was no shortage of good surprises to follow!
Adding to the excitement of an event that is putting Wingecarribee Shire on the map as ‘the tulip capital of Australia’, the Governor General of Australia made an unexpected visit over the October long weekend. His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley and his wife visited the gardens on Saturday afternoon.
They thoroughly enjoyed the Navy Band playing at the time and were taken on a guided tour of the garden, also visiting the Bowral CWA’s festival kitchen. A taste of the tens of thousands of hand made scones members have been busily mixing and baking to be enjoyed during Tulip Time.
Festival organisers were delighted to welcome 1500 more people through the gates this year, despite this year’s festival season being three days shorter than last year. This makes 2023 our biggest Tulip Time ever, with 62,500 festival-goers enjoying the colour and atmosphere in our townships and villages, bringing a much needed boost to local businesses.
A sensational line-up of live entertainment on each evening of the long weekend at Tulips After Dark sent demand for tickets through the roof. Tickets to each of the three sessions were snapped up well in advance.
“Council increased the number of tickets available to accommodate the extra demand and the vibe each night was magical,” says Adam Stokeld of Highland FM who coordinated the live line-up in a volunteer capacity. “Visitors to our Shire were just loving the community spirit which is what makes this such a special event for volunteers to feel part of, together with the Council and Destination Southern Highlands teams.”
An army of friendly and helpful volunteer Ambassadors ensured a seamless festival experience for visitors to the Southern Highlands, sharing what they needed to know with genuine hospitality.
To cap off a festival season full of surprises, Council Administrator Viv May made the surprise announcement that this year’s bulbs will be handed out for free to community members by volunteer Council staff, at Corbett Gardens.
Together with our many community volunteers, Council’s Tourism and Events team worked tirelessly to deliver a wonderful, 14 day event for our Shire and are already making plans toward building on the festival’s success in 2024.
Join Council’s Your Shire e-news community and follow us on socials for weekly updates on news, events, available grants, and opportunities to participate in decision-making.