Spring at last! With Australia finally emerging from a particularly cold winter, Lonely Planet’s Asia Pacific editor, Shawn Low, gives you ideas on where to go and what to do with the warmer weather.
Racing in Melbourne, Victoria
Where else does a horse race justify a public holiday?
From 29 September, Victoria plays host to six weeks of racing festivities (the Spring Racing Carnival). It all culminates in the showstopping Melbourne Cup on 2 November - a statewide public holiday.
Races are held in quintessential country towns such as Ararat, Benalla, Bendigo, Geelong, Kyneton, Sale and Seymour. Marquee events at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne include Derby Day and the women-focused Oaks day.
Expect plenty of alcohol, betting-fuelled frenzy and a lot of folks looking to be noticed. Fashionistas take to the field in everything from vintage kits to big-dollar labels, and big prizes are doled out for the ‘best dressed’. Men: avoid your grey/black off-the-rack cheapie suits unless you're going for dull.
Water and wine in Margaret River, Western Australia
Spring in southern WA brings balmy weather, perfect for wine tasting, swimming and hiking!
Head south from Perth towards Margaret River, a three- to four-hour drive away. Wineries will feature heavily at the final stop, but there's plenty of aqua action along the way. Dive into the waters at Dunsborough for one of the most refreshing dips you'll ever take. Hamelin Bay is great for diving, snorkelling and general beach lounging.
Once you get to the wineries, don't forget to pick up a bottle of the Leeuwin Estate art series chardonnay – arguably one of the world's best.
Flowers and art in Canberra, ACT
Canberra celebrates spring with Floriade, an annual festival that runs a packed program from 11 September to 10 October. Gardens and flower displays will be in full bloom (over a million bulbs are planted - don't forget to bring your Zyrtec). Surrounding the floral centrepiece will be an array of events such as musical performances, food sales, exhibitions and photography workshops.
If you're more into culture than horticulture, try the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery. The former is particularly famous for Sidney Nolan's notorious Ned Kelly series.
Walking off the chill in Tasmania
Brrr. October is far too soon for Tasmania to have shaken off the cold weather. The best solution: stay active.
One of Tassie's highlights is the spectacular Cradle Mountain. Ten different walking trails surround the glassy Lake St Clair, and a wood fire awaits you back at the lodge. Bliss!
Wandering in Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney's subtropical climate and buzzing entertainment scene makes it a perennial getaway favourite.
If the weather's warm, have a leisurely seafood lunch with a view at Rockpool. Then take the bus to Bondi, from where you can enjoy a beautiful coastal afternoon walk down to Coogee. Along the way, check out the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, which runs from 28 October to 14 November.
For those who fancy music on the beach, Manly is hosting its annual jazz festival from 2 to 4 October.
Zombies in Adelaide, South Australia
What do Adelaideans do in October? Why, just splatter fake blood on their clothes, slather on some face paint and join the shuffling hordes doing the Adelaide Zombie Walk on 9 October!
Don't worry - even Adelaide zombies know how to have fun. There will be visit to the pubs along the way and an after party. It's all for a good cause too: this year, the gold coin entry fee and food donations will be gifted to the Adelaide Foodbank. Bring on your best shuffle.
Beach basking in Noosa, Queensland
Did Queensland ever get cold? Probably not, but it'll sure start getting wetter starting around November.
So it's your last chance to start hitting the soft white-sand beaches in Noosa, just 160km north of Brisbane. The tourist brochures might tout the shopping, food and markets - but really, it's about parking your bum on the beach and not leaving until you're happy with your tan. Don't forget the sunscreen!
Desert art in Alice Springs, Northern Territory
If you want to guarantee a getaway that will sear away every last wintry memory, fly up to Alice Springs. Once you've warmed up, head to the Alice Springs Desert Park, which showcases several desert habitats.
And if you're there on 15 October, stick around as the sun sets for DesArt in the Park, a biannual art display showcasing indigenous works. It's a unique way to tap into Territorian culture.