Sunflowers are definitely right up there as one of my favourite flowers. How can you not love their canary yellow petals, standing as tall as you with their bright faces tipped to the sun?
I first heard of the Allora Sunflower Festival in 2014, after driving past a hand-painted billboard on Route 15. The next year, on a blisteringly hot Saturday in late January, a few friends and I then headed off from the city towards the patch-worked countryside.
Allora is a country town just under 2 hours south-west of Brisbane. We reached Warwick, circling around the narrow, quiet streets until we stopped to recalibrate, argue and double check our directions. After thinking we may never get to see the dazzling yellow flora, off into the distance I spotted a glow of golden crops. We jumped out of the car and gasped in awe at the giant sunflowers following the gaze of the summer sun across the sky.
The sunflowers bloom every summer, though the best month depends on how hot the season has been. I went mid-January in 2015 and the flowers had bloomed prematurely leaving only one or two fields left. But when I came back that same time in 2019, they were in peak blooms.
A good way to see if they’re in bloom is to search the location tag ‘Allora’ on Instagram and see if anyone has posted recently!
I return to see the fields every year, and I’ve noticed they’re getting progressively busier thanks to Instagram. Just remember that the Sunflower Fields are private property, and are someone’s livelihood to grow and cultivate the seeds. Be mindful of nature, take your photos from behind the fence or get approval access from the Farmer first. Don’t forget that the fields are also filled with bees and snakes so wear enclosed shoes and watch your step!
From Brisbane, head west on Route 15 to Allora. You’ll see the sign to turn off Cunningham Highway onto Route A3 which takes you through the idyllic countryside right into Allora.
Keep your eyes peeled for ploughed fields and bursts of sunflowers on the horizon. There’s usually a large field on the main road into town at the Disused Racecourse, or try near Upper Spring Creek Road.