Sydney’s jacarandas normally bloom in mid-October before peaking in mid-November, but this year, they’ve been confused by the weather and will flower later in the year. The blooms have reportedly been ‘confused’ by record rains, lower temperatures and cloud cover.
“So far, only a minority of jacaranda trees are in flower, with most trees still in bud or with only a few flowers,” Dr Russell Barrett from Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Australian Institute of Botanical Science told Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year. The publication says the trees are now a week and a half away from flowering, which puts their bloom date around November 21.
“There are massive amounts of buds, so it would be a spectacular year,” Barrett added. He said there was also more variation among jacaranda trees in individual locations this year than in the past, with some trees in bud and others only producing leaves.
Because the purple flowers are so easy to see, they’re increasingly being studied by research scientists around the world to track the impact of climate change on plants.
Jacarandas are in fact native to arid parts of the Andes in Argentina and Bolivia. As for why it’s so popular in Australia? Well, there are a couple of competing theories.
One old legend attributes Sydney’s mass amounts of jacaranda trees to a hospital matron, who would allegedly send new mothers home with jacaranda seedlings. A perhaps more likely story traces the tree back to the beautification programmes of the early 20th century and interwar years up until the ’50s and ’60s, according to Sydney Living Museums.
So, where can you see them once they do finally bloom in full?
Where to See the Jacaranda Trees in Sydney
Jacaranda trees are spread far and wide all over Sydney’s suburbs. A drive or stroll through just about any suburban area will present ample photo opportunities, but of course, there are some pockets of Sydney with more trees than others. Below is our city guide to spotting jacaranda trees in Sydney:
In the CBD
Start with a stroll around the Botanic Gardens, which has jacaranda trees dating back to the 1850s. Then, head over to The Rocks and Circular Quay to snap your pic with the Harbour Bridge in the background.
In the North Shore
Sydney’s lower North Shore presents some of the most beautiful photo opportunities for jacarandas. Instagrammers shut down the streets of Lavender Bay and McDougall Street in Kirribilli every year, much to the residents’ dismay. Pockets in Hunters Hill, Woolwich, Greenwich, Waverton, and Wollstonecraft also boast jacaranda blossoms in spades.
In the Inner West
The jacarandas look stunning when juxtaposed by pale, textural sandstone, which may be why so many flock to the University of Sydney campus to spot them every year. While you’re hanging out in the inner west, take a stroll through Glebe, Erskineville and Camperdown for a quieter display.
In the Eastern Suburbs
Paddington turns purple in November, with jacaranda trees lining almost every suburban street. You’ll spot them in the Paddington end of Oxford Street, but the real magic happens as you stroll down Glenmore Road and over towards Five Ways. Other top spots in the eastern suburbs for jacaranda spotting? Woollahra and Double Bay. Vaucluse is another a great spot for a photo op, as you can position the harbour in the background.
Camden is the ultimate place to spot jacaranda trees. Check out the big collection of jacaranda trees on Argyle Street in the town centre.
Out of Sydney
Grafton on the north coast (around six hours from Sydney) hosts an annual Jacaranda Festival, that in 2022, runs from October 28 to November 6. The town has around 2,000 jacaranda trees that explode with purple flowers and attract a large number of visitors.