by Michelle Kneipp Pegler

The tulips were a riot of colour as the sun shone on festival day, the major day during Wynyard’s Bloomin’ Tulips Festival. It’s one of many popular Tasmanian occasions that take place around this time of the year. Events for the festival run from the end of September until mid October and this year marks the 21st year for the festival. Some of the many events include a cocktail party, golf days, bush poet’s breakfast, foreshore market, photographic exhibitions, yacht club sailing event, arts and craft and an Arts Trail around the town centre.

Tulips - Tabe Cape Lighthouse
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Table Cape Lighthouse: blooming tulips in Tasmania

Wonders of Wynyard

As we entered Wynyard, our first stop was the foreshore markets where there were a good variety of stalls. It was very popular with people looking out for that special item: something old or new, fruit, vegies, freshly baked bread… It was all there with the beautiful blue waters of Bass Strait as a backdrop. After checking out all the stalls we moved on to the centre of town where we called into the Wonders of Wynyard.

Tulips - Wynyard Vintage Cars
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Veteran cars: Wonders of Wynyard

The veteran cars on display were eye-catching and I’ve never seen that many old, shiny, beautifully-restored cars in one place before. If you love vintage cars you will certainly appreciate these. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Exhibition was also on show here. Comprising of works mostly made by local craft group Stitches and Bitches, the exhibition theme was tea based with a traditional character. The lovely ladies and gentleman in charge of the exhibition were dressed in their finest mad hatter hats and were very charming and helpful.

Tulips - Mad Hatters of Wynyard
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Mad hatters: charming people of Wynyard

Bloomin’ Tulips Festival of Fun

Next we walked over to the Richard Gutteridge Gardens where there were numerous marquees dotted along the Inglis River. There were food stalls, art and craft for sale, a snake display, miniature ponies, horse drawn carriages and wildlife rehab. The Delta Pet Therapy dogs and handlers (who do a wonderful job visiting hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centres) were on show, plus many more exhibitors and displays. After spending time looking at all the marquees and displays, we went on the Arts Trail and looked at photographic exhibitions, arts and crafts.

Tulips - Richard Gutteridge Gardens, Wynyard
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Richard Gutteridge Gardens, Wynyard: Tulips Festival

There was a wide variety of entertainment happening: concert and rock bands, puppets, clowns, side show area, Slipstream Circus, helicopter rides, balloon art, face painting, day care and playgroup children’s activities, train rides, sumo wrestling and bucking bull rides. Just to name a few! Also taking place was “Spagfest”, a spaghetti eating competition. The money raised from Spagfest will go to the Make A Wish Foundation. The gopher race for electric scooter riders was again part of the festival, as was the “Tulip Toss”, where competitors try to throw their tulips the furthest.

Tulips - Bloomin Tulips Festival Crowd
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Bloomin Tulips Festival: Wynyard Tasmania

Table Cape Tulips: Van Diemen Bulbs

For me the highlight of the day had to be the Table Cape tulips at Van Diemen Bulbs. In 1984, the Roberts-Thomson family imported their first tulip bulbs from Holland and since then have expanded to be one of the major producers of tulip bulbs. They also grow Dutch Iris and Liliums. The Tasmanian climate is ideal for growing these and many other beautiful blooms. There are 80 different varieties of tulips growing in many colours at the farm.

It’s a feast for the eyes as you wander through and amongst these beauties and a great spot to take many photos. I don’t know of anywhere else where you can actually walk in and around so many masses of tulips. Now and during summer is a great time to get out and discover the stunning gardens Tassie has to offer. For something different you can climb the Table Cape Lighthouse on one of the Lighthouse Tours, which run daily. A great view of the tulips and the surrounding coastline can be seen from the very top. From what I saw and experienced I would say that the 2011 Bloomin’ Tulips Festival was once again a huge success.

Tulips - Michelle at Table Cape, Tasmania
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Michelle tours Van Diemen Bulbs, Table Cape Tasmania

Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm about the ups and downs of her Good Life and occasional forays delving into the lessons of the past.

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Map: Wynyard Tasmania…