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Tiptoe through the tulips: Floriade’s Walk of Nations

Emily Simpson

Where’s the best view of the sweeping landscape of flowers at Floriade? From the top of Regatta Point? From the lake? Perhaps from the Ferris Wheel?

For Diane Percy, physical activity walking coordinator for The Heart Foundation, it’s not a question of where, but when – at 8am in the morning, during The Walk of Nations, to be exact.

The Walk of Nations might sound like a movie starring Bruce Willis, but it’s actually a 45-minute walking tour that will take place each morning during Floriade 2016: Life in Bloom.

Named in honour of the Olympics (perhaps to inspire the inner athlete in the participants) the event provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the flowers as well as get in some exercise, with a guided tour ensuring you get the best views possible.

Diane says one of the main drawcards of the early morning walk is being able to view the gardens unimpeded by crowds.

“We are walking around the gardens before the gates open to the public, so we get an uninterrupted view of the flower beds, and have the opportunity to take a few quick photos along the walk, which is really special” she explains.

The Floriade early morning walks have been a yearly tradition since 2009. Their popularity has only blossomed since then, with the participation rate growing from 300 walkers in 2009 to around 700 in 2015.

“Each year there are more local, interstate and international visitors attending the walks and many are returning from attending the walks in previous years,”

The event has also attracted a wealth of special guests. Among those attending some of the events are Minister for Sport Yvette Berry, Red Cross ACT, various embassies including Qatar, UAE, Iran, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuala, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina, Commissions from the Solomon Islands, Pacific Islands Group, Canada, as well as local bushwalking organisations and local businesses.

And as for the best place to view the flowers — one vantage point is particularly special for Diane.

“The spot that I love the most is from the area at the top of the gardens where you can look back at the huge field of flowers with the Ferris Wheel in the background,” she explains.

This year, we’re tipping the best viewing point is from the deck at the Kitchen Company Tasting Plate. Enjoy flowers, food and a ferris wheel.

During The Walk of Nations, this picturesque scene – which most iPhone-wielding visitors to Floriade try to capture – can be completely enjoyed without an busy backdrop of many other flower-keen visitors.

Another benefit of the event is the incidental exercise a participant gets while walking around the entirety of the flower displays. Encouraging exercise forms a fundamental aspect of the event, with Diane stressing the importance of incorporating regular moderate intensity exercise into the daily routine.

“Partaking in 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week makes you less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease,” she explains. “It also helps control other heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight.”

If the early morning doesn’t suit you, however, then NightFest – another highlight for Diane in the Floriade calendar – is a good alternative.

“NightFest is such a great way to view the gardens and there is such a different vibe at night. The lighting that is used each year is always impressive, and the line- up of entertainment, especially the comedy is always fantastic.”

the essentials

What: The Walk Of Nations
When: Every morning of Floriade, from Saturday 17 September until Sunday 16 October from 8-9am each day
Where: Meet at Floriade – Corner of Albert St and Regatta Place , Parkes at 8am
Find out more here: www.heartfoundation.org.au/events/walk-of-nations

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Emily Simpson

Emily is a fourth year Arts/Laws student at the Australian National University. When she’s not studying, which is most of the time, she’s hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, frequenting bakeries in the search for finger buns and vegemite scrolls, or playing sports. Gradually getting closer to the end of her five-year degree, Emily is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’, with potential career paths in either law or something related to writing. For now, though, she’s enjoying soaking up the Canberra lifestyle! Emily also writes at www.food-fitness-fashion.com. More about the Author

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