Did you know that almost 80 per cent of Australia’s South West’s plant species cannot be found anywhere else in the world? More than 8000 species of wildflowers and 300 species of delicate orchids bloom across the region every spring (August through to November), making it a popular time to visit.
Here’s some of the top spots for viewing wildflowers in the region:
Stirling Range National Park
The Stirling Range National Park is home to more than 1,500 species of native plants, 87 of which aren’t found anywhere else in the world. With unique and abundant wildflowers, including Banksia, Dryandras, Queen Sheba Orchids and Mountain Bells, plus the beauty of the mountain landscape, this park is one of the South West’s most popular destinations.
Porongurup National Park
The pathways in Porongurup National Park lead through marri, jarrah and karri forest to reach the summits of weathered granite domes. From here there are panoramic views of the coastline, the nearby Stirling Range, surrounding farmland and vineyards. Amongst the granite and the scenic views you’ll discover a diversity of native flora and fauna; from the yellow Acacias and purple Hovea, to wallabies, antechinus, southern brown bandicoots and grey kangaroos.
Torndirrup National Park
The powerful Southern Ocean has sculptured spectacular coastal features known as ‘The Gap’ and the ‘Natural Bridge’ along Torndirrup National Park’s buffeted coastline, complemented by a display of wildflowers, including the Sticky Tailflower, the pink Pimilea Rosea and blue Scaevola Nitida.
D'Entrecastleaux National Park
Explore the coastal heath on the limestone cliffs of Point D’Entrecasteaux and Windy Harbour, where you’ll find Blue Beard and South Coast Spider Orchids, Bearded Heaths and Hibbertias, as well as Dunsborough Donkey, Zebra, Cherry Spider, Scott River Spider and Broad-lipped Spider Orchids.
Karri Forest Explorer Drive
In October experience the best of Pemberton’s national parks along the Karri Forest Explorer Drive. Visit the Gloucester Tree, Big Brook Dam, Beedelup Falls, Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree and the Cascades where you can view displays of Water Bush, Tassel Bush, Tree Hovea, White Clematis, Native Wisteria, Soap Bush and Net-leaved Wattle.
Travel through majestic old growth Karri forest along Warren National Park’s Heartbreak Trail, where the average age of these eucalypts is 300 years old. Look for Snail, Bird and Karri Spider Orchids along the trail.
Northcliffe Forest Park
The Northcliffe Forest Park is a 246-ha nature reserve adjoining the Northcliffe townsite with a variety of walk, bike and drive options. Orchids can be found most of the year, but the abundance of species – including Forest Mantis, Diamond, Karri, Leaping, and Stumpy Spider Orchids – can be spotted from mid-September to December.
Cape to Cape Track
Heading out to the coast you can take a captivating walk along the Cape to Cape Track starting at Cape Leeuwin, the meeting point of the Southern and Indian oceans. This trail has spectacular coastal scenery, fascinating geology and sensational wildflowers such as Vanilla Orchids, Wisteria, Clematis, Coastal Pimelea and Fan flowers.
Lose yourself among the Karri trees exploring the Boranup Forest in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and marvel at the intricate formations of Jewel Cave. Wildflowers in this region include deep blue Karri Hovea, trailing Clematis, yellow Cone bush and Patersonia.
Just 20 minutes from Bunbury, Manea Park’s Pultenaea Loop is a compacted limestone walk trail that offers the perfect vantage point for spotting Kangaroo Paws, Donkey Orchids, White Spider Orchids, Cow Slips Orchids, and Jug Orchids.
Crooked Brook Forest
There are four scenic walking trails located within the Crooked Brook Forest, ranging from a 600m wheelchair-accessible path to a 10km trail with views of the coast. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day searching for Pink Myrtle, White Health, Yellow Candles, Blue Leschenaultia and Blue Hovea.
Wellington Discovery Forest Centre
Situated amongst the magnificent jarrah forest of the Wellington national Park, this centre offers an educational experience for young and old. While there, look for Yellow Pea, White Clematis, White Myrtle, Buttercups and Milk Maids.
Want a memento of your wildflower experience? Take a picture, not a flower. Not only will it last longer, but you’ll help preserve our native flora and will avoid attracting a $2000 fine.