Springtime in Western Australia and the wildflowers are in full bloom. From August to October the normally barren, red rocky soils of the West turn psychedelic as carpets of flowers spring up in the most unexpected places.
With over 12,000 varieties of flowers, many of which are native only to Western Australia, this part of the country is one of the world’s top spots for flower spotters.
Truth is it’s near impossible to drive any more than 25 miles in any direction without needing to make numerous stops take closer looks at yet another colorful, somewhat unusual flower. Everywhere you turn offers new and exciting flowers that have you reaching for your camera again and again.
Having limited time, we opted to visit the following regions:
King’s Park and Botanic Garden
Occupying over 1000 acres, King’s Park and Botanic Gardens is one of the largest inner city parks in the world and the perfect place to begin your wildflower spotting. Sitting on the slope of Mount Eliza and overlooking the Swan River and Perth, the Botanic Garden features more than 1700 native species of wildflower. Here you can get a crash course on flowers with fun and exotic names such as Devil’s Pin, Kangaroo Paw, and the many, many species of Banksia.
Margaret River Region
South of Perth, Margaret River Region is best known for its award winning wines. It’s also one of only 34 internationally recognized biodiversity hotspots in the world where over 150 orchid species and some 2,500 wildflower species can be found. This makes it the perfect place for wine tasting and flora spotting, both of which we did with abundance by heading south from Busselton on Bussell Road all the way down to Augusta and returning north on the parallel Caves Road. Between these two roads, we did a lot of wildflower spotting while sampling the regions wines, beer, and chocolate.
North of Perth, Wongan Hills is a small country town that most tourists drive right through without blinking. But knowing that the surrounding area had plenty of walking tracks covered in wildflowers, we stopped the night at the local (and possibly the only) hotel. The next morning, we visited the tourist center for directions before heading out and got detailed instructions on where the wildflowers were blooming.
Tips for looking Wildflower spotting in Western Australia
In order to make the most of your flower spotting opportunities, it helps to plan your journey in advance.
- Start with an online visit to the Western Australia website and download their Wildflower eGuide to give you a general overview of where to go and what to see.
- Visit the local tourist center at each place you visit to get first hand and up to date information on what’s blooming where and when.
- Buy a Wildflower guidebook to help you identify the flowers. I picked up a copy of Common Wildflowers of Western Australia which is divided by region and has been well used, both in the field and at home while going through the hundreds of photographs taken.
(all photos by Liz Lewis[email protected])