It’s that time of the year again when the landscape in the southwest transforms into a sea of colour and lush scent.
West Australia has one of the most spectacular displays of wildflowers in the world and the southwest is no exception. Come spring, the landscape of the southwest becomes a blanket of colour with everything from tiny crimson myrtles, dainty smokebush, fiery mountain bells and over 150 varieties of orchids coming into bloom.
A biodiverse hotspot
Australia’s southwest is one of only 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world and the only one in Australia. The WWF labels the region as one of the most ecologically significant areas in the world due to the high number of rare and endangered species found here.
There are over 8,000 plant species in this region - half of these are not found anywhere else in the world. Compare that to the 1500 species found in the UK.
Some of the reason for this huge biodiversity is that the southwest region has been isolated for millions of years by the vast surrounding central deserts and oceans.
Where to go
From August to December, this diversity is on vivid display, with the flowering of thousands of species of wildflowers.
One of the joys of the wildflower season is that you come across the colourful floral displays almost everywhere you go. Roadside kerbs, bush trails, paddocks and coastal dunes come ablaze with colour. Picture by Wendy Eiby of Kangaroo Paw and more on Muir Highway, east of Manjimup in the Southern Forests.
Margaret River Region
The Margaret River region has over 2,500 species of wildflowers. Head to Boranup Forest, Cape Naturaliste, Ambergate Reserve or follow the Margaret River walk trails to see blooms of deep blue karri hovea, yellow and white wattle, native wisteria, kangaroo paws and a range of native orchids.
There are many excellent locations here for seeing wildflowers, especially in the many forests and national parks found in the surrounding areas. The Stirling Range National Park has over 1,500 species of wildflowers including more than 100 different species of orchids including renowned Stirling Bells and Queen of Sheba Orchids (pictured below by Wendy Eiby). Read more.
The karri forest in Pemberton provides a wonderful backdrop to the myriad colours of the seasonal wildflowers while D’Entrecasteaux National park (pictured below) is one of the most stunning coastal landscapes in the state. Image by Wendy Eiby.
Blackwood Valley Region
Wildflowers are abundant in the Blackwood River Valley, particularly near Bridgetown and Greenbushes. In Nannup head to the Kondil Recreation Park or the St John Brook Conservation Park for wildflower spotting or try Golden Valley Tree Park in Balingup. The region is home to many varieties of orchids including donkey orchids, spider orchids and cowslip orchids as well as the clematis, sundew and hardenbergia wildflowers.
There’s no shortage of wildflowers in the Geographe region. In Bunbury Manea Park has several walking trails with abundant wildflowers or head to Donnybrook golf course for the stunning display of Kangaroo Paws.
Remember, only take photos and leave nothing but footsteps. It is an offence to pick native wildflowers and carries a penalty.
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