coalseam-conservation-park-5-august-2016

WILDFLOWER ADVENTURE WAY

This Spring make your road trip extra colourful! It’s time to pack your car and explore Road Trip Country during wildflower season! Road Trip Country bursts to life with thousands of species of wildflowers, from carpets of everlasting and orchids to the unique wreath flowers. These seasonal phenomena are a must-add to your bucket list and now’s the perfect time to experience them for yourself!

From August to November, wildflowers can be found across Western Australia, so we thought we’d share our perfect 4 day itinerary from Perth to showcase some of the best wildflower displays and stunning natural scenery. This is a great way to explore over a long weekend. This route takes you up through the Wheatbelt and to the coastal city of Geraldton, passing through some of the most popular wildflower hotspots so you’ll have the most luck at spotting some blooms!

Wildflowers are a natural phenomenon and what we see each year is very dependent on the Winter rains. Each year can look very different to the last. Before you go, make sure you check our wildflower tracker so you know what to expect and the best places to look! And don’t forget to upload your own sightings too! We rely on your participation to keep it updated 😊

DAY 1

Perth to Dalwallinu (333 km)

Grab a coffee, pack the esky with lunch and hit the road – were off to see some wildflowers! Head north, winding through Swan Valley and onto the Great Northern Highway to Moora. This is an easy 2 hour drive through some gorgeous countryside. Your first stop should be Candy Bush Reserve. There is a short 1km trail with orchids and lots of wildflowers. Try you luck in spotting Moora spider orchid or the eight nancy – both exceedingly rare wildflowers found in this bush reserve. Find a picturesque spot and enjoy your picnic. After lunch, head over to Stack Cooper Reserve. The trail at this reserve has interpretational signage on the local flora and fauna. We would also recommend heading to Watheroo National Park, home to the extraordinary bush cauliflower and scarlet feather flower.

Next up is Wongan Hills, one of the best places to spot wildflowers! This area has 250 species of flowering plants with 16 being unique to the area. Their season usually starts in June and goes through to October but August and September and undoubtably the best months to visit! (If you happen to be in town the first weekend in November, you will catch the Reynoldson Reserve Wildflower Festival – when the verticordia is at its peak!) There are several trails for you to walk, ranging from flat easy and short walks to scenic trails that take 5 hours to complete! There are plenty of trails with wildflowers in the area to keep you busy for a few days if you would like to extend your trip and stay overnight in this area.

 

After sightseeing, jump back in the car and make your way to Dalwallinu, our final destination for the day. Along the way, you may get lucky and spot some beautiful wildflowers right along the roadside. Check into your accommodation and settle in for the night. Tomorrow is another day of wildflower hunting! We would recommend heading to Dally Café for dinner – get the hamburger and chips! Check out The Rest Bed & Breakfast for a place to spend the night. It is conveniently located in the townsite, only a 5-minute walk to the main local shopping precinct, offering all the comforts of home and includes brekkie.

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Photo ny @primedelight (via Instagram)

Location: Dalwallinu, WA

DAY 2

Dalwallinu to Mellenbye Station (209 km)

Once you’ve checked out, we’d recommend exploring Dalwallinu. The townsite is known for wildflowers – drop into the local Visitor Centre as the team there will be able to tell you where the best wildflowers can be seen.  Once you’re ready, we’re hitting the road and heading to Morawa.  There aren’t too many lunch options, so we’d recommend stopping at Jenny’s Bakehouse to pick up a sandwich or pie for the road.

Our first stop will be Wubin Rocks. On the way look for the very unusual Leschenaultia macrantha or wreath flower, it’s rare but super recognisable, so keep a keen eye on the roadside! At Wubin Rocks you’ll find white, pink and yellow everlastings, orchids, pimelea and wattles. Next stop is Buntine Rock where you’ll find Everlastings, several types of orchids, wattles and melaleucas. Jump back in your car and head north to Latham. Along the way near Maya, you’ll find gorgeous roadside wildflower displays. Feel free to pullover and get a closer look.

While visiting the nearby town of Latham, take the time to experience the history and flora and fauna of the area with Terina’s Wildflower Walk. This Wildflower Walk offers an informative and localised tour of the flora, fauna & local history of Latham and the surrounding districts. Enjoy the serenity which will connect your spirit with nature at its best.

On the way to Perenjori, be sure to stop at Caron Dam Reserve and do the 1km trail. Rail enthusiasts will not want to miss the heritage listed Caron Coal Stage, bringing reminders of the golden age steam locomotives. Follow the trail to the pump station that is still covered by a massive corrugated iron roof. All along the trail you’ll find an abundance of orchids that make this trail worthwhile.

Next up is Morawa - Heart of the Wildflowers - it is one of the most prolific areas for native flowering plants. You’ll find carpets of everlastings, wreath flowers, bright orange wild pomegranate, bright pink native foxgloves, many species of orchids, grevillea, acacia, purple darwinia and dampiera, thriptomene, smokebush, woody pear, cassias, eremophila, blue cornflower and yellow bells… just to name a few.

If you are looking for an authentic outback stay (with camping, self-contained cottages, cabins and donga-style accommodation options available), head to the historic Mellenbye Station. It is a working cattle station with plenty of opportunities to see wildflowers on the property including wreath flowers, everlastings, and orchids. Be sure to stop at the IGA in Morawa before making your way here as there are no food options around the station (plan for brekkie and lunch the next day as well!). The station does offer tours, self-drive trails and walks. Be sure to book ahead (not necessary for camping).

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Photo ny @wagsoutback (via Instagram)

Location: Mellenbye Station

DAY 3

Mellenbye Station to Geraldton (287 km)

Today we’re heading to Geraldton with lots of exciting stops along the way – the first being Canna, a known orchid hotspot. There are plenty of walking trails through the Canna Reserve that have a stunning array of wildflowers. While in town, the old-style General Store, with the added attraction of a tree growing through the wall, is an experience not to be missed.

After checking out the reserve, head south again just a few kilometres and make a right onto Nanekine Road to make your way towards Coalseam Conservation Park.

We’re taking a little detour to visit Coalseam Conservation Park, but it’s well worth it! It’s a beautiful drive into the park where you’ll be greeted with massive riverbank cliffs rich with 250 million years of geological history. A walk along the Irwin Riverbed will uncover perfectly preserved marine fossils which were here when the area was covered by a Permian sea. From a wildflower point of view, Coalseam Conservation Park is a true nirvana, best known for its incredible range of annuals and perennials due to the park’s diverse habitat range. You can easily spend a few days here. If you plan to do so, there is camping within the park or you can stay at Mingenew, about 30 minutes south. If you do spend the night, check out Depot Hill where you’ll find orchids on mass including snail, donkey, spider, cowslip and purple tassels.

Once you’re ready to move on, head northeast towards Wilroy Nature Reserve. At the reserve you’ll find over 40 different species of wildflowers. This nature reserve is also a perfect spot for bird enthusiasts as there are 68 bird species that have been recorded there. Look for Redthorat, Chesnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Scrub-robin, White-browed Babbler and Crested Bellbird – be sure to pack your binoculars!

As you drive into Mullewa, you may be ready for afternoon tea! Best to fuel up at Jonesys Café – their homemade meals are fresh and quite tasty – especially for a small country town. While in town, we’d recommend doing the Wildflower Walk which starts and stops on Lovers Lane opposite the caravan park and takes about an hour. While it may be easy to be distracted by the carpets of flowers, if you look closely and are patient, you will be rewarded with some smaller, tiny gems – such as the spoon-lipped rufous greenhood, the spider orchid, and so much more! There are interpretive signs all along the trail that help identify most of the flowers. Other trails worth exploring are the Rail Heritage Loop (for those who like trains!) and the Town Heritage Trail (for those that would like to learn about the towns history). Mullewa also hosts a wildflower show in late August/early September. Try to plan your trip around this show if you can – it is worth the trip!

Depending on the time, you may want to head straight to Geraldton and check into your accommodation – you have had a long day of exploring! Alternatively, drive 30kms east of Mullewa to the little township of Pindar where you can spot the rare and exquisite wreath flower. Once at Pindar, you drive 10kms north on the Pindar-Berringarra Road (unsealed), the flowers are located on the shoulders of the road. Made from dozens of flowers with frilled petals of red, white and pink – a secret spot worth the detour!

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Photo ny @wheresshelly (via Instagram)

Location: Coalseam Conservation Park Miners Camp

DAY 4

Geraldton to Perth (414km)

This is your final day of holiday but there are still plenty of wildflowers to see! Head to Chapman River Regional Park and take in the beauty of the native flowering plants, birds and animal plants in this picturesque location. Along the river, you’ll find some 300 species of native plants, some of which occur nowhere else! Another popular spot in Mills Point Lookout, only 7kms east of the North West Coastal Highway on Chapman Valley Road. You’ll be awarded with spectacular views of the Chapman Valley and an abundance of wildflowers including Dampiera, Grevillea pinaster, Hibbertia and Melalueca.

As you make your way south, stop at Lake Indoon, about an hour south of Dongara. In September, the area around this freshwater lake features the Banksia, with its lime-yellow flowers. You will also be able to see umbrella and white plumed smokebushes, and red hair lechenaultia. Western Flora Caravan Park offers a guided wildflower walk that starts at 4:30PM daily. Call ahead for more details.

 

Alternatively, take the time to stretch your legs at Lesuer National Park – a must see for wildflower lovers with over 900 species identified in the park! If you drive to the top of Mount Lesuer, you’re in for a treat with magnificent panoramic views of the Green Head coastline. The park is also one of the most significant reserves for flora conservation in Western Australia. Several species cannot be found anywhere else in the world and have been included on an endangered list. It is also home to over 100 species of birds that rely on the flora for their survival. If you are lucky you may even see the extremely rare Carnaby's Black cockatoo.

Photo ny @carnetvertical (via Instagram)

Location: Leusueur National Park