Finding Wildflowers in WA

Many people stumble across wildflowers in their travels and then wonder how they can find more. In this detailed article we explain how and why the state of Western Australia is world renowned for being the Wildflower State. We also list popular locations in each region where wildflowers are generally prolific, including a species list. Just updated with locations of 2016 early season blooming locations.
Created: September 2006
Revised: August 2016
Latest Feedback: August 2016

The Wildflower State

WA – with its sandy soils may seem an unlikely place for wildflowers to prosper however much of the state produces flowers amongst the most colourful and abundant in the world. Around 12,000 wildflower species have been found throughout WA, with the south-western corner of the state notable for having more species of flowering plants than almost anywhere else in the world. Rains and sunshine greatly influence the timing of the wildflower season.

In fact, Western Australia's broad climatic range influences where, when, and which varieties will grow. The north Kimberley experiences heavy rains in the summer 'wet' season; whilst the mostly dry interior suffers an excessive summer heat; the southwest has a distinctively Mediterranean climate; and snow occasionally falls in the far south during winter, particularly on the Stirling Range.

When to look

It should come as no great surprise to learn that WA’s wildflower season lasts for five months of the year – and is one of longest wildflower seasons in Australia. Flowers may begin to bloom from July in the warmer parts of the state through to November in the south.

This unpredictable element to the WA wildflower season creates anticipation and excitement every spring, with enthusiasts intent on the search for where these illustrious, yet ephemeral delights will emerge. In fact, there is a whole tourism industry surrounding the seasonal search for the elusive wildflower – with genuine reason for specialised local botanists and tour guides who can save visitors time and frustration in locating spots.

Where to go

There is no secret to knowing where the wildflowers will grow but to be successful at finding them yourself you need to watch the weather, know the trends, and understand the effect of climate on wildflower varieties to know where to go and when.

There are many excellent books and website references to help with the identification of WA wildflowers and numerous clubs and organisations for enthusiasts.

But many travellers stumble across wildflowers in their travels and then wonder how they can find more. In this article we have compiled a short list of popular locations where wildflowers are generally prolific in each region. Please use it as a simplistic guide only.

Around Perth

Come to Perth and ask “where is the best place to see wildflowers” and most locals will tell you they drive past them everyday on their way to work! The untrained eye may mistakenly think of the grasses and shrubs that flourish along the metropolitan road network as nothing more than weeds but most are actually wildflowers.

Reid Highway:- long lasting displays throughout spring and summer of protea and banksia fringe this major road link between the domestic airport and northern suburbs.

Great Eastern Highway:- fields of yellow, pink or white everlasting daisies are prolific on the side of the main highway linking inland WA to the city of Perth.

New Land Releases:- many spectacular plants, particularly kangaroo paw and grass trees grow in abundance in the Perth sandy soils. Look in new suburbs before they are fully cleared by developers. Some councils even allow enterprising wholesale landscapers to sell plants direct to the public.

Kings Park:- Visitors to Perth need only go as far as Kings Park in the heart of the city to view a stunning selection. The Park’s 400 hectare Botanic Garden has more than 1,700 native species.

The Heathlands:- The heathlands has been identified as one of only 25 biodiversity hotspots on earth. The area lies within the boundary formed by running a line from Kalbarri south-east down to Esperance, and includes all the land to the west of this line. This area is incredibly rich in orchids, kangaroo paws, banksias, feather flowers, trigger plants, and over 80 species of carnivorous plants.

North of Perth

Swan Coastal Plain

The areas north of Perth found along the Brand Highway, and Indian Ocean Roads is best known for the carpets of amazing everlastings seen in fields of yellow, pink and white often along road verges. The area is also home to a huge variety of coastal and inland wildflowers.

Perth - Jurien:- everlastings, spider orchids, leschenaultia, fringe lilies, kangaroo paws and banksias. From October you can see the unique golden bloom of the Western Australian Christmas Tree in the Moore River National Park.

Mt Lesueur National Park:- this park lies just east of Jurien Bay and is one of the most significant areas for flora conservation in the south of WA. With more than 820 species, this is considered an exceptionally diverse range of flora and includes many plants not found anywhere else in the world. Look out for: banksias, dryandras, scarlet feather flower, wattles, hakea neurophylla, blue tinsel lily, guinea flower and honey suckle. Orchids include the pink and purple enamel orchid, cowslip orchid, blue lady orchid, white spider orchid and donkey orchids. This area is mostly only accessible by 4WD, however there is a newly constructed one-way scenic drive for conventional vehicles.

Jurien - Geraldton:- the Geraldton sandplain supports river gums, Geraldton wax, gold and oragne banksias, grevilleas, kangaroo paws, feather flowers, starflowers, smokebushes and eucalyptus are widespread. Good viewing at: Mt Adams Nature Reserve, Arrowsmith River, Beekeepers Nature Reserve, South Eneabba Reserve, Wotto Nature Reserve and Tathra Nature Reserve.

Mingenew:- a visit to this town via the Coalseam Conservation Park should involve spotting many species of coastal and inland wildflowers with prolific displays of everlastings, possibly Kwongan heath, and wattle scrub.

Geraldton - Kalbarri:- the Geraldton sandplain supports kangaroo paws, banksias, eucalypts and grevilleas, wattles, hakeas, dampiera, purple peas, smokebush and denser coastal scrub as you move north. Good viewing at local reserves around Geraldton such as Oakajee, Howatharra, Bella Vista and Moresby Reserves. Also check out Coolcalalaya Road near Northhampton.

Shark Bay - Carnarvon:- Shark Bay has its owned named daises, which are common around Monkey Mia and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Look for: mulla mulla, Tamala Rose, parakeelya, purple vetch, northern blue bells and green bird flower.

Coral Bay - Exmouth:- Cape Range National Park has a great concentration of varieties including Ashburton peas, hairy pepperflowers, Yardie Creek morning glory, daisies, wattle, native tomatoes, hibbertia, native foxgloves, Sturts Desert Pea, rattlebrush, green birdflower, toucan flower. Within Exmouth township you'll see Stuart Desert Pea, Swainsona Formose, Flannel Bush Solanum lasiophylum, Bovine Indigo Idegofera georgei, Ashbys Banksia and Corkwood Grevillea.

The Northern Wheatbelt

Dalwallinu:- the start point of the "Wildflower Way" stretching north to Mullewa. A popular route for spotting wildflowers in the heart of the wildflower state. an excellent location for spotting wattles (acacias). The 2016 season has started with good winter rains. Roadside colour should increase after a bit more sunshine. Shrubs currently flowering (as at last August) include assorted wattles, blue dampiera, yellow hibbertia, red and flame grevilleas, thryptomene & blue boronia.

Mia Moon reserve is a 'hot spot' for orchids with pink candy, blue fairy, snail, leek, bee, donkey & spider all spotted mid August. The lovely yellow pom pom everlastings are also putting on a good show. Jibberding Reserve has quite nice pink & white everlastings with large creamy pom poms here also. Wreath lechenaultia are also now flowering at various locations.

Dandaragin & Badgingarra:- good locations to view a wide variety of Kangaro Paws.

Wongan Hills:- The Piawaning Road which takes you to Mt O’Brien and Mt Matilda is alive with colour grevilleas, prickly toothbrush and pink poker, lots of acacia, smoke bush, tea tree, hakeas, isopogens and dampiera. Mt Matilda should be at its peak in two weeks (walk trail). The new walk trail at Gathercole is spectacular, the kunzea, calytrix, verticordias and waitzias in particular. There are a lot of late orchids in Elphin Reserve including, shirt, purple enamel, custard, leopard and little laughing leek.

Watheroo & Moora :- a unique collection of Western Australian wildflowers can be seen in the parks and walks around town.Moora also boasts two wildflower farms north of the town. Carnaby’s Cockatoo Interpretive Walk Trail The trail takes you along the banks of Moore River and around the Moora townsite. Whilst walking you may be lucky and spot a white tailed Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.

Candy’s Bush Reserve has a magical display of orchids, hakea, grevillea, banksia and Geraldton Wax currently blooming.

Watheroo National Park has cat’s paw and a large number of eucalypts and wattles, lots of yellow, pink and purple colours at the moment.

Pindar:- wreath flowers are blooming beautifully at Pindar. Travel 30kms east of Mullewa to Pindar. Turn north onto Pindar-Beringarra Road for 10kms. Follow signs to wreath flowers both sides of dirt road.

Gascoyne Murchison

Sandstone:- hakea francisiana (Grass-leaved Hakea), Grevillea juncifolia (Honeysuckle Grevillea) and white everlastings are just starting to bloom along the bitumen road east-west of Sandstone. These will probably be best viewed in a couple of weeks’ time. Eremophila (Emubushes), Senna (Cassias), Dodonaea, Calandrinia (Parakeelya), Lachnostachys (lambs tails), Acacia (wattles), Keraudrenia (Common Fire bush), Solanum lasiophyllum (flannel bush) and Ptilotis (mull a mullas & silver tails) are some of the other regulars also blooming/ starting to bloom.

Paynes Find:- a good location to find the rare wreath flowers (Leshchenaultia macrantha). We have confirmed reports (August 2016) of white, yellow & pink everlastings booming now between Thundelarra and Payne's Find. Plus out on the North Road 19km past Casuarina Creek, you'll find more everlastings.

Wooleen Station:- see white everlastings along Meeberrie-Wooleen Road.

Mount Augustus:- mulla mulla, everlastings, sturt desert peas, purple haze and fox glove now blooming.

Mullewa:- hakea, heath brush and spider orchids are commonly seen here. About 100km north of Mullewa along the Carnarvon-Mullewa Rad, you'll find "carpets" of everlastings along the roadside now (end August 2016).

North East & Central Wheatbelt

Pioneer's Pathway Self-Drive Trail:- lots of everlasting patches (pink and white and white pom poms), Grevilleas and Hakeas flowering (red, cream and pink) between Trayning and Nungarin.

Trayning:- Billycatting Reserve - explore the two marked walk trails. White flowered sundews (Drosera sp.) insect eating plants at the damp base of the rocks. Maybe spot the rare Darwinia chiddarcooping with its amazing red flowers dripping in nectar. The gnamma holes located north of Trayning on Bencubbin Road have orchids including spiders, donkeys and fairy.

Nungarin:- townsite and Mangowine - explore Eaglestone Rock, Talgomine Reserve and Danberrin Hill botanical walks and smell the fragrant Vanilla Bush (Grevillea sp.) and Kunzea pulchella splashing vivid colours of red.

Merredin:- hakea, Grevillea and Hibbertia flowering in bushland and reports of snail orchids in Tamma Parkland.

Wheatbelt Way Self-Drive Trail:- reports of Pterostylis sp. inland hairy stem orchids on the Westonia Walk Trail near site 8 Echidna Walk. The bushland is also beginning to flower with the winter flowering Wattles, Callistemon, purple Dampieria’s and other perennial shrubs around Koorda, Gabbin and Billyacatting Hill areas. Further south at Bruce’s Rock Nature Reserve off the track there is Pterostylis sp. inland hairy stem and Pterostylis scabra orchids in open woodland.

Dowerin:- at Tin Dog Creek Reserve there’s an array of birdlife and flora. 8km past the wheat bins at the Y junction, take Amery-Benjaberring gravel road to explore historic Minnivale townsite and cemetery. Pink feather flowers line the roadsides and black toothbrush grevillea, kunzias and verticordia are blooming here.

Wyalkatchem:- has some great flowering reserves, including Walk-A-Wyal Trail, Wyalkatchem Reserve and Korrelocking Reserve. Find rare orchids, sundew, everlastings and fauna including Echidnas, Dunnarts, Blue Breasted & Red-Capped Robins. Along Wyalkatchem North Rd to Cowcowing Reserve see the endangered Wyalkatchem foxglove.

Westonia to Elachbutting Rock:- see the spectacular ‘wave rock’ formation and Monty’s Pass, wattles, senna, grevilleas and hakeas are in full bloom. At Sandford Rock Nature Reserve the Silver Mallee (Eucalyptus crucis subspecies crucis) and Purple Peacock Beetles are some of the rare species found this time of year. Starting from Westonia townsite, wander the walk trail through tall Red Morrell Eucalyptus Woodland of the Westonia Common.

Bencubbin:- plenty of wattles (Acacia) out and with great rainfall expect good displays of wildfl owers. The Shire of Mt Marshall has some pityrodias (native foxgloves) on Mukinbudin/Bencubbin Road. At Marshall Rock wander the walk trails with spectacular Wheatbelt views.

Mukinbudin to Bonnie Rock:- see wattle, senna, hakea, quandongs and some purple dampiera. On and around the rocks at Wattoning, Beringbooding and Weira, purple calytrix, yellow hibbertia and red fl owering kunzea. Mauve leptospermum (tea tree) fl owering profusely around the base with donkey orchids hiding in the undergrowth. Patches of pink everlastings on Masefield Road on the way to Elachbutting.

Beacon and Billiburning:- Sandalwood and Quandong are fruiting heavily. Orchids including spider and fairy can be found around the granites. Masses of yellow flowering acacias are surrounded by a carpet of pink, white and yellow everlastings. Grevillia, Hakea, Eremophila, and many more species in bloom. Rare and endangered Sand paper wattle can be seen in the Beacon Botanical Park and at Billiburning. A 600 species Herbarium can be studied at the Beacon Visitor Centre (Mon-Fri).

Koorda:- very colourful tall dark mauve Verticordia sp. on roadsides close to Koorda. Call into the Koorda Community Resource Centre (Mon-Fri) for locations and view the wildflower interpretation display. Wander the walk trails of Koorda Native Flora Reserve or Mollerin Reserve. At Newcarlbeon Rocks enjoy a picnic or camp out amongst the carpets of pink and white everlastings.

Goldfieds

In this region you can find fields of everlastings, poached egg daises, blue pincushion, pink mulla mulla, orange immortelle, acacia, hakea and Sturts Desert Pea.
Menzies:- Right now the everlastings are making an appearance near the old Menzies Golf Course and Cemetery. Jeedamya Flats approx 15km north of Menzies on the Goldfields Hwy has everlastings along the roadside.
Goongarrie:- wattles and bush flowers now blooming in the National Park. Yellow grevillea will be in bloom within the week. Wattles also lining the Goldfields Hwy near Goongarrie and Kookynie Road.
Niagara Dam and Kookynie:- purple bottlebrush, fringe lily, native cornflowers, eremophilas and many others starting to appear. The Sturt Peas are about 27kms North of Kookynie on the Malcolm Road. Approx 50kms north of Kookynie at Melita Sturt Peas growing along the road edge.

Northern Goldfields

Canning Stock Route:- The 2000km long north-south Canning Stock Route passes through distinctly different climatic zones resulting in a diverse range of wildflowers and native plants. For example, at Well 6 – Pierre Springs you can see what is believed to be the most northerly stands of grass trees; find tiny colourful daises and pea flowers growing along salt lakes; and find masses of feather flowers, mulla mulla, grevillas, and much more.
The Gunbarrel Highway:- also begins in Wiluna but heads east all the way into the Northern Territory. After rain, masses of everlastings, wreaths, and sturt desert pea colour the desert reds, whilst the drier style mulla mulla, grevilleas, and feather-flowers soften the harsh environment.

Pilbara/Yalgoo

everlastings are usually prolific throughout this area but there are also 50 species of wattle, mulga, acacia, yellow native hibiscus, bluebells, sticky cassia, mulla mulla, native fushias, spinifex, tangled morning glory, native almonds, holly leafed grevillea, and mangroves. The stunning Ashburton pea (a beautiful mauve to purple pea-like flower) is unique to the Tom Price and Paraburdoo region and can be seen from June to September. The Sturt Desert Pea can also be seen after good rains.

South of Perth

The southern regions are home to a wide range of rare and unique flora. Margaret River, Albany, Pemberton, Denmark, Northcliffe, and Esperance are all excellent areas for finding wildflowers. This region grows dainty flowers such as orchids, milkmaids, honeypots, green kangaroo paws and mountain bells, and scented plants like brown boronia and more than 165 species of eucalypts. The region also has Grass trees like the Kingia australis, Misteltoes, and a fascinating collection of 80 carnivorous plant species.

Bunbury:- try spotting wildflowers in the Bunbury - Manea Park (behind College Grove) with numerous walking trails with prolific blooming wildflowers; and the "Lay-by" (Bussell Highway); The Tuart Walk (southern end of Ocean Drive), and Crooked Brook Forrest (Ferguson Valley/Dardanup area).

Margaret River:- this region covers more than the township of the same name and begins just south of Busselton, stretching out to Cape Naturaliste in between Dunsborough and Yallingup then further south along the coast to Cape Leeuwin Australia’s most south western point. Of the 12,000 total species of wildflowers recorded from WA, 75 per cent grow in this region. The landscape varies at every turn with farms and paddocks, small creeks and ponds, sweeping valleys covered in karri and jarrah trees, thick native bushland, rocky coasts and pristine beaches. Most roads are lined with tall trees and wildflowers are abundant during spring, making driving a pleasant and picturesque journey. Many can be seen along road sides, but a walk in the national parks and forests can be very rewarding. This area yields various orchids, the beautiful arum lily, Blue Leschenaultia, White Clematis, Swan River Myrtle, Pixie Mop, kangaroo paw.

Albany/Denmark:- this region has many excellent locations for spotting wildflowers, expecially within the forests and National Parks such as Torndirrup National Park, West Cape Howe National Park, Porongurup National Park that contains 20 orchid species, and Stirling Range National Park - one of the world's most important areas for flora, with 1,500 species including over 100 orchid species. Mount Lindesay, north of Denmark, is accessed by a 4km walk trail through profuse wildflowers in spring. Bushwalks are the ideal way to find wildflowers in this region with many tiny species.

Walpole:- the forests here contains Crowea, Orchids, purple Wisteria and green Kangaroo paws.

Pemberton:- The wildflowers of the karri forest are wonderful to see in the myriad of colours which seem to change week by week during the spring. The best time for viewing these is from September to mid November but this may vary from year to year with the weather. Flowers such as the tiny but exquisite orchids can best be seen on foot. Try the Warren National park, Brockman National Park, Shannon National Park, DEntrecasteaux National Park.

Esperance:- this region abounds with orchids, banksia, leschenaultia and hakea. Fitzgerald River National Park (Bremer Bay to the west of Esperance is a mecca for wildflower enthusiasts due to its diversity of species. More than 1800 species of flowering plants, as well as lichens, mosses and fungi, have been recorded here. Around Lake Grace from August through to late November you can expect to see a wonderfully diverse array of wildflowers from Lake Grace/Tarin Rock in the west of the Shire through to Lake King, 120 km to the east, Varley to the north east and Pingaring to the north. Also try the Rabbit Proof Fence, 30kms east of Lake King on the Norseman Road. Nature reserves, road verges and on the corners of side roads where the soil has been disturbed in previous years are ideal locations for spotting wildflowers. Distinctive plants from this area are: Royal hakea (Hakea victoria), Barrens regelia (Regelia velutina), and Barrens clawflower (Calothamnus validus), Dense clawflower (Calothamnus pinifolius), the weeping gum (Eucalyptus sepulcralis), also the Proteaceae (banksias, hakeas), the Myrtaceae (eucalypts, bottlebrushes) and the Fabeaceae (pea-flowered plants).

Why such variety?

During the past few hundred million years, much of the land surface of Australia has been subject to massive forces of change – including glaciers, inland seas and mountains. However, Western Australia has not been subject to these natural forces in comparative recent times, and has in fact remained relatively stable for 250 million years. With such stability comes a slow accumulation of species. As time passes, plants evolve and join the active species pool. However, very few species have become eliminated as the new species rarely get a chance to dominate. The soils are so dry and infertile that trees cannot dominate the landscape and shade out smaller plants. So as a result, during spring when water and nutrients are abundant, you'll see the unique transformation of scenery when these plants bloom into an amazing show of flowers.

Export & Conservation

Today many WA wildflowers are grown for export and appear in floral arrangements all around the world. Meanwhile, their habitats are still under threat from land clearing and noxious weeds, and the WA Government has a research program to preserve the most endangered species. The Western Australian Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority has a tissue culture program, and the Department of Conservation and Land Management has a Threatened Flora Seed Centre.

Wildflower Festivals

There are many individual wildflower festivals held in towns across WA – contact the Wildflower Society of WA for more details.

The Kings Park Wildflower Festival takes place in Perth during September as an annual event showcasing the best of Western Australia’s wildflower varieties.

Collecting & Identifying Wildflowers

The picking of wildflowers is prohibited by law in Western Australia, so its "look but don’t touch". Offenders can expect a hefty fine of up to AUD$2,000.

Dried wildflower arrangements are widely available at authorised locations throughout the state – including craft and souvenir stores, tourist information centres, and the Perth airport.

The best way to collect wildflowers is to always have your camera and notepad to catalogue your own wildflower photographic collection. All the photos on this page were taken on 4WD trips by the ExplorOz Team during various trips between the months of June – October.

TIP

Please add your photos to the ExplorOz Online Wildflower Database where our administrators can help you identify your flowering plant (if you select "unknown") or go ahead and catalogue it if you know the details.

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