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Stirling Range National Park/Australia

Introducing Stirling Range National Park

Ever seen a Queen of Sheba orchid or a Stirling bell? Here's your chance. Rising abruptly from the surrounding flat and sandy plains, the Stirling Range's propensity to change colour through blues, reds and purples will captivate photographers during the spectacular wildflower season from late August to early December.

This 1156-sq-km national park consists of a single chain of peaks pushed up by plate tectonics to form a range 10km wide and 65km long. Running most of its length are isolated summits, some knobbly and some perfect pyramids, towering above broad valleys covered in shrubs and heath. Bluff Knoll (Bular Mai), at 1095m, is the highest point in the southwest.

Due to the altitude and climate there are many localised plants in the Stirlings. It is estimated that there are more than 1500 species of native plants, 80 of which are endemic. The most beautiful are the Darwinias or mountain bells, which occur only above 300m; one species may be seen in season on the Mt Talyuberlup walk.

The range was named after James Stirling, first governor of the Swan River Colony. For tens of thousands of years before that it was known as Koi Kyenunu-ruff, meaning 'mist moving around the mountains'. It's recognised by Noongar people as a place of special significance – a place where the spirits of the dead return. Every summit has an ancestral being associated with it, so it's appropriate to show proper respect when visiting here.

Park fees are charged at the start of Bluff Knoll Rd (entry per car/motorcycle $11/5).