Australia's largest state, to describe Western Australia as vast is an understatement. Much of its 2.5 million square kilometres is rough and dry, rich with landscapes heavy in reds, oranges and browns. But when the rains come in July and August the countryside explodes into a vivid carpet of wildflowers transforming the wild west into a kaleidoscope of colour that has nature lovers –young and old – photographing away.
There are 8000 species of wildflower in Western Australia, ranging from tiny crimson myrtles and purple and white smokebush flowers through to fiery, prickly mountain bells. Many of that number are unique to the southwest region.
If you haven't got time or resources to get out to the regional areas of Western Australia, Perth puts on its own wildflowers show. From late September to early October Perth's Wildflower Festival wows visitors with floral displays, workshops and guided walks in Kings Park and the Botanic Gardens which overlooking the city and Swan River. The park showcases around 3,000 of West Australia's 12,000 species of native flora – 60 percent of which are found nowhere else on the planet.
The Wildflower Way
One of the best places to see the carpet of wildflowers is in the Midlands area north of Perth, referred to as the Wildflower Way.
Inland east from Geraldton, Route 123 leads to wheat silos, wildflowers and one-pub towns that are a hive of activity between August and September as minibuses full of flower enthusiasts potter around spotting blossoms.
Prime viewing is found along the three roads running roughly parallel towards Geraldton. You'll see everlasting daisies, kangaroo paws, foxgloves, wattles, featherflowers, banksias and the elusive low-lying wreath leschenaultia blanketing the countryside.
Coastal national parks such as Fitzgerald River and Kalbarri also have brilliant displays during wildflower season, as does the scenic drive through the remote biodiversity hot spot of Lesueur National Park, about 200km north of Perth. About 10 percent of Western Australia's plant species can be found here.
The flat and sandy plains of the Stirling Range National Park change colour from blues and reds to purples, starting in late August and going right through to early December. The Stirling Range is particularly known for its Queen of Sheba orchids and Stirling Bells.
Top tips for wildflower viewers
- Do not pick the flowers – it's not only illegal you may get a $2000 fine.
- Be aware of private property.
- Stay out of canola fields. They may look pretty in photos but tramping in them will spread disease.