Grab your antihistamines… spring has sprung!
With Western Australia having the world’s largest wildflower collection (a massive 12,000 species, 60% of which are unique to us), it would be a crying shame not to check out some of them for yourself.
Below are some of the best wildflower trails Perth (and a little further) has to offer to get you revelling in their flowery goodness.
As one of Perth’s most frequented parks, this inner city behemoth can take you past the casual lookouts to see some of the best species of wildflowers Perth has to offer in their natural environment. The park’s extensive trail network allows you the choice of sticking to the main paths, or taking the beaten trail, exploring on your own the wonders this city park has to offer. The Botanical Gardens also host Australia’s largest annual display of wildflowers every September in the Kings Park Festival.
Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
The Ellis Brook Valley Reserve is home to 550 species of spring wildflowers, and hiking up its many trails will take you past a plethora of Perth’s floral treasures, backed by stunning views of the Swan Coastal Plain. Although the main track is a must do, the Eagle View trail is also well worth a visit. Parking for this can be found closer to the entrance. It is packed with flora and has benches at the very top to sit, relax and take in the gorgeous view. These are best done in September to October after the winter rains.
Wireless Hill Reserve
Wireless Hill is something a little closer to home with defined paths taking you around where the Applecross Wireless Station once operated. A beautiful park, with stunning views of the city, and plenty of wildflowers in season, including an abundance of orchids and kangaroo paw. While you’re here you can also check out the Wireless Hill Museum or have a barbecue with a view.
With over 300 species of local native plants in this area alone, this coastal location is a must visit for all your flowery needs. Bold Park is larger than Kings Park, so it has multiple trails you can follow at your own leisure. Each trail has its own surprises, with all of them bustling with their own rare, indigenous species. With views of the city and the Indian Ocean from the summit of Reabold Hill, the vista from the highest point on the Swan Coastal Plain will not disappoint.
Lesueur National Park
Lesueur National Park is one of WA’s most important floral reserves, and around this time of year is when it really turns it on. Just a quick 20km from Jurien Bay, take the Lesueur Scenic Drive nice and slowly and be engulfed in a sea of over 900 different plant species. Make sure you take it slowly – kangaroos love to pop out and say hello.
Araluen Botanic Park
The tranquil botanic gardens of Araluen absolutely come alive from August to October for the ‘It’s Yates Springtime’ Tulip Festival. Over 150,000 tulips hit full bloom around this time of year, along with hundreds of thousands of other species. The café is nice for a spot of lunch, and you can jump on their tiny train for a little guided tour as well.
An hour east of Perth lies the gateway to the Avon Valley – Toodyay, from where you can embark on glorious, hilly drives filled with colourful wildflowers, steady streams and some beautiful walking trails. If you want to make a weekend of it, pack the tent and hit Elachbutting Rock, before going on to Wongan Hills, home to 16 totally unique plant species and spectacular indigenous rock art.
Walyunga National Park
Save the wines for later in the day and head to Walyunga National Park, home to rustic rolling hills and swathes of colourful plant species as far as the eye can see. Closer to the entrance is where the gold is at, before you explore the various nooks and crannies of the inland Swan River, inclunding Syd’s Rapids and Boongarup Pool.
John Forrest National Park
A popular day trip choice for the metro area for a long time now, John Forrest is WA’s first national park. It’s home to Hovea and National Park Falls and a largely-untouched jarrah forest, but if you take a slow drive along Park Road you’ll also catch plenty of the 500+ wildflower species found throughout the park.
Often rated as one of the best half day trails in Perth, Kitty’s Gorge is a 17.5km return hike exploring the area carved into the granite hills near Jarrahdale by Gooralong Brook and the Serpentine River. Charmingly, it was named for a legend about a cow called Kitty that once got lost in the area and was found in one of the steep gorges. The lush area is home to two water courses snaking through the picturesque valleys; between winter and late spring you’ll find a colourful display of wildflowers on the edge of the trail.
Noble Falls is a delightful little patch of eastern Perth, offering a serene waterfall setting amongst dense jarrah, marri and blackbutt bushland. The surrounding walk trail is pleasant, easily accessible, and dog-friendly! During spring, you’ll see an abundance of yellow wattles, orchids, rose coneflowers and more.
One of the more popular dog friendly hikes in Perth, Whistlepipe Gully has become a crowd favourite thanks to the flowing water, excellent wildflowers and easy access. Starting at the end of Lewis Road at the base of the Perth Hills, head up to start and marvel at the various rapids along the way, colourful displays of wildflowers from winter through to spring and the views of the Perth CBD as you get higher. The perfect way to exercise your four-legged friend, Whistlepipe Gully is a pretty idyllic place on a nice spring day – plus, at the end of the hike you can check out the remaining foundations of a Japanese-inspired cottage.
Go Forth, North!
Although there are a lot nice places around the metropolitan area, a road trip up north will yield fields blanketed in colour. From Cervantes to Ningaloo, the ‘Coral Coast’ is world renowned for its uncontested display of unique, native flowers. Plan your trip to hit all the hotspots, with Carnarvon and Morawa displaying carpets of everlastings; Kalbarri with banksias and hakeas; and Namburg showcasing fan flowers and winterbells. A night at the Western Flora Caravan Park will put you right in the heart of wildflower country.
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