Our Guide To The Wildflower Hotspots Of WA’s Coral Coast
Words by Alexandra Casey
Western Australia is home to one of the largest wildflower collections on Earth, and sprinkled from Cervantes to Exmouth, the Coral Coast is packed with hotspots where you’ll be able experience the spectacular carpets of colour.
The 2022 wildflower season has begun and will continue until early October, replacing red dirt with dustings of colour and abundance. Over 60 per cent of the more than 12,000 wildflower species found in WA are unique to the area, so take this as your sign to get out there and explore.
We’ve been there, done that and nailed down the guide of where you’ll want to be going. All you have to do is pack the car, fill the tank and hit the road!
Where To Go: Wildflower Hot Spots
Home to the exquisite Kalbarri National Park and dramatic Coastal Cliffs, the laidback coastal town of Kalbarri is a great place to visit for a little wildflower eye candy.
South of Kalbarri, the 8 kilometre Birgurda Trial traces the breathtaking Coastal Cliff stretch between Eagle Gorge and Natural Bridge. The moderately easy trail atop the multi-coloured layers of sandstone and limestone hugs the Indian Ocean, and features steep chasms, rocky inlets and mesmerising rock formations. You’ll spot bursts of colour as wildflowers bloom and if you might even witness the migrating whales.
Kalbarri National Park
Traversing an impressive 186,000 hectares, the Kalbarri National Park resides at the lower reaches of the Murchison River – WA’s second longest river which flows for about 820 kilometres. A myriad of unique wildflowers bloom among the National Park’s gorges and coastal cliffs. You’ll also be sure to see pops of colour when visiting the Insta-famous Nature’s Window lookout and Z-Bend Gorge.
All roads within the park are sealed and suitable for 2WD vehicles. Western access to the park is from the town of Kalbarri, via Ajana-Kalbarri Road and eastern access is off the North West Coastal Highway, via Ajana-Kalbarri Road.
D’Guy Charters offer bespoke wildflower tours in Kalbarri National Park. Guy’s local knowledge and humour is unparalleled and his friendly guidance makes the experience all the more enjoyable. D’Guy Charters also offer Stargazing Tours for those starry night sky enthusiasts.
Cape Range National Park, Exmouth
Cape Range National Park is where the rugged limestone range and arid coastal plain of Cape Range meets the sparkling turquoise waters of Ningaloo Marine Park. The park covers over 50,000 hectares of land and located in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area.
The combination of tropical and desert regions within the park results in a technicolour richness, where you’ll find the vivid red Sturt’s desert pea, purple mulla mullas and other widespread species such as the Cape Rage grevillea and kurrajong.
The hiking trails at Mandu Mandu Gorge, Charles Knife Canyon and Yardie Creek are also well worth a gander and peppered with wildflower viewing opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, emus, echidnas, birds and black-flanked rock wallabies, all of whom call the park their home.
Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site in the Gascoyne region about 800 kilometres from Perth. The area spans approximately 23,000 square meters and is located on the most western point of Australia. Shark Bay daisies are endemic to the region and can be found along Stella Rowley Drive and in Francois Peron National Park. Other wildflowers of the area include the Tamala Rose, dune wattle and even everlastings around Hamelin Pool. Keep in mind, a high-clearance 4WD is needed to explore Francois Peron National Park, or try a guided tour.
Lesueur National Park, Jurien Bay
With over 900 species of flora, Lesueur National Park is a must for wildflower enthusiasts, it’s also thought to be home to at least 10 per cent of WA’s flora. During wildflower season, much of the global biodiversity hotspot is enveloped with colour.
Make sure you follow the 18.5km Lesueur Scenic Drive to the top of Mount Lesueur for panoramic views across the park and Green Head coastline. Park entry fees are $15.00 per vehicle.
Mid-West Wildflower Country
Wildflower Country runs from Moora in the south to Dalwallinu in the east, and from Mullewa in the north to Green Head and Geraldton in the West. WA’s Wildflower Country is the collective name given to inland farming towns located a few hours north of Perth, including Carnamah, Coorow, Dalwallinu, Mullewa, Moora, Morawa, Mingenew, Perenjori and Three Springs. Not only do these small towns boast incredible displays of wildflowers, there’s also a lot of history and heritage woven into their roots.
About 100 kilometres east of Geraldton, Mullewa is known for its mesmerising carpets of everlastings and as one of the few places in the world that the wreath flower (Lechenaultia macrantha or wreath Leschenaultia) grows. The town is also home to the annual Wildflower Show in September. The floral richness of the region is due to the town straddling both geological and climatic transition zones, which creates diversity across varying soil types and rainfall and temperature zones.
Coalseam Conservation Park
Located halfway between Mullewa and Mingenew on Coalseam Road, the park is famous for the effervescent carpets of yellow, cream and pink pom-pom everlastings that cover the red soil, rocky outcrops and rugged cliff terrain. Coalseam is not only rich in natural beauty, but also in history as it was the location of WA’s first mined coal deposit. The exposed bands of coal seam, siltstone, claystone and sandstone reveals 250 million years of ecological history. The park is also home to a collection of walking trails and lookouts, dotted with information detailing the native flora and fauna.
New Leaf Connect offer full day tours of the Coalseam and northern (Canna, Mullewa and Pindar) or southern surrounds (Mingenew, Three Springs and Morawa). They are all about creating connections between people, places and produce across the Midwest. New Leaf Connect will take away the leg work of planning your wildflower trip, so can enjoy the very best of the season.
Located a zippy five minutes from Mingenew, Depot Hill is an orchid hotspot abundant in life and history. If you’re partial to a walk, take the bush track to discover the Army Rifle Range which was used as an army training area during World War II. You’ll even find a remaining bunker if you follow the walking trail through the reserve. Word on the street is that the other bunkers were dismantled and the stone was used for the construction of septic systems in the township. You’ll also find an abundance of cowslips and other popular wildflowers.
Dandaragan is a charming farming town, known for its lush pastures, award-winning organic beef and fruit orchards. The origins of the name lie within the Indigenous Australian language and are thought to mean “good kangaroo country”. The wheatbelt town 170 kilometres from Perth, boasts a multi coloured spectacle of wildflowers from the everlastings at Badgingarra to Black Kangaroo Paw and orchids.
Tips for Visiting the Wildflowers
- Remember to follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles when visiting the wildflowers.
- It’s illegal to pick the wildflowers, and fines apply.
- Stick to the paths to avoid trampling the wildflowers.
- Take nothing but photos.
- Make use of the local Visitors Centres by calling ahead or dropping in. They are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to give you all the up-to-date information.
- Plan in advance as accommodation can be limited during the busy wildflower period.
- Leave it to the experts and join a wildflower tour to take the leg work out of planning your trip.
Check out the suggested wildflower itineraries and weekend wildflower trails on the Australia’s Coral Coast website HERE to guide your next trip.
Why not start with this two or three day loop and explore the coastal and inland towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Badgingarra and Eneabba. Check out the Weekend Wildflower Trail HERE.
How to Get There?
Travellers can take Brand Highway or the more scenic coastal route, Indian Ocean Drive. Both meander through the heart of Wildflower Country.
This article is sponsored by Australia’s Coral Coast and very happily endorsed by us. Please see our Editorial Policy for more info.
All images by @helen_jannesonbense