August through to Late September is wildflower season in Western Australia. Parts of the state are famous for being literally carpeted with a myriad of flowers, from the ‘backyard’ everlastings to rare orchids, Banksias and the mysterious Leschenaultia “wreath” flowers.
I decided to take a day trip up north where the wildflowers start and see what I could find.
My friend had been to Coorow a few weeks earlier and she said the flowers were just starting to bloom and that a few weeks later it would be perfect. So, a few weeks later…
It’s a long drive even upto where the flowers just start, let alone the heart of wildflower country, which is really a weekend trip at least from Perth (or an hour south of Perth where I live). So I set off before 6am, filled up my car and bought some food and started the long drive.
It was pretty foggy once I got outside Perth and the trip through Bindoon all the way to Moora and beyond was very foggy. Apart the annoying effect of slowing me down a bit, it was actually very pretty with the sun throwing long morning shadows on foggy hilltops and misty canola fields, but there didn’t seem to be very many places to be able to stop and take photos. Plus, I didn’t want to spend hours diverting from my main goal.
I got to Moora in bright sun and stopped for a few minutes to stretch my legs. In hindsight, I should have had breakfast here and bought some more food, as after Moora, pretty much everything else was shut after 12 noon.
After Moora, next stop was Jingemia Cave, about 30km south of Coorow. The rocks around the cave are actually pretty unusual as they’re made of chert (silicified limestone/dolomite) – but the caves and karst landscape are caused by the dissolution of the calcium in the limestone though the action of water, generally from the surface – meaning the silicification came after the karstification. The rocks are around 1.3 billion years old and contain stromatolite fossils (wish I’d known that before I went, I would have searched a bit harder for a banded sample!)
Was very pretty, and the place was also covered in tiny wildflowers. Highly recommended and it made for an excellent stop and walk around before heading on to Coorow.
About 45 minutes later, I pulled into Coorow and ducked off right into the information bay which had a wildflower map (note – there are only 2 locations where I spotted a decent collection of flowers, the others..I really don’t know what they were thinking!) – I took a photo for reference and then headed out on the Coorow – Latham road to the first location mentioned and there were flowers everywhere – amazing!
After getting some pics, I doubled back and pulled into the Community Farm where theres a famous wildflower display with easy guided walks. The flowers were incredible – a literal yellow, white, pink and purple carpet
There are a couple of walks on offer – my recommendation is to stop and park just inside the entrance and walk into the field behind with the metal gate. The path is short ish but takes you though an amazing display. Then go back to the car and drive about 1/2km up the track to a picnic bench (past the gravesite and plaque of the early settlers to the area) where the main lookout loop trail starts. From here, go up the hill and walk counter clockwise (i.e. turn right at the top) direction through the amazing flower show.
Then theres a little drive tour around the farm with more flowers and then you’re done.
Highly recommended just for this (and the few stops just up the road)
Like I said before, there’s a few other mentions on the map on the info bay – but I wouldn’t bother, I couldn’t see anything on any of them. Perhaps there’s a rare orchid somewhere, but I wasted an hour trying each location so you don’t have to.
My recommendation from here – go north to Coalseam National Park for more amazing flowers..
I had to make a move, so I went east to Latham (note: apparently there are wreath flowers along the road – I didn’t see any evidence of them, but then if I’d known, I might have enquired in town as to their specific location before I left..) then south to Wubin, Dalwallinu and Wongan Hills and as lovely as the drive was through banksia and everlasting lined roads with views of fields of canola, there wasn’t a whole load to see. I think around Wongan Hills would be good (at least according to various websites), but I kinda ran out of time and had to start making my way home.
There was a funky little garden thing in Latham (and not much else) – which was worthy of a few moments to stop and stretch legs.
Wubuin was supposed to have lots of wildflowers, but I couldnt find any information as to where when I got there (turns out they are about 20km West at Mia Moon Reserve) and I was short on time, so headed on south. Just outside Dalwallinu at Buntine there was a sign for Buntine Rock – so I took a dive off left and followed the signs up a narrow track to a wide open parking ground. From there I elected to walk the 500m to the rock and admired the flowers along the way. I had heard there were orchids around, but didn’t see any. Again, hindsight – could have spent time here looking for orchids and skipped Wongan Hills..
I drove on from there to Wongan Hills, through endless wattles and banksias in flower, but didn’t really have time for more. I went to Lake Ninan, but it was a bit boring and nothing much to see. I gather it’s the place to go for astrophotography due to the low light pollution and presumably, lake reflections and an horizon to horizon view of the sky. During the day tho… not so much.
And that wraps it up. 820km all up, 12 hours out on the road and poking cameras at things.