Rare Western Australian nature is on show in Stirling Range National Park, home to the craggy, 65km-long Stirling Range, and an astonishing array of seasonal wildflowers, many of which grow only here. This bushwalking and biodiversity hotspot lies just over an hour's drive north-east of Albany, and is a destination on the South West, Beaches and Goldfields Drive from Perth.
Visit from September and November to see the park's renowned wildflower showcase. Rare, colourful orchids, mountain bells and banksias are amongst more than 1,000 different species, many of which are unique. The park is also home to 148 bird species, including parrots and emus, as well as wallabies, kangaroos and other native mammals.
Combine flora and fauna with panoramic views on the popular hike to Bluff Knoll, the South West's tallest peak, or on the tough day walk to Toolbrunup Peak. Steep tracks also lead up Mt Trio, Mt Hassel, Talyuberlup Peak and Mt Magog. From these peaks you can see why the Aboriginal name for Stirling Range is Koi Kyeunu-ruff, which means ‘place of ever moving about fog and mist'.
For a true cross-country adventure, tackle the three-day Stirling Ridge Walk to Ellen Peak, a popular rock-climbing spot. The Stirling Ridge Walk is one of Australia's most challenging wilderness hikes, and Western Australia's only alpine walk, and you must register with park rangers to do it. See the WA Parks website for more detailed precautions.
After walking, camp beneath the peaks at tranquil Moingup Springs, where drovers stopped more than a century ago. Or head to Stirling Range Retreat or Mt Trio Bush Camping and Caravan Park on the park's northern edge.
Follow the 42km Stirling Range Drive through the heart of the park, discovering the walking tracks, breathtaking lookouts and scenic, shady picnic spots like White Gum Flat.