Forget drab days and bleak landscapes. Winter in Western Australia breaks all the stereotypes. From June until September, more than 12,000 wildflower species explode across the state. Follow their vivid trail to Ningaloo Reef, where you can swim with whale sharks and snorkel over tropical fish and coral. Capture their life-affirming colour in rugged Kalbarri National Park, near Geraldton, or in sculpted Kings Park in Perth. Let them lead you to the waves, caves and wineries of Margaret River. Walk with them through soaring karri forests on the Bibbulmun Track or take in their dazzling diversity from Albany. Do wildflower day walks, join longer tours or celebrate the blooms with the locals at any of the many festivals.
Four wheel drive from Broome to the Pilbara, where the state’s floral spectacular usually kicks off in June. After the first tropical rains, native hibiscus, bluebells, sticky cassia, mulla mulla and native fuschia burst from the dusty red earth. Camp overnight in national parks like Karijini, where you’ll find rock fig, lemongrass and silver cadjeput beneath the waterfalls and next to the cool, deep rock pools.
From July, more than 630 species of wildflowers bring Cape Range to life in its best season. Bushwalk, rock climb and four wheel drive in Cape Range National Park, where ancient red gorges meet daisy-covered dunes and turquoise seas. Winter temperatures here average 25 degrees and in July you can still swim with the huge whale shark on nearby Ningaloo Reef. After wildflower watching, snorkel from the beach to Ningaloo’s hyper-colored coral and go game fishing from Coral Bay.
In August you can head down the coast to Kalbarri National Park, when the banksias, grevilleas, kangaroo paws and red-blossomed eucalypts are on display. Bushwalk, rock climb or canoe past them and look through the red rock frame of Nature’s Window along the way.
In early September, the state’s south-west springs to life with grand, Picasso-style strokes. Don’t miss the month-long wildflower festival in Perth’s Kings Park, where up to 1,700 native species are in bloom. From here, head to Margaret River, where wineries meet crashing waves, underground caves and majestic jarrah, marri and karri forests. Do a tour or bushwalk, spotting purple tassles, fan-flowers and flame peas. In mid-September, admire rare and delicate orchids at the Margaret River–Augusta Orchid Show.
Wildflowers continue to dance south along the coast, where at many places the South West Drive and Bibbulmun Track intersect. Walk through towering karri forests filled with pink boronias and yellow buttercups from Pemberton. You can look down on this brilliant carpet of blooms after scaling the skyscraping Gloucester Tree with metal spikes. From Albany, go on a wildflower walk around the granite domes of Porongurup National Park and visit Fitzgerald River National Park, home to more than 1,800 species of flowering plants. See coastal wildflowers dotting the granite peaks and heathlands of Cape Le Grand National Park, near Esperance. Or check out an indoor display of over 400 wildflower species at the Esperance Wildflower Festival in September.
Don’t get typecast this winter. Add colour to your winter blues and follow a wildflower trail through some of Western Australia’s most spectacular natural destinations.