Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 species of wildflowers with more than 60 per cent found nowhere else in the world.
By Kris Madden
Western Australia's 12,000 wildflower species is the largest collection in the world. Scattered across 2.5 million square kilometres (965,000 square miles) of terrain, every year they bring a spectacle of colour and fragrance that must be experienced to be believed, especially when you consider 60 per cent of them are found nowhere else on Earth. You can enjoy their glorious carpets of colour and curious blooms for six months of the year, as the season begins in June in the north, and sweeps down the state to finish with a flurry on the south coast in November.
Western Australia's wildflowers highlights
See wildflowers in the city
You can see some of the very best of Western Australia’s wildflowers close to Perth city centre every September when more than 1700 species burst into bloom in the Botanic Garden in Kings Park. Take a free guided walk from the Visitor Information Centre to make sure you don't miss anything. The Kings Park Festival in September is a long-running tradition that celebrates spring and the park's wildflowers. Highlights include flowering eucalyptus trees, everlasting sunflowers and the rare black kangaroo paw.
Wander through Whiteman Park
Less than a 30 minute drive north of Perth, explore the trails of wildflowers at Whiteman Park Recreation and Conservation Reserve in the Swan Valley. The park's Wununga Trail ("quiet" or "peaceful" in the local Noongar Aboriginal language) is an easy 4.3 kilometre (2.6 mile) trail that winds its way in a figure of eight through a diverse range of huge jarrah trees and different bushland settings. Between September and December at Whiteman Park you're likely to see an array of colourful orchids, yellow buttercups, fluffy white prickly mosses, and the brilliant orange/yellow feather flowers of the Morrison bush. Drop by the historic Rose & Crown Hotel in nearby Guildford, one of Western Australia's oldest pubs.
Follow the Jarrahland Trail
If you're driving, follow the 3 1/2 hour Jarrahland Trail to Manjimup, almost 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Perth, in the South West region. If you follow the coastal route you'll take in Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton and the Margaret River wine region on the way. Take it slowly and check out the corals and marine life at the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory, or stop for a guided swim with wild dolphins at Rockingham. Mandurah Wine Tours and Charters has a full or half day guided minibus tour, combining wildflowers with chocolate, cheese and wine cellars. In late winter and spring, (August to November) the bush along the coast comes alive with blue lace flowers, red and green kangaroo paws and masses of colourful orchids.
Take the Jarrahland inland route
The inland Jarrahland route travels through the state forests and national parks including the Jarrahwood State Forest and Wiltshire-Butler National Park. The best months for wildflowers are September to November. In this part of the country, you'll encounter clusters of kangaroo paws, orchids, wattles, buttercups, and native bluebells, You can also cycle a section of the famous Munda Biddi Bike Trail between Perth and Manjimup. Stop and climb the lookout at The Diamond Tree, halfway on the 30 kilometre (18.6 mile) drive from Manjimup to Pemberton. A further hour and a half drive away is Cape Leeuwin, a starting point for bushwalkers' favourite, the Cape to Cape Track.
See southern wonders
The Stirling Range National Park is home to more than 1500 species of native plants, 87 of which aren't found anywhere else in the world. There are several bushwalks of varying levels of difficulty and lovely picnic areas. If you're fit, climb up to the top of Bluff Knoll, which at 1095 metres (3592 feet), is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, and offers 360-degree views from the summit.
Meet the Adventure Doctor
In Albany get on board a 4WD with Dr Dave, "the Adventure Doctor" with Out of Sight Tours, and visit places that few people see on an off-road journey to the southernmost point of Western Australia. If you're self-driving, try to fit in Porongurup and Fitzgerald River national parks, home to more than 1800 species of flowering plants. About 50 kilometres (31 miles) away, step out onto the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk near Denmark. Wildflower season is also a wonderful time to walk one or more of the sections of the Bibbulmun Track. And if you're here in September, go wild for wildflowers at the Esperance Wildflower Festival.
Combine wildflowers with whale sharks
In the north of the state more than 630 species of wildflowers bring Cape Range National Park to life in July, arguably its best season. Follow their vivid trail to Ningaloo Reef, where you can swim with whale sharks and snorkel over tropical fish and coral. A top-of-the-range full day tour with Ningaloo Safari Tours includes a guided 4WD in Cape Range National Park, a boat cruise, and a visit to Ningaloo Marine Park.
Wander way up north
Take a 4WD tour on the Pilbara wildflower trail from Broome to the Pilbara, where the botanical spectacular usually kicks off in June. After the first tropical rains, native hibiscus, bluebells, sticky cassia, mulla mulla and native fuschia burst from the red earth in Karijini National Park, where you can stay at the award-winning Karijini Eco Retreat. Take a six day tour from Broome to Karijini National Park in a luxury 4WD vehicle with Spirit Safaris.
Ask an expert
Let local flora experts show you the best of the West Australian wildflower extravaganza on a guided coach or walking tour. Search for wildflower tours from Perth or Western Australia’s regional towns and choose from tours lasting from one day to a week or longer. Casey Australia Tours offers coach tours taking in most of Western Australia's wildflower regions, including Kalbarri National Park, Karijini National Park and Shark Bay, with knowledgeable botanical experts onboard. Luxury Outback Tours has a range of longer, seven to 12 day tours between August and October.