7 wildflower-filled road trips in Australia
Buckle up for a road trip in full bloom.
By Celeste Mitchell
With the windows rolled down, the wind in your hair, and the soundtrack up loud, there’s no doubt that road trips are a romantic way to travel. And if you plan your trip to the right spots when buds are blooming, you also get a front-row seat for the natural spectacle of wildflower season.
Let these botanical beauties paint your journey with purpose, plotting a course through some of Australia’s most stunning national parks and coastal communities. Ready, set, bloom.
Wildflower gold: the best of Western Australia
Western Australia is the bee’s knees when it comes to wildflower hunting. Take your pick from a bouquet of destinations offering more than 12,000 species, all blooming like a floral wave across the state from June to November. Coalseam Conservation Park, about a 4.5-hour drive north of Perth, delivers an eye-popping feast of everlastings, banksias, hakeas and grevilleas, as well as stellar wildlife watching opportunities. Keep a camera at the ready to snap the resident kangaroos, emus and echidnas. At Miners, the park’s main campground, camping is allowed for three consecutive nights during peak flower season (August to October), so you can sleep surrounded by a blanket of floral fields.
Alpine bloom: Canberra to Kosciuszko, New South Wales
New South Wales’ Kosciuszko National Park, about a 5.5-hour drive from Sydney or 2.5-hour drive from Canberra, is well-known for its winter fun. But once the snow melts, pops of purple, yellow and pink blanket the alpine fields. You can easily spot flowers by car, bike or on foot. Drive the Alpine Way from Canberra to Thredbo, then wind through prime wildflower territory on the Kosciuszko Summit Walk or cycle past high-altitude florals on the Thredbo Valley Track. Continue on to Tilba Tilba on the New South Wales South Coast for the ultimate Instagram shot at Mountain View Farm, where fields of paper daisies stretch to the foothills of Mount Gulaga. They generally bloom from late August to early October.
Fields of dreams: Tasmania’s lavender
Any time is a good time for a fragrant frolic through Tasmania’s lavender fields, though you’ll find them in full bloom between December and January. Head a little over 50 kilometres (31 miles) north-east of Launceston to Bridestowe Lavender Estate and dance among 105 hectares (260 acres) of lavender fields and gardens. Lavender ice cream and brownies are the payoff after you capture a few dreamy photos. South of Hobart, pull into Port Arthur Lavender for seven hectares (17 acres) of lavender fields with ocean views.
Sunflower season: Southern Queensland Country
No part of the Sunshine State is sunnier than Southern Queensland Country in summer, when sunflower farms brighten everyone’s day. Sunflowers grow in various spots around Queensland, and when they choose to bloom is largely up to the elements. But your best chance of seeing their yellow, nodding heads is to drive the backroads of Clifton, Allora, Freestone and Yangan. Sunflowers generally bloom from early January until March but are highly weather dependent, so check in with the Toowoomba and Warwick tourism offices before you jump in the car.
Purple rain: Sydney to Grafton, New South Wales
Make a purple pilgrimage to view beautiful jacaranda trees in bloom. In Sydney, head to the harbourside suburb of Kirribilli to see an archway of purple blooms along McDougall Street. Once you've had your fill of the city's lilac haze, take a six-hour road trip from Sydney into the country, heading north to Grafton in the Clarence Valley. Here, the streets and parks explode into a purple display of petals as they blossom and fall from 1,700 jacaranda trees (there’s even a map to help you find them). The season is surprisingly short: generally mid-October to mid-November is when you’ll find the place painted purple. While there, pay a visit to the Grafton Regional Gallery in the heritage building Prentice House.
Feeling stately: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
If you’re looking for a short, sharp frolic past native orchids, creamy candles and puffy yellow billy buttons, you can spot them in the Adelaide Hills (bonus: this is wine country). Stop first at the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, just a 25-minute drive from Adelaide, to wander the rose garden, magnolia gully and rhododendron gully. In Belair National Park, take the Wildflower Wander trail through Anstey Hill Recreation Park, and visit Black Hill Conservation Park with eyes peeled for flower species like greenhoods, sun orchids and donkey orchids.
Sandstone splendour: the Grampians, Victoria
The Grampians might have hit your radar with its Insta-worthy fields of sunny yellow canola flowers, but one-third of all of Victoria’s flora is found here, including soft bunches of pink common heath, the floral emblem of the state. The traditional owners of this region divide the year into six distinct weather periods, one of which is Petyan, the season of wildlife and wildflowers. Head for Grampians National Park in Petyan between August and November to find delicate blooms peppering the rugged, sandstone landscape.