Where The Wildflowers Are

Tread carefully.

F or most of the year, the south-west Western Australian bush presents as a landscape of hardy resilience. Spiny-leaved shrubs. Implacably tall gums. Muted colours of silver, matt green and dusky blue-greys that create the impression of longevity and permanence.

The onset of the spring wildflower season broadcasts the reality: an environmental balance as delicate as the donkey orchid.

Over the next few weeks the bush will be painted in broad brushstrokes of Shark’s Tooth wattle-yellow colouring up clifftops from cape to cape. Native Wisteria climbs royal purple in Jarrah and Karri forest. Southern Diplolaena flowers are pin lights of orange blazing in contrast to the brackish shrub’s silvered arms. Hidden amongst it all are the shier species. Leaping Spider Orchid. The Margaret River Spider Orchid.

But the proliferation of colour is no indicator of environmental security.

Invasive weeds and human activity are the modern threats to an ecosystem labelled by Conservation International as one of 34 International Biodiversity Hotspots. The only identified Hotspot on the Australian continent. Plants blooming here found nowhere else on Earth.

So tread carefully. Stick to the paths. Find a guide. Admire the beauty. And leave the landscape as it was found. Spring wildflower season is a view of the vulnerable underbelly of the bush in all its diverse beauty.

Take a look through the lens of photographer Rachel Claire to get a sense of the beginnings of wildflower season along the Margaret River region’s coastal trails and tree-lined walks.

Wildflower Tours

  • Get off the beaten track with Margaret River Exposed, a tour which offers access to all the national parks in the South West and secluded spots rich in wildlife and wildflowers. Complementary photography tuition is included.
  • Explore the banks of the Margaret River with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours’ 2.5 hour ‘Wild About Margaret River’ walking tour. Learn the fascinating properties of the surrounding wildflowers, bush plants and even the bizarre creatures that dwell in the river.
  • Margaret River Discovery Co. offers the region’s only 4WD guided wildflower tour, followed by a wine tasting experience in a vineyard surrounded by wildflowers.
  • Wander through stands of endemic orchids on the South West Eco Discoveries Coastal and Wildlife Tour. Visit spectacular lookouts and iconic hotspots in the Dunsborough area.
  • Discover wildflowers in style with Walk into Luxury a complete luxury walking experience that showcases the best of the Cape to Cape track alongside the region’s fine wine, gourmet produce and luxury accommodation.
  • Edgewalkers offers guided walking tours in Margaret River and along the Cape to Cape Track. Reconnect with nature on a half-day or full-day tour, or even a 3 day/2 night Cape to Cape Track adventure.
  • Visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and its surrounding walk trails for the chance to see wildflowers in bloom on the cape as well as whales frolicking in the waters below. Truly a sight to behold!

Self-guided Wildflower Spotting

  1. The local Dunsborough and Margaret River shires have planted wildflower displays, including everlastings. In Margaret River, look to Wallcliffe Road just past the Recreation Centre. In Dunsborough, view the displays upon the exit of town heading west on Caves Road toward Yallingup.
  2. Sunset in the background and swathes of yellow Shark Tooth’s wattle on the hills behind Surfer’s Point.
  3. Walk Rails to Trails from Mann Street to Carters Road for pea flowers, kangaroo paw, banskia and native wisteria among various accacia forms.

Author Sarina Kamini

Sarina is an Australian-Kashmiri author, spice mistress, one-time magazine editor and food journalist who has settled in Margaret River following 20 years of living and writing in New Delhi, Bangalore, Southern California, Melbourne, Paris, Edinburgh and Barcelona. When she is not working on a manuscript or running spice classes, she can be found swimming laps of Gnarabup beach or wandering the forest with her two sons and her dog, DJ Chips.

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