You don’t have to travel very far out of Perth to see some of Western Australia’s best and brightest wildflowers.
At Goomalling, beautiful parks and reserves will beckon nature lovers. Orchids bloom here from July to September, and there are eight orchid hotspots where you’ll find species such as cowslip, ant, sun, donkey and vanilla orchids. The Salmon Gum Way conservation area is a great place to start, where, if you’re quiet, you will also see a variety of native fauna, such as lizards, birds, possums and echidnas.
At Oak Park, the walking trail winds through the reserve for three kilometres in two loops, both starting at the picnic area. There are signs to inform you about the local environment, as well as the land’s traditional owners, the Ballardong people. Along with wildflowers, you can also find several gnamma holes – large circular indentations in the rock that were used by Aboriginal people for water storage.
Just 20 minutes north-east lies Dowerin, where there are several reserves bursting with wildflowers and native bushland. The number of wildflowers is dependent on the amount of rain that has fallen during winter, with the most abundant displays occurring after heavy rainfall. Luckily for caravanners, this winter has brought soaking rains, with some areas recording more than 100 millimetres over the Easter weekend in March!
Start at the Tin Dog Creek Reserve, where you will not only spot an impressive tin dog sculpture, but you might also catch sight of a variety of wild orchids, including bunny, clown, leek, spider, and blue and pink fairies. Don’t leave before taking a photo of the Dowerin rose, a smooth, grey-barked mallee with a vibrant red flower. On your way out, keep your eyes peeled for the blue dampiera that grows along roadsides.
You will find this delightful country town 20 minutes east of Dowerin. It’s a good place to set yourself up to explore the Wyalkatchem Nature Reserve, which usually has a good selection of wildflowers, and the nearby Korrelocking Reserve, which has a variety of orchids growing on the west side of the park. Watch for some of the 44 species of native bird that have been sighted here, including the Pacific heron, kites, eagles, black-tailed native hens, and long-billed corellas.
Less than one hour east lies Trayning, part of the Wheatbelt region, where you will find a great variety of landscapes that give rise to a great variety of flora and fauna. Around 980 plant species can be found in this region, including 47 species of orchid. The best time for viewing the flowers is between mid July and late October.