Wildflower bonanza in the West

See wildflowers like these in WA this spring. Photos John Colwill

COVID lockdowns permitting, put WA on your travel plans for spring this year says John Colwill, who has put together two quick itineraries for HMAA members who want to discover the best blooms.

This year there has been widespread and consistent rain across much of Western Australia including the semi-arid areas that were once the backbone of the pastoral industry but now are dominated by mining. The rains mean that there will be some magnificent displays of wildflowers, particularly the annuals, which can sometimes colour the landscape as far as the eye can see.

As an annual enthusiast, I look forward to spending a lot of time out there this spring, hunting for and shooting (with cameras) what promises to be the best season we have had for years. Fortunately I have plenty of time to do many trips and cover a lot of ground. For those with less time, here are two tours for visitors to get a quick taste of what’s on offer. Google more details. Both suggested tours begin in Perth and are for August and September.

John’s itineraries

Tour 1 (two perhaps three days) Perth to Geraldton, Mingenew, Canna

From Perth take Brand Highway to Geraldton taking in the incredibly rich and diverse flora of several nature reserves on the way. Alternatively take the Indian Ocean Drive, which has less flora but other features such as the Pinnacles. Overnight in Geraldton. Second day Geraldton to Mingenew via Walkaway, Allanooka and Depot Hill Reserve. From Mingenew visit Coalseam Conservation Park then on to Canna and head back to Perth via Morawa and Perenjori to Wubin where the road joins the Great Northern Highway. If time permits, head north east from Wubin for about 60km to experience the pastoral woodland. Then head back to Perth via the highway and be ready for a lot of big trucks and very long road trains.

Tour 2 (for a longer trip) Perth to Geraldton, Mullewa, Pindar, Yalgoo, Ninghan and Paynes Find

First day Perth to Geraldton as above and on the second day head east from Geraldton on the Mt Magnet Road, stopping at Mullewa for their wildflower show and to pick up a map of the many wildflower round trips they have planned. Then further east to Pindar, which has a reputation for the presence of wreath leschenaultia. Further east then to Yalgoo before heading south on the Yalgoo to Ninghan gravel road to join the Great Northern Highway. This is a long run through pastoral country that has a great number and variety of wildflowers growing in diverse habitats. There is a campsite on the way as well as a station stay at Ninghan Homestead.
The easy route then is back along Great Northern Highway to Perth but if you want more head to Paynes Find where there is a dirt road that heads south skirting Lake Moore. Check at the Paynes Find Roadhouse to make sure it’s passable before heading off. It is a great drive through Karoun Hill Nature Reserve before entering farming land and finally meeting the Mollerin-Beacon Road. Head west to Ballidu then south detouring at Kondut to visit the Reynoldson Reserve before returning to Perth via Wongan Hills and Goomalling.

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