Wildflowers Australias South West

Leave the car behind and get knee-deep in nature this spring – it’s the very best time to experience the region’s glorious floral displays says Tori Wilson.

Margaret River Discovery Co

With its lush forests, sweeping coastline and clusters of flowers scattered like hundreds and thousands on an ice-cream cone, the Margaret River Region is a nature enthusiast’s haven and there’s no time to discover it like spring.

Sean Blocksidge of the Margaret River Discovery Company tells me all about the best walks to embark upon this time of year, how to prepare and what to look out for. He says that spring is the best time to look out for a rainbow of wildflowers and the migrating whales, with the potential to see 50 or more in a single day.

“The Cape to Cape Track is the jewel in the crown of WA walk trails, five to seven days of awesomeness that varies between beach, forest, cliffs, rivers, gullies, alleys and epic views at every turn. No two days are the same.” – Sean Blocksidge, Margaret River Discovery Company.

If you’re an adventurer planning to tackle the complete track, start to finish it extends 135km from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The expected time to complete the track is five to eight days so preparation is essential. Sean recommends good quality hiking boots, more water than you assume and the Cape to Cape Guidebook by local legend Jane Scott.

“If you are going to do the whole thing you definitely need to do some training while wearing a pack,” he says. “Pack light as possible and invest in good gear. Modern camping gear is ultralight these days and worth every cent.”

While the northern section of the track has a paved path that’s suitable for everybody, the remainder of the walk requires good mobility and reasonable fitness – the beach sand at Deepdene Beach is where this will especially come in handy.

The Cape to Cape Track is the jewel in the crown of WA walk trails, five to seven days of awesomeness that varies between beach, forest, cliffs, rivers, gullies, alleys and epic views at every turn

Wildflowers Australias South West
Image credit: Australia's South West

If fitness is not your forte or you’re looking for a bite-sized nature experience to pack into one day, don’t be deterred, there’s plenty here for you. The Cape to Cape track is extremely accessible so even just a day walk can showcase some of its highlights.

“The most diverse section is from Boranup Karri Forest, along Conto’s Cliffs through to Redgate Beach. Three massive wows in one day,” says Sean. “If you only have limited time, just the Contos Cliffs section and doing a circle walk back onto Contos Beach is ideal.” (Allow around 3 hours)

For the circle walk, leave your car where the Cape To Cape crosses Contos Road. Head north along the cliff tops and then at Bobs Hollow, once you’ve walked down the log steps, veer left onto the beach and make your way back in a large circle. Take care on the cliffs as the ground is uneven and jagged rocks are prevalent.

Once settled, soak up the views over the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and then take a swim in the clear waters (watch out for currents and rips). Pack a lunch and plenty of water for the day.

Fieldnotes Wildflower Season
Image Credit: Fieldnotes

Wonderful Wildflowers

The Margaret River Region is home to a plethora of spectacular wildflowers and impressive plant life as it’s one of the most biodiverse regions anywhere on the planet. The flora here is so rich that it is rated by WWF as one of the world’s most important areas for biodiversity and conservation.

To catch these wildflowers in full bloom, the Cape Track is one of the best places to do it. It explodes with colour during September and October with stunning displays of pimelea, coral vine and acacia.

“The best stuff though is the really small stuff. The flowers you have to really work hard to find and the ultimate among those are the orchid species,” says Sean. “One of the best sections for spring wildflowers is Ellensbrook through Kilcarnup to Prevelly.”

“It’s super important to stay on the trail so you don’t damage the sensitive environment, but you’ll be amazed at how many species you will discover once you start looking.”

Fieldnotes Wildflower Season
Photo Credit: Fieldnotes

Look Out For:

  • Chapman’s Spider Orchid – Its large flowers have striking red markings while the overall colour varies from dark red to almost white. Each flower is 10-14cm long and stems can reach 25cm tall.
  • Bold Beauty – This erect shrub flowers between August and December.
  • Donkey Orchid – This magnificent, tall orchid usually grows in groups on sandy soils. It flowers between September and October.

Nature and Wildflowers Day Tour with Margaret River Exposed

Tour operator, Hank from Margaret River Exposed, grew up in Margaret River where even as a child, he photographed and recorded where and when the local wildflowers grew – developing a particular affinity for orchids. It’d be very, very hard to find someone who can show you more types of wildflowers and orchids.

The tour takes you to the wildflower and orchid hot spots in the area during the season from April to November. Free Photography tuition is included to capture that special photo.

Half day bookings are available for people with time constraints. Tours can be as exclusive as two people or share to a maximum group of 6 people.