The world knows Australia for its incredible collection of truly unique animal and plant life. What many people outside of Australia may not know is that Perth, simultaneously one of its largest cities and its most isolated metropolitan centre, is at ground zero of the most diverse collection of wildflowers on the planet.
Wildflowers in Perth and its suburbs include species that could be found no other place on earth. There are over 12,000 documented species of flowering plants that could be found in Western Australia, about 60% of which are native only to the state, and nearly all of which could be found in and around Perth.
The wildflowers are found all around Perth for the same reason the city is the capital and the only major urban centre in Western Australia. The area from Shark Bay to Esperance where both the city and the wildflowers are features a Mediterranean climate, with hot but comfortable summers and mild and wet winters. Not only does this make it appealing for human habitation, but also makes it hospitable to the thousands of species of native wildflowers. In contrast, most of the state has a desert climate that is hospitable to far fewer species.
Wildflower season is typically July to November, and thousands of tourists and locals make the pilgrimage to various areas in and around Perth to see the wildflowers in bloom. The types and varieties of flowers you will see in different areas will vary from season-to-season, depending on the weather as well as general climate conditions.
Because each species has its own life cycles, different areas will have their own wildflower viewing windows. Some of the most popular spots to view wildflowers in and around Perth include:
- Kings Park and Botanic Garden
- Bold Park
- John Forrest National Park
- Walyunga National Park
- Wireless Hill Park
- Reynoldson Reserve
- Araluen Botanic Park
- The Wheat Belt
- The Swan Valley
- Hepburn Heights
- Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
- Star Swamp
- Brixton Street Wetlands
- Bungendore Park
- Whiteman Park
- Avon Valley
- Serpentine National Park
- Kalbarri National Park
- Rottnest Island
These are just some of the more popular places for viewing wildflowers. Everyone has their own favourite spots, and there are many more that are less accessible.
With the wide variety of flowers and the number of unique species, there is a significant demand for wildflower tours. A number of businesses specialize in offering tours of different wildflower viewing sites, ensuring that anyone interested in viewing Perth’s wildflowers is able to see them the times they are in full bloom.
Tips for wildflower viewing
For the best possible wildflower viewing experience, follow these useful tips:
1.) Bring your allergy medication
Hay fever is no joke, and most allergy sufferers in Perth know just how intense wildflower season can be. Be sure to stock up on your necessary allergy medication before going on a viewing tour.
2.) Check the sites immediately after rain
Rain will tend to increase the diversity of species in bloom, so make sure to use the rain as a cue to get ready.
3.) Expect insects
The flowers aren’t blooming for you – they’re blooming for thousands of different insect species native to the area. Wear insect-repellent long-sleeved clothing and trousers, as well as sunglasses, and a hat.
4.) Bring a field guide or a reference app
Wildflower viewing is far more fun if you’re able to identify the flowers you’re looking at.
5.) Leave nothing but footprints
Follow the usual principles of taking any trash you make with you.
Where are your favourite wildflower viewing sites? Tell us. We’d love to know!