Escorted small group tours of Western Australia Wildflowers.
The wildflower collection in Western Australia is one of the largest on Earth. This wildflower collection of plant species in south west Western Australia represents the longest unbroken evolutionary sequence of plant species on the planet! With more than 12,000 wild flower species, over 60% of which are found nowhere else on the planet.These wildflower colour the landscapes from coast to forest and city to outback to be Australia's biggest wildflower display every year. Wildflower season is from June to October each year. Western Australia in Australia 's South West is a wave of wildflower colour across the landscape. Odyssey travel is offering the opportunity to join this small group wildflower tour. Odyssey Traveller small group tour of Western Australia wildflowers for senior and mature travellers travelling as a coupe or a solo traveller, allows you to explore and learn about Australia 's Golden Outback and Western Australia's unique wildflowers.
This, like all Odyssey Traveller small group tours is limited to 12 people.
For wildflower enthusiasts this is an opportunity to see learn and photograph a collection of Western Australia's unique wildflowers for a 16 day wildflower escorted tour for senior and mature travellers in a small group of up to 12 people often accompanied on certain days by botanical guide to assist with discussion and identification of the collection of Western Australian wildflowers seen . We travel along the west coast , through the wheatbelt, across natural landscape of the golden outback plains, walk trails in the National park (s) the deserts and salt lakes, see ancient granite outcrops, wild woodland and then on the South West coast see some of the brightest white sand beaches in the world as we tour and view this year’s wildflower season across Western Australia .
Nambung National Park, Lesueur National Park & Wildflower way.
This small group wildflowers tour of Western Australia starts its tour from Perth city, travelling North West first, towards Geraldton along the coast on the Perth to Exmouth highway to arrive at the Nambung National Park to view the pinnacles. We continue on to Cervantes where we stop to visit Lake Thetis. It is estimated that this body of water became isolated from the sea approximately 4800 years ago when sea levels dropped and coastal dunes formed to create the lake. The lake is one of only a few places in the world with living marine stromatolites, or 'living fossils'. Stromatolites are one of the longest living forms of life on this planet. They can be traced back 3.5 billion years to the early Archean eon. Modern stromatolites were first discovered in Shark Bay, Australia in 1956 and through out western Australia in both marine and non-marine environments. From this primitive yet evolutionary life form visit we travel onto Lesueur National Park to commence the wildflower tour.
Lesueur National park is regarded a one of the most significant reserves for flora conservation in Western Australia. For wildflower enthusiasts there are several botanical species of Wildflower that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and have been included on an endangered list in this national park. It is home to over 900 plant species – 10 percent of Western Australia ’s known flora – including acacias, hibbertias, leschenaultias, melaleucas, gastrolobiums. There are many different orchid varieties present, such as spider orchids pink enamel, purple enamel, cowslip orchid, blue lady, white spider and donkey orchid species. Your walk along the wildflower trail will bring you into contact with some of the rarest and finest wildflowers in this national park. In spring several varieties of kangaroo paw are predominant. The National Park is also home to an abundance of wildlife with over 100 species of birds that rely on the wildflower flora for their survival. On our wildflower tour of the national park we take a walk through key areas of the park to observe and discuss the wildflower species observed. The afternoon this small group wildflower tour of Western Australia 's golden outback travels across country to follow the eastern segment of the Wildflower Way . We join at Mullewa and head south stopping at some, but not all, of the 15 identified wildflower country stops on the road to Wubin.
Hyden, Merredin, and the 'Wheat Belt' (West Australian mallee)
After travelling down the Wildflower Way, this wildflower tour travels across the wheatbelt (or 'the heartlands') to the golden outback town, Hyden. Though locals refer to the area as the 'Wheat Belt', much of the terrain here is mallee country. ‘Mallee woodlands’ have been listed by the Australian Department of Environment and Energy as one of the 32 ‘Major Vegetation Groups’ of Australia. It is defined by the predominance of the mallee eucalyptus, a stocky eucalyptus with several stems, which grows on semi-arid soil. Mallee country spreads in a belt across the south of Australia, centring around the Murray River in western Victoria and eastern South Australia, and on the Eyre Peninsula. In Western Australia, the Mallee begins north of Albany, spreading east towards Esperance and onward to the Nullarbor Plain. It does not touch the coast until the Great Australian Bite Begins. Mallee areas share a mediterranean climate of hot, hot summers, and cooler winters, and often are defined by an absence of fresh ground water.
Unlike the (geologically) youthful terrain of the Victorian and South Australian mallee, the Western Australian mallee is the result of ancient geological processes. The mallee is part of one of the oldest exposed landscapes on earth: a 600-million-year old plateau, which had been part of the supercontinent Gondwana. While minor uplifts caused the Stirling and Ravensthorpe Ranges, the landscape has remained remarkably stable. This long time without inundation or glaciation gave Western Australian flora long time to evolve in diverse ways to deal with the nutrient-poor soils, leading to the incredible biodiversity we see today.
Though European explorers would at first see the mallee as a 'desolate' country, Aboriginal peoples lived in mallee lands for tens of thousands of years before settlement. There is evidence of human occupation in the area 48, 000 years ago. The traditional owners of the land - the Nyungar, Ngadju, and Mirning - negotiated a country without fresh ground water by living near granite outcrops, which caught rain water and preserved it in wells. Giant ceremonial and trading meets were a common feature of life, as the Mallee peoples traded stone weapons and local foods in exchange for honey from the coast, and ochres from the desert.
Our tour visits one of these granite outcrops, Wave Rock in Hyden Wildlife Park, named for its resemblance to a giant granite wave. The rock is around 15 metres high, and 100 metres long. The nearby Mulka's Cave is an important site of Aboriginal art, home to over 450 hand stencils and motifs, the largest such site in the south-west of Western Australia. The site is managed through a collaborative approach with the Nyungar, which includes a heritage trail introducing visitors to the plants, animals and gnamma (water holes) used by the Nyungar people to survive. Hyden Wildlife Park is also home to spring wildflowers, particularly orchids.
After our visit to Hyden Wildlife Park, we head to Totadgin Rock, observing the spring wildflowers in flower there, before arriving in Merriden on the Golden Highway, where we stay overnight. Merriden was a key railway junction for pastoralists in the 19th century. Today, the agricultural land around Merredin produces 40% of Western Australia's wheat quota.
The Golden highway to Kalgoorlie-boulder
Leaving Merriden we head East on the Golden Highway, as we travel along the highway, we should see plenty of the renowned everlastings close to the roadside. Kalgoorlie-boulder is this small group tour of Western Australia next place to explore. The journey takes us through the dry red landscapes associated with outback Western Australia. It would not be unusual to see Western Australian wildflowers in bloom along the sides of the highway as we travel east. This landscape and its climate have allowed much of the gold rush to be visually removed there was during the gold rush from 1887 over 50 towns up in the Eastern goldfields now dominated by Kalgoorlie. The crazy idea of piping water from Perth to Kalgoorlie was completed in 1903 becoming a lifeline for the towns along the Golden Highway where the pipe was laid. Kalgoorlie feels like a frontier town, "the wild west" according to the Lonely planet guidebook. Since 1893 the area of Kalgoorlie- Boulder has produced over 50 million ounces of gold, one of only 4 districts in the world to have reached such a milestone. The group spends two nights in Kalgoorlie visiting the historic places and mines that enable you gain a reasonable understanding of this part of Western Australia.
We drive south now, to the South west to stay in Esperance for two nights to complete the remainder of the this wildflowers tour of Western Australia following the coast back to Perth city. The trip along the coast back to Perth is expected to be a highlight for wildflower enthusiasts as we see many endemic wildflowers unique to this part of Australia. The extraordinary variety of plant and wildflower species and the habitat threats to their survival qualify the South West Ecoregion as one of the world’s 36 Global Biodiversity Hotspots. Western Australian wildflowers of the South West evolved over millennia, surviving changing climatic conditions and natural disasters, adapting to every ecological niche for us to observe today. For example, over 60 species of Banksia have been recorded in the south west and only one of these grows naturally elsewhere (Australian National Botanic Garden 2012). Eighty per cent of the 8000+ species found in the South West can be found nowhere else on earth, making this section of this wildflower tour unique.
In Esperance there is always a succession of flowers blooming for wildflower enthusiasts to discover during the wildflower season; the peak period of the wildflower season is September and October when finest wildflowers typically are in flower . This peak coincides with the annual Esperance wildflower festival. As Visitors on this wildflower tour we will see Wildflowers in a substantial quantity at Helms Arboretum and along the Dempster Head walk trail along the Great Ocean Drive. The Esperance Wildflower Trail travels through some of Western Australia ’s most spectacular rural and coastal scenery. It takes in the untouched Fitzgerald River National Park which we spend time in on our way to Albany. Cape Le Grand National Park is also on the wildflower trail. Helms Arboretum is another stop on this wildflowers tour of Western Australia. During wildflower season, you’ll be able to spot up to ten different varieties of orchid in the arboretum. Ken Mills, a local botanist also recommends driving past the plantation in the arboretum through to the heathland at the back where there are also many wildflowers to be spotted.
Cape le Grand National Park is known for its stunning beaches, it is also well worth a visit for the wildflower season. Just 50km east of Esperance, the park offers a wildflower trail that will take you through beautiful wildflower country. Wildflower species readily seen in the National park include the banksia, kangaroo paws, grevilleas, and the stunning orange flowers of the WA Christmas Tree ( Nuytsia floribunda ).
Fitzgerald River National Park
Fitzgerald River National Park is a stop wildflower enthusiast will be interested in making our trip from Esperance to Albany . The Fitzgerald River National Park is recognised as one of the most botanically significant parks in Australia, with nearly 20% of Western Australia’s flora species found here. Many of the plants are endemic and, as yet, not all are documented. There are flowers in evidence all year round, however Spring is the best time to view all of the region’s wildflower species. This whole region as well the National park is teeming with some of the finest wildflowers, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Nearly twenty per cent of WA’s flora species are found in this park, including the beautiful and unique Qualup Bell.
Albany, Mt barker & Stirling ranges National park
Albany is the small group tours base when it explores in different the WA wildflowers habitats around Mt Barker and in the Stirling Ranges National Park . Hundreds of orchid species reside around Mount Barker and the Porongurups and Stirling Range National Parks. Mount Barker is incredibly rich and diverse in wildflower species and is recognised as one of Australia's premier locations to view a range of orchid and other spectacular spring wildflowers. The Park during wildflower season is a remarkable botanical reserve noted for its distinctive rugged beauty and collection of wildflower. Grass trees, pea flowers, leschenaultias, blue smoke bush, scarlet banksia and many orchid varieties are just a few of the wildflower plant species to be found in this area. Agricultural pastures are carpeted in a yellow carpet of freshly blooming Canola, flowers at every turn and numerous orchid and other wildflower species turn on a magnificent show in numerous locations. There are over 1500 species of plants in the Stirling Ranges alone with over 80 species being endemic including the famous mountain bells (Darwinias). In the Stirling ranges as well as viewing a different set of Western Australia's unique wildflowers during the wildflower season , we take a walk up Bluff knoll which at 1098m is the highest and most spectacular peak in South West, Western Australia.
Before the wildflowers tour of Western Australia departs Albany for Pemberton the group will have time to visit the National ANZAC Centre, a memorial to the ANZACS. It was from Albany on the 1st November 1914, that the first group of ANZAC troops on their way to the battlefields of the First World War departed Australia.
Pemberton is the next base for the group in the South west. We may also break to take a walk in the treetops of some of the tallest trees on earth. The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk gives you a bird's eye view of ancient red tingles (Eucalyptus jacksonii) - trees which occur nowhere else in the world and whose origins trace back to Gondwana in the bushland of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. Pemberton is known for the tall karri trees of Gloucester National Park, including the Gloucester Tree which we do visit. In the old growth Karri forests around Pemberton, over 30 different orchid species can be found, as well as several species of wattle, clematis and vines. This area forms part of the Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia's great walk, which passes through a variety of ecosystems and landscapes on the way from Perth to Albany.
Cape Leeuwin & Margaret river
After Pemberton we travel across to spend a night in the Margaret river region. On our way we detour to stop at Cape Leeuwin which is the most south-westerly mainland point of the Australian continent. Margaret river is famous for its wines and there will be time to learn about wines of Margaret river region. From Margaret river we travel along the coast North towards Perth city and stop several times around Busselton to seek out and observe wildflower species of the Margaret river region. The 2000 hectare Ludlow tuart forest national park is the largest remaining area of pure tuart forest in the world. Here the Orchid features prominently in the wildflower species list in the park including the Cape spider orchid.
The Ambergate reserve contains at least 326 species of native. A four-kilometre walk trail provides access through all parts of the reserve where you’ll see orchid, such as Blue lady, rare Verticordia and great Christmas tree displays. The group will also stop at The Whicher Range which has an amazing collection of small and colourful spring wildflowers to see just inside the bush line. We then continue on to arrive in Perth late afternoon.
Kings park Perth.
For our final day of this of we spend the morning in Perth at the Kings Bushland . This is style. It showcases 1,700 unique native species and a dazzling display of wildflowers in spring, celebrated with the annual Kings Festival in September. Two thirds of Kings are protected as managed bushland and provides an important haven for visitors and native biodiversity. There are a series of walking tracks and designated pedestrian/cycle paths through the Kings bushland that allow visitors the chance to appreciate Kings 's unique , fauna and fungi. It is a great asset to be able to display each year. As these are curated and displayed in the .
In the afternoon you have time at your leisure to explore Perth. This small group wildflower tour of Western Australia will come together again for a farewell dinner in the evening.
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Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Western Australia: