With wildflowers blooming, waterways flowing and mostly cool and sunny weather, spring is the best time of the year for a day trip from Perth. There are plenty of historic town and fields of flowers to enjoy from the car, or mix is up with some of the many walking trails where you enjoy an abundance of native forests, waterways, birdlife, kangaroos and other weird and wacky Australia marsupials.
Most of the parks are equipped with BBQ and picnic facilities. If you want to get the kids excited, turn your day trip into a game of who can spot the most varieties of wildlife and wildflowers. Take an hour to research and make an image library of the top 20 varieties to spot on your journey and to spice it up, tell them they need to take a photo on their phones as proof. Try it – your only problem might be getting then to come home!
Wildflower season starts north of Perth in late August and extends through to November in the cooler climates down south.
Just one hour’s drive East of Perth, York was first settled in 1831, just two years after Perth was founded. Full of heritage building and histroric sites, York is the oldest inland town in Western Australia and a lovely destination during the cooler months. In late August and September, York is surrounded by bountiful yellow canola fields and if you travel a little further north you will find some of the most stunning wildflower trails in WA.
Oswald Sargent Nature Reserve
To find the reserve drive 5 kilometres west of York and then go along Fairways Drive through York Golf Club. Wildflowers blooming at this time of year include glory peas, white milkmaids and cowslip orchids. The reserve also features mallee gum, powder bark and marri trees. Look out for frog greenhoods, also known as Pterostylis Sargentii which are named after Oswald Sargent, a pharmacist who collected the wildflower.
With plenty of views of the rolling landscape, the track located within the reserve stretches five kilometres. Along the trail you can spot sundews, mirbelias and violet hovea. Walkers need to be aware that there is no signage and at times the track isn’t clearly marked, so it’s recommended to follow the route mapped out by WalkGPS creator Dave Osborne.
100km east of Perth, Northam is surrounded by wildflower hotspots including Clackline, Meenar and Woondowing Nature Reserve, where you can find kangaroo paw, blue leschenaultia and sundews.
Before returning to Perth, stop into town to walk along the suspension bridge and get a look at the white swans in the river. Mount Ommaney provides a bird’s eye view of the patchwork of wildflowers spread across the whole town. If you’re looking for a meal, check out the newly refurbished hotel, The Grand, the passion project of locals Esther and Ken. It’s anything but ordinary with old-world antiques, trumpets on the walls and a stripped-out carriage as seats.
Clackline Nature Reserve
Clackline features the rare Leafless Rock Wattle wildflower, which is identifiable by its flower. For an easy 4.7km walk, take the flora Clackline track, which passes by the Avon River and the Old Brick Factory.
Woondowing Nature Reserve
Covering more than 3000 hectares, there are plenty of wildflowers to see at Woondowing including purple dampiera, fringed lilies and kangaroo paw. To get there, pass through Bakers Hill onto Sims Road where you’ll see the reserve on your right.
The Kep Track
Look for wildflowers along the Kep Track that follows the Golden Pipeline Drive Trail. With many access points, the walk near Northam will only take two hours. This trail is multi-use so if you’re walking, keep an eye out for horses and cyclists.
3. Whiteman Park
One of the easiest wildflower day trips is Whiteman Park, just 30 minutes from the CBD. The park has more than 400 wildflower species including pink fairy and donkey orchids interspersed among Swan River myrtle. To help you identify different wildflowers, pick up a copy of the Wildflowers Booklet from the Visitor’s Centre, which is open from 10 am to 3 pm every day.
Whiteman Park is the place to go for nature lovers with over 100 bird species, 34 reptile species and nine amphibians surrounded by banksia woodlands. Located within the park is Caversham Wildlife Park, where you can hand-feed kangaroos and cuddle with a koala. You can also take a ride on a heritage electric tram or stay longer and explore the park by torchlight where you can observe nocturnal fauna in their natural environment.
Located on the doorstep of the Swan Valley means you’re only a 20 minute drive from more than 30 wineries with cellar doors open on most days. If you’d prefer to stay in the park you can set up a picnic and bring a one-dollar coin to use the barbecues.
The Goo Loorto Trail
Commencing at the Mussel Pool picnic area, Goo Loorto is an easy three kilometre walk that follows Bennett Brook, which is flowing at this time, where it will take you through partially cleared cattle-grazing farmland. Goo Lorto in Noongar means “a species of eucalyptus” in reference to the flooded gums and other eucalyptus trees that border this walk. During the spring, you can spot golden wreath wattles in the groves and hear a chorus of frogs singing.
The Werillyiup Trail
The shortest walk at the Whiteman Park laps around Horse Swamp, giving you the opportunity to spot kangaroos and plenty of waterbirds. Enter at carpark 23 near the dog park in Mussel Pool. Meaning “Swampy Place” in Noongar, it’s important to wear appropriate footwear as the soil can be waterlogged in spring. A bird hide is located near the start of the trail, providing the opportunity to observe the wetland birds including red-legged stilts and coots. To gain an aerial perspective of the swamp there is a lookout located halfway through the walk.
The Wunanga Trail
While this is the longest trail at 4.3 kilometres, walkers can shorten the walk due to the figure-eight design. The trail starts adjacent to the Village Junction Railway Station, near car park 2. In spring, look for holly-leaved banksias and orchid colonies, which are in bloom. If you walk at dusk, you might catch a glimpse of kangaroos grazing at Kangaroo Flats Station near the end of the walk.
4. Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
A 30-minute drive from Perth in Gosnells, Ellis Brook Valley Reserve is a great place to enjoy lunch, with plenty of gas barbeques and stunning picnic spots available. Discover more than 550 varieties of wildflowers as you walk along one of four trails. You can enter the reserve from Rushton Road, but to guarantee there is parking available, we advise you arrive early. The reserve is dog friendly, although dogs must be kept on a leash. Remember to bring your own water, as there are no fountains at the reserve, and leave before the gate shuts at 7 pm.
Sixty Foot Falls Trail
Explore this 2km trail, which takes one to three hours and follows Ellis Brook. Park in the reserve’s second carpark to begin this walk. This walk takes you to the top of the Sixty Foot Falls with expansive views of the city and valley. The falls dry up as it draws closer to summer, but after the wettest July in 26 years, the falls are a sight to see. The highlight of this track is that it takes you pass Old Barrington Quarry, with its beautiful green water.
Blue Wren Ramble Trail
For an easier trek follow along Blue Wren Ramble trail, which features Mouse Ears, Karri hazel and Couch Honeypots spotted along the way. You can enter the trail at either Honeyeater Hollow or Valley Head carpark, but unless arriving early you should take the former option as the latter fills up quickly.
Eagle View Trail and Easy Walk Trail
You can still view wildflowers without having to walk too far, as both these trails are less than 500m long. Although the Eagle View Trail is shorter, it will still challenge you as it ascends to a ridge with views of the Swan Coastal Plain. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some kangaroos. The Easy Walk Trail is also suitable for wheelchairs, just make sure you keep an eye out for echidnas!
Situated on the Avon River 80km North from Perth, Toodyay is a great place for a day trip with cafes and sights to see such as the Newcastle Castle Gaol Museum and Connors Mill. In spring, the best way to enjoy the wildflowers is to explore one of the stunning walking trails.
Bilya Walk Track
Named after the Noongar word for River, the trail runs alongside the Avon River for 7.2km and takes about two hours, with seating installed for regular breaks. The trail starts at Toodyay Caravan Park and for the first part of the walk you can admire the historical buildings of the town before entering Lloyds Reserve where you will be surrounded by Sheoak and Paperbark trees.
A mix of dirt track, firebreaks, steep gullies, and gravel slopes, the 6.5km Wongamine Reserve trail is a little more challenging, but the natural surrounds make it all worthwhile. Look out for the delicate Drummond’s wattles, orchids and white cottonhead flowers. There are also plenty of species of eucalyptus trees, including the Mottlecah which has the largest Eucalypt flower in the world.
Dawn Atwell Nature Reserve
For an easier 5km walk over flat terrain, the Dawn Atwell Reserve spreads out over 85 hectares and includes Jarrah, Marri and Powderbark Wandoo trees. Named after the Toodyay Naturalists’ Club founding member, this reserve has over 100 wildflower species, including the endangered Star Sun Orchid Thelymitra stellate, and over 33 bird species. Access to the reserve is by Julimar Road.
If you prefer going for a long drive than tackling a hike, Chittering provides the opportunity to see wildflowers from the comfort of your car. The Chittering region is known for its rolling hills and paddocks, which in Spring are carpeted with wildflowers. Following Tourist Drive 359 will lead you through Chittering Valley following Brockman River. Lining the road, you’ll have easy viewing of the wildflowers. Bring some cash to take advantage of fresh produce sellers that are dotted alongside the road.
You can pick guides and maps from the Chittering Visitor Centre located in Bindoon to help you for your journey.
Djidi-Djidi Ridge Trail
Named after the Noongar word for Willy Wagtail, due to abundance of the native bird in the region. At this time of year, you’ll be able to spot golden wattle and orchids on this 1.5-kilometre track. Djidi-Djidi Ridge is suitable for all levels of walkers, but it is steep in sections as you head up to the lookout, where you can see amazing views of wildflowers blooming across the Chittering Valley.
7. John Forrest National Park
Located in Mundaring, John Forrest is one of Australia’s oldest conservation sites and most popular picnic and walking destinations. There are plenty of trails to choose from and observe over 500 species of wildflowers and 90 species of birds, including fairy wrens and wedge-tailed eagles.
For lunch, you can use the barbeques located at the picnic area or visit John Forrest Tavern, open daily, where kangaroos are often found grazing close by. You can always access the park, however the western entrance, opposite Bilgoman Pool, is locked at 4pm. The fee to enter the park starts at 15 dollars per car. All the trails are sign posted and easy to find.
Jane Brook Promenade
Only 300 metres long and suitable for prams and wheelchairs, this short trail makes it easy to enjoy the beauty of this park. Walk around Jane Brook Weir to find a tranquil seating nook.
Given its name it’s not surprising this is the best trail to enjoy the wildflowers. Stretching 4.5 kilometres and of moderate difficulty with slippery surfaces and some steep sections, you should allow around two hours to complete the walk.
Eagle View Walk Trail
At 15km and taking three to five hours, Eagle View is a stunning walk for those who have the time and fitness required. At the top of the walk, you will be treated to a sweeping view of the Perth Coastal Plains and the Perth skyline.
Located 97km south of Perth and known for its stunning camp sites and expanses of jarrah trees, during spring it’s also a great spot to see wildflowers.
Lane Poole Reserve
Located seven kilometres south of Dwellingup, Lane Poole has four trails to explore more than 500 species of wildflowers. The reserve is open all year and the cost of entry ranges from eight to 15 dollars. The Bibbulmun Track passes through the reserve with shorter trails available including King Jarrah, Island Pool and Nanga Brook trails.
Hotham Valley Tourist Railway
Especially for families with young kids, the Hotham Valley train is a great lure for young kids not otherwise excited by long walks and wildflowers. While on the train you’ll see views of the valley, at the end of the train line there is a 20-minute walk where you can see wildflowers among the Jarrah trees. The train departs daily at 10.30am and 2pm each Saturday from Dwellingup Station. The trip lasts approximately an hour and a half. Tickets should be purchased in advance to secure a seat.
Less than two hours away from Perth, go to Beverley for its hybrid and zebra orchids, which you’ll struggle to find anywhere else. You can pick up a wildflower guide from the Beverley Visitor Centre where the staff can help direct you to the best way to see the wildflowers. Entry to all reserves is free.
Brooking Street Reserve
Even though this reserve in located right in the centre of town, you won’t notice as this reserve spans 4 acres. There are different walk trails that you can follow, which will take around two hours.
Poison Hill Reserve
10km east of Beverley, you’ll find Poison Hill Reserve which features everlastings and spider orchids. You can find the park on the corner of Morbinning and Aiken Road. It’s best to visit in the morning to avoid the mosquitoes that come out in the afternoon.
Located two hours north of Perth, Goomalling is a decent road trip and stunning drive into the wheatbelt. While the tracks below are recommended, to find more information about wildflower hotspots, talk to the staff at The Goomalling Caravan Park. While you’re there check out Lot 39, where you can grab a coffee and some cake while looking at their beautiful homewares.
Mortlock River Reserve
Follow the firebreak, accessible from the Mortlock River rest stop on Goomalling-Toodyay Road, to explore and find orchids and wildflowers. You might even spot an echidna!
A walk through the reserve is enhanced with signs telling stories about indigenous history, flora and fauna and the insitu gnammas of the area. There is a picnic area at the end of the walk with a barbeque. This area is known for its orchids, including the ant, blood spider and donkey orchid varieties.