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During the months of August through to November the Esperance wildflower season comes into full bloom; making it a ‘blooming marvellous’ time to visit.  The South Coast is well known for its incredibly rich and unique biodiversity, which includes native orchids, banksias, grevilleas and many other species. Wildflowers reward the adventurous. The best way to see the region’s diverse flora is to park your car and explore on foot. Why not combine some wildflower spotting with one of our many trail walks? See below for information on some of our favourites wildflower hot spots.

Wildflower Hot Spots

Helms Arboretum

Coolgarlie Esperance Hwy, 17km north of Esperance 

This huge reserve is a botanist’s dream. Divided into two parts, a pine plantation and the arboretum, it was originally established in the 1970's with the intention of working out which types of trees and plants would grow in the region. With the bush pockets accessible by gravel road, it's perfect for cruising in your car. However, by parking your vehicle near the picnic area and either walking or riding your bike, you get a much more immersive experience. There are ample opportunities to indulge in photography and bird observing, and it's a brilliant place for a picnic lunch or afternoon tea. Helm’s Arboretum is home to eucalyptus, melaleucas, casuarinas, acacias, and many exotic pines. During spring you’ll find spider orchids, cowslips, and leschenaultia, enamel and donkey orchids, plus banksia. Red flowering gums in summer, silver princess late winter, and the glorious royal hakea is on show all year round.  

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Rotary Lookout 

Lot 251 Doust St (off Twilght Beach Rd)

Head to Rotary Lookout for 360 degree panoramic views over the town and out to sea. Go for wander on the walk trails to spot several species of flowering Eucalypts, Dryandras, Banksias, twining Clematis, Australian Bluebells, Fringe Lilies in early summer, Pimelea, Agonis, and Hakea.

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Mount Ridley 

Dempster Road (off Fisheries Road), 71km north of Esperance

Also known by its Nyungar name, Marbeleerup, Mt Ridley is a large granite outcrop which rises 300 meters above sea level. Climbing the summit provides great views over the surrounding bushland. The area plays host to its own Wave Rock too, a 6-7 meter curved cliff. Out at Mt Ridley you’ll find casurinas, jam wattles, Dundas mahogany, cypress pines, quandongs, and pincushion hakeas, as well as a variety of birds and small wildlife. At the base of the rock there are some shaded picnic areas, making it a great place for eating a packed lunch. You don’t need a 4WD vehicle to get out to Mt Ridley, however if there’s been lots of rain, or you’re going in winter, it might be a good idea as the road can often be unpassable.

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Duke of Orleans Bay

Duke Road, Orleans Bay, 85km east of Esperance

Affectionately referred to as ‘The Duke’ by locals, Orleans Bay is nestled on a peninsula and is a favourite for camping, swimming, fishing and surfing. Plan your visit between October and December, and you’ll see The Duke at its most colourful, with a dazzling variety of wildflower blooms in the bush and over the sand dunes. 

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Woody Lake Nature Reserve

Windabout Way (Off Fisheries Rd), 7 kms north east of town

Home to over 20,000 waterbirds, mostly from November to April, you'll also find here bandicoots, possums and banjo frogs. Go for a wander along the Kepwari Walk Trail which winds through fringing sedgelands, heathlands and paperbarks to discover wildflowers all along the path edges in springtime which become lined with spider orchids, cowlips, banksias, wattle and kangaroo paws. 

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Cape Le Grand National Park 

Cape Le Grand Rd, Cape Le Grand, 50kms south east of Esperance

Cape Le Grand National Park may be better known as the home of the most pristine beaches in Australia; however it’s also worth a visit if you’re flora and fauna enthusiast. The park's rolling heathlands are home to pygmy possums, western grey kangaroos and an abundance of colourful wildflowers including dense thickets of showy banksia, native grass trees, kangaroo paws and the celebrated Western Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda – which belongs to the Australian mistletoe family Loranthaceae). During the months of August and October the land bursts into sporadic sprays of seasonal colour, and a bushwalk along one of the many trails so you can get up close to them, is a must. 

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Stokes National Park 

South Coast Hwy (off Farrells Rd), 80 west of Esperance

Stokes National Park protects the wildlife habitats of Stokes Inlet and the surrounding heathland and lake systems. Yate, swamp yate, melaleucas, and paperbark trees form dense low forests, supporting a variety of waterbirds. At different times of the year, the bushwalk trails out at Stokes Inlet provides opportunities to get up close and personal to colourful flora; and in autumn you’re sure to the magnificent yellow flowers of the bell-fruited Mallee (Eucalyptus preissiana).

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Cape Arid National Park (see Trails & Walkways)

Thomas River Rd (off Merivale Rd), 130km east of Esperance

Cape Arid National Park is a wildly beautiful and biodiverse area. Coastal sandheaths, mallee and low granite hills extend inland to Mount Ragged after which the vegetation is transformed into woodlands dominated by saltbush and bluebush. This near-pristine wilderness is an important conservation area for 1100 species of plants and more than 160 bird species, several of which are threatened or endangered. The best way to experience the park’s diverse wildlife and magnificent scenery is on a walk, details which can be read here. 

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Peak Charles National Park 

Esperance Coolgardie Hwy, 174km north west of Esperance

Located just over 170 km north west of Esperance, Peak Charles National Park sits inland within the Great Western Woodlands, an internationally significant area renowned for its biological richness. Peak Charles, and its companion, Peak Eleanora, is comprised of many unusual rock formations, providing sweeping views over the dry sandplain heaths and salt lake systems of the surrounding countryside. Numerous birds live on and around the peaks; and the thickets, woodlands and flowering scrub provides an opportunity to see more than 30 species of orchid during wildflower season. 

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Wildflower Festivals

If you're a wildflower fan you mustn't miss the annual Esperance Wildflower Festival and Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show & Spring Festival. Held each September, the Esperance event showcases more than 500 local species and includes a photographic exhibition. Over the last 35 years the Ravensthorpe event has developed into one of the best wildflower shows in Western Australia. The Ravensthorpe area, in particular, the nearby Fitzgerald River National Park, is blessed with having possibly the greatest number of different wildflower species in one of the world's most biodiverse regions. 

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Hot Spot Sightseeing Tips 

When searching for wildflowers, it may be a good idea to wear insect repellent as where there’s a large array of flowers, there’s sure to be insects nestled between them. Also, we recommend you wear sunscreen, a hat and long-sleeved clothing. And remember, wildflowers are protected. Please resist the urge to pick them. You actually need a permit to do so. Any unlawful taking of wildflowers from a national park or reserve can result in heavy fines by local rangers. Please, take only pictures and leave only footprints.