Margaret River is famous for it’s flora and wildflowers. During Spring, from September to November, the region comes alive with over 2,500 different species of wildflowers, including 150 native orchids. In the South-West, there is such a huge variety of different plant species that it’s been named one of only 35 biodiversity hotspots on the planet! The Margaret River wildflower season begins at the northern end of the capes near Busselton and moves south towards Augusta as spring progresses. With this in mind, we’ve listed these wildflower hot spots following the coastline from North to South to help you plan.
If you’re looking for accommodation while visiting Margaret River flora, don’t forget to check here.
Ludlow Tuart Forest, Busselton
The 2000 hectare Ludlow Tuart Forest national park is the largest remaining area of pure tuart forest in the world. A number of beautiful scenic drives provide outstanding views of spectacular grey-trunked tuart trees. Orchids feature prominently in the flora list in springtime. A short interpretive walk site has been developed off Higgins Road in the Shire of Capel.
See: Tuart Trees, Yellow Flowering Hibbertia, Hardenbergia, Cape Spider Orchid.
Get there: Easy access via Tuart Drive off Bussell Highway.
Ambergate Reserve, Busselton
This stunning reserve contains at least 326 species of native flowering plants. A four kilometre walk trail provides access through all parts of the reserve where you’ll see orchids, rare Verticordia and great Christmas tree displays in December. The reserve has a small interpretive shelter with information on the reserve and where brochures of the walk trail can be found.
See: Spider, Donkey, Enamel, Jug, Rattle Beak, Pink Fairy, White Bunny, Hare, Flying Duck and Blue Lady Orchids, Verticordias, Swan River Myrtle, Trigger Plants, Coral Vine, Grass Trees.
Get there: Travel west along Busselton Bypass and turn left onto Queen Elizabeth Avenue. Continue to the carpark on the corner of Doyle Road, some 7km south of the Bypass.
Whicher Range, Busselton
Two things are certain: if you don’t visit the Whicher Range, you’ll never find the best wildflowers; and, if you don’t park and walk through the bush on the side of the road, you’ll likely to miss the thousands of colorful but small flowering plants that characterize this special part of Busselton.
Get there: The Vasse Highway and Sues Road offer the quickest and easiest access to this biodiverse area but many minor roads will also provide access to different parts of the Whicher Range.
Captain Baudin Reserve, Busselton
Squeezed between the ocean and the Vasse Estuary, this is a good spot for coastal wildflowers and seeing waterbirds on the Vasse Estuary wetlands, listed as ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ by the Ramsar Convention! More than 30,000 birds of 80 species have been recorded within the Vasse and Wonnerup Estuaries in springtime, many of them rare.
See: Caladenia Procera (Carbunup King Spider Orchid), Rattle Beak, Enamel, Coastal, Flying Duck, King-In-His-Carriage, Donkey and Jug Orchids. Kangaroo Paws, Hibbertia (Buttercups), Blue Grass Lily.
Get there: Travel towards central Busselton off Bussell Highway via Causeway Road. Turn right onto Peel Terrace and onto Layman Road. Access is off Layman Road in the Wonnerup area on the east side of Port Geographe.
Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
The Cape Naturaliste area comes alive with carpets of coastal wildflowers during Spring. This easy to follow walk trails around the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and provides spectacular viewing of wildflowers and coastal scenery including seals and whales in season. The Cape to Cape Track begins at the Lighthouse, and includes a wheelchair accessible track down to Sugarloaf Rock.
See: Dunsborough and Spider Orchid, Naturaliste Nancy, One-Sided Bottle Brush.
Get there: Take the beautiful drive along Cape Naturaliste Road from Dunsborough. 10-15 minutes brings you to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, where car parking is available.
Margaret River Walk Trails
A visit to Margaret River wouldn’t be complete without exploring the township’s easily accessible, pleasant walk trails. The trails here are rich in history, and include the Margaret River Heritage Trails, Rails to Trails and the Carters Road Walk Trails. Don’t forget the longer walk from Rotary Park to Ten Mile Brook Dam.
See: Hovea, Hibbertia, Wattle, Yellow Peas, Flying Duck Orchid, King-In-His Carriage and Rattle Beaks.
Get there: Walk trails begin within a short walk or drive from the centre of Margaret River.
Boranup Forest, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Journey through the majestic Boranup Karri Forest to see the slender, pale-barked beauties towering above your head, and wildflowers around your feet. We recommend taking the scenic detour via Boranup Drive (unsealed). While here, take time to explore the caves which lie beneath the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge.
See: Deep Blue Karri Hovea, Trailing Clematis, Yellow Cone Bush and Patersonia, Forest Mantis, Cowslip, Common Donkey and Pink Fairy Orchids.
Get there: From Margaret River, travel south on Caves Road, which provides easy access to the forest.
Big Rock Reserve, Dunsborough
Beautiful views over Dunsborough, Busselton and the Indian Ocean will reward you for climbing to the top of Big Rock. Located on the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, the Reserve represents a rich diversity of vegetation, with rocky valleys and sandy rises. The steep slopes have also allowed the formation of two main streams flowing through the Reserve.
See: Chapman’s Spider Orchid, Cowslip Orchid, Common Donkey Orchid, Purple Enamel Orchid, Forest Mantis.
Get there: Take Caves Road to Dunsborough and then to Quedjinup. Turn left onto Yungurra Drive, then right onto Jones Road and right onto Big Rock Place.
Meelup Regional Park, Dunsborough
Meelup Regional Park covers an impressive 11.5 kilometres of coastline from Dunsborough to Bunker Bay. The coastline here faces north east, which means that it is sheltered enough for tall trees and dense vegetation to grow down to the water’s edge. The park encompasses whale watching lookouts and some of the best beaches in Western Australia.
See: Several varieties of Spider, Mustard, Jug, Donkey and possibly the rare Dunsborough Orchid. Pea Bushes, Acacias (Wattles), Hakeas, Hibertia (Buttercup).
Get there: Take Cape Naturaliste Road from the centre of Dunsborough, and turn right down Meelup Beach Road after around 5 minutes. Turn right at Meelup Beach where car parking is available. Walk on coastal track east towards Castle Rock, or west to Eagle Bay.