When we reached the flat topped summit of Mount Lesueur we found ourselves walking through a vast stand of prickly Parrot Bush – Dryandra sessilis – also known by its indigenous name Boojak. Their creamy yellow flowers nestling in prickly cups, it was easy to see how this plant is a sanctuary for small birds.
The woodlands and heathlands – known as Kwongan by the Aboriginal people – of the 26,987 hectare Mount Lesueur National Park is one of the most important reserves for flora conservation in Western Australia.
This biodiversity hotspot supports over 900 plant species including 11 species endemic to the region. There are also 122 bird species, and 52 reptiles. Animal life includes the threatened Dibbler, a small carnivorous marsupial.
Western Australia boasts eight of Australia’s fifteen biodiversity hotspots, stretching along the coast from the Kimberley in the north to Ravensthorpe on the south coast.
We visited Lesueur in early September, a prime time to visit Western Australia to see its wildflowers. Boasting up to 12,000 known species, the main wildflower season starts in July in the north, till November in the south, although you can generally find something flowering any time of year. Each region has unique wildflower species due to environmental differences such as soil type, fauna, plant systems, geography and weather.
5,700 known plant species exist in the south-west of the State. Separated from the rest of Australia by desert and semi-desert, many endemic plant species are found only here.
We have travelled over much of the state, and below are some of my favourite wildflower areas within an easy drive from Perth. Please allow yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy.
Lesueur National Park – Jurien Bay
250 kilometres north of Perth, there is no camping at Lesueur but you can stay at the coastal town of Jurien Bay 32 kilometres away, or bush camp at Sandy Cape just north of Jurien. Fees apply.
A 18.5 kilometre circular one way bitumen road takes you around the Park with regular lay-bys where you can stop to enjoy the surrounds, with car parks at the Wilson Lookout Day use area, and the Cockleshell Gully picnic area.
At Wilson Lookout there are three walk trails which can be combined for a longer walk. A 400metre wheelchair friendly sealed path has plant identification signage. The 2.5 kilometre Gardner circuit trail and four kilometre Lesueur return trail takes you through Wandoo and Banksia woodland. From the 313 metre summit of Mt Lesueur you can enjoy 360 degree views inland and to the coast. A recently opened 7.1 kilometre Yued Ponar loop trail to Mount Peron starts at Cockleshell Gully.
Make sure you clean your boots at the boot cleaning stations to prevent the spread of Dieback which is a serious threat to flora.