Spring has sprung and, in my opinion, the best way to celebrate the first day of Spring, was to take a walk on the wild side and discover what wildflowers we have on offer, on the Sunshine Coast. I'm sure most of my regular readers would have realised that for the past two weeks the Sunshine Coast Wildflower Festival (proudly supported by the Sunshine Coast Council) has been running, offering free guided walks between Noosa and Bribie Island.
The colourful floristic displays of natural wildflowers are only available during the months of July, August and September every year, allowing walkers to explore the biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast native wildflowers, in their natural habitat. You might remember we ventured out a couple of weeks ago to explore Emu Mountain for the first signs of Spring wildflowers.
The Coolum Beach West Wildflower Walk was on my radar and I followed my article instructions to a 't' and emailed Mark from the Coolum and North Shore Coast Care and Coolum Residents Association, to ensure my adventurous other and I didn't miss out. Mark was to be our expert guide on a casual walk through the wallum wildflowers, in the southern region of the Noosa National Park.
Start the Coolum Beach west wildflower walk at Coolum State School
We met up with the other budding botanists at Coolum State School, offering plenty of vacant, weekend parking. An added bonus is that the last Sunday of every month the Sunshine Coast Collective Markets are held at the Coolum State School oval, so one could theoretically walk the walk, and then have an excuse to do some shopping too, or vice-versa.
Tiny and delicate Wallum Mirbelia - so tiny, walkers can mistakenly tread on them
The Coolum Beach West Wildflower Walk commences at the Coolum State School in School Road. Walkers travel alongside the creek or man-made canal, on a single track north-west into wallum country. Wallum is an Australian ecosystem found in coastal south-east Queensland, characterised by flora-rich shrubland and heathland on deep, nutrient-poor, acidic, sandy soils and regular wildfire - thanks to Wikipedia for this very informative description.
Spectacular wildflower displays bring wallum vegetation to life throughout the year, but particularly in Spring. Walkers can get to appreciate a kaleidoscope of floral shades and colours, with everything from white to purple to yellow, creating a spectacular wildflower mosaic.
Walkers can set their own pace with this casual walk, which is perfect for stopping to watch a little Black Drongo alighting gracefully in a tree, or catching a white Heron sunning itself on the embankment in the canal. Walkers need to use light-footed treading in most locations along this walk, to safeguard against trampling the minuscule floral vegetation underfoot. In many instances, without the vigilance of the guide, we would have totally 'walked over' the dainty little floral displays. Talk about 'bulls in a china shop'!
Keep a look out for eye-catching butterflies, which are aplenty on the Sunshine Coast this time of year - darting this way and that, with an enviable display of striking colours in the morning sun.
The Coolum Beach West Wildflower Walk is an easy walk that shouldn't take walkers more than an hour and a half, with ample photo opportunities in-between. The main thing is to plan ahead before tackling a walk on the wild side and to adhere to certain rules within these nature reserves:-
There are more than forty identified flowers within this region of the Noosa National Park and as much as I would love to share them all with you, I think your own personal venture to do a self-guided walk along the Coolum Beach West Wildflower trail, would open up a whole new unexpected world of colour and foliage - a spectacular kaleidoscope of natural beauty.
And, definitely, much more fun to discover yourself.
Thanks to Mark, our guide, for sharing his very impressive knowledge base on local wildflowers - my adventurous other and I enjoyed ourselves immensely and are surely, a little bit wiser on local botany. My apologies if I have misidentified any of my flower photos.