I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 14th 2014
Celebrate Our State's Unique Floral Heritage
Isolated from the rest of the continent by vast and harsh desert country, the flora and fauna of Western Australia has evolved to be quite distinct from that found anywhere else in the world. This is particularly apparent with the exquisite wildflowers that dramatically manifest around the state at the end of each winter and early spring in a burst of vivid colour, disappearing just as suddenly once the hot weather of summer begins to encroach.
Every year throughout Western Australia many events are held to celebrate the arrival of the wildflower season, and encourage visitors to venture out and see them in their natural environment. Although the Kings Park Festival, held every September, is the largest of these, equally pleasing are the smaller events in regional areas, with many towns putting on special festivals and shows that highlight the various species found in their areas, some which are very rare and specific to just that place.
The following pages highlight some of the events that will be held around Western Australia in 2014. If you can't make it to any of these festivals, a drive into the Swan Valley, Perth Hills or anywhere in the nearby countryside will also be a rewarding experience, revealing some of our floral treasures.
Kings Park Festival - September 1 - 29
Western Australia's flagship wildflower event, the Kings Park Festival is a celebration of springtime, with loads of exciting things to see and do throughout the month of September. While the highlight of the festival is the spectacular display of beautiful wildflowers, other attractions include guided walks, art exhibitions, music concerts, theatrical performances, a native plant sale and the Fantastic Faraway Festival, a delightful one-day event just for the children. To find out more, take a look at this article.
Dalwallinu 20th Annual Wattle Week Festival - September 7 - 13 One of the most popular wildflower events on the Wheatbelt, the Dalwallinu Wattle Week Festival has now been running for 20 years, and this year's festival is promising to be a wonderful few days of interesting things to see and do, along with some great country hospitality. The area around Dalwallinu is considered to be one of Australia's most botanically rich locales and 185 species of acacias (wattles) are found within a 100 kilometre radius of the town - a fact that is reflected in the name of the festival. However, many other beautiful wildflowers can also be seen in the region, and the festival is an opportunity to celebrate them all.
Dalwallinu Wattle Week Festival features a variety of activities including wildflower tours, self-drive tours around local places of interest, community arts and crafts, guided tours of local museums and a bush breakfast. To find out more, check out the Shire of Dalwallinu website or give them a call on 08 9661 0500.
Esperance Wildflower Festival- September 9 - 13 Held at the Anglican Parish Centre at the corner of Andrew and Windich Streets, from 9.00am until 4.30pm, the Esperance Wildflower Festival will feature a beautiful display of identified wildflowers, as well as a photography exhibition, student art exhibition, and works by guest artist Naomi Stanitzki. There will also be light refreshments, lunches, market stalls and entertainment by local music groups. If you're wanting to see wildflowers in their natural environment, there will also be a guided walk along the coastal trail, leaving at 10.30am from the Anglican Parish Centre on Sunday, September 14.
Entry is by gold coin donation. To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show and Spring Festival - September 10 - 21 Another wonderful wildflower event in Western Australia's deep south is the annual Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show and Spring Festival, which is held at Ravensthorpe Senior Citizen's Centre on Morgan Street. With loads of interesting activities and functions, this wildflower show is truly special and well worth the drive down from Perth. With many beautiful and remote national parks located close by, the area around Ravensthorpe is considered to be one of the world's richest biodiversity regions. Reflecting this rich botanical heritage, the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show is often considered to be one of the best wildflower events in the state, with literally thousands of named species on display.
Next door to the wildflower show, the Ravensthorpe Herbarium also holds many of the unique botanical species that are endemic to the area, and over the festival experts will be on hand to answer any queries you may have.
Other events connected with the wildflower show include tag-along four-wheel drive tours (and one for two-wheel drive vehicles), a market day, art exhibition, guided walk, vintage car display and gala dinner featuring special guest speaker, ABC presenter Sabrina Hahn. Most of these extra events take place on Saturday, September 20, but check the event's website to confirm specific dates and times.
Entry to the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show are $4.00 for adults, while children are free of charge. To find out more about the show, as well as contact details, take a look at the Ravensthorpe Spring Festival website.
Chittering Wildflower Festival (21st birthday) - September 11 - 14
The Chittering Valley is just an hour's drive from Perth and therefore its annual wildflower festival is one of Western Australia's most popular. Taking place at several venues around Bindoon, the main wildflower exhibition is at the Bindoon Town Hall and includes a beautiful stage display of massed flowers as well as hundreds of individual named specimen. There are also wildflowers, wildflower seeds, books, local produce, and maps for walking and self-drive tours, available for purchase. If you'd prefer to be escorted to all the best viewing spots, guided tours are also available. Adding a bit of extra interest, there will also be wildlife carers with joeys at the festival, a guest artist and face-painting for the children. Morning and afternoon tea will be available. The wildflower exhibition will take place from Thursday 11th September until Sunday 14th September, from 10am until 4pm. Adult entry is $5.00, concession is $3.00 and children are free. Groups are welcome.
As well as the wildflower exhibition, there is a lot more to see and do around Bindoon over the festival. There will be a Quilts in Spring exhibition at the Brockman Centre, an art exhibition at the Chinkabee Centre, a Vintage Vehicle Day at Bindoon Oval on Sunday, the local op shop will be open for extended hours and the Chittering Farmers Market is open on Saturday and Sunday. To find out more and for contact details, check out this website.
Hidden Treasures - Great Southern Bloom Festival - September - October
The Hidden Treasures - Great Southern Bloom Festival was established around ten years ago by a dedicated group of locals from the shires of Broomehill / Tambellup, Cranbrook, Gnowangerup, Jerramungup, Katanning, Kent, Kojonup and Woodanilling, with the goal of celebrating and promoting the beautiful wildflowers that are endemic to the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
A wide variety of activities will be held throughout these shires during the festival including wildflower tours (both guided and self-drive), wildflower walks, visits to local nature reserves, open garden tours, gardening workshops, sustainable house open days, art exhibitions, bird-watching walks and much more. Other highlights will include the Bloomin' Biosphere Garden at Jerramungup, flower arranging workshops conducted at Gnowangerup on October 3 and the exquisite flower displays at the Tambellup Agricultural Show on October 12.
Western Australia's Great Southern region is renowned for its biodiversity and this wonderful festival is an opportunity to appreciate why this beautiful and geographically isolated region is so special. Spanning the September - October school holidays, why not make this festival an integral part of a family camping trip 'down south'?
Ongerup 36th Annual Wildflower Festival - September 15 - October 5
Situated in the Great Southern region, about 410 kilometres south-east of Perth, Ongerup is a small Wheatbelt town with a great floral heritage. This year's Ongerup Wildflower Festival is the 36th held in the town, and as usual will take place at the Ongerup and Needilup Museum on Eldridge Street. Spanning three weeks from September 15th until October 5th, the wildflower exhibition will be open from 9.00am until 4.00pm daily, displaying almost 400 species of wildflowers found within a 25 kilometre radius of the town. Entry to the wildflower display also includes admission to the museum, as well as an exhibition of beautiful artwork by the children from the small local primary school. For more information, call Jenny on 9828 2180 or Vicky on 0428 282 282.
Busselton Uniting Church Wildflower Exhibition- September 18 - 19
The Busselton Uniting Church at 47 Kent Street in Busselton is the regular venue for the town's annual wildflower exhibition, and 2014 will be its 88th anniversary. As well as displaying an impressive array of beautiful wildflowers (both individual named specimen and massed displays), this year there will be a woodturning exhibition, photographs and the Geographe Community Nursery. There will also be various other market stalls, along with light refreshments. The forests and coastal heaths of Western Australia's south-west are renowned for their rich botanical heritage, and this beautiful exhibition is the perfect opportunity to see and smell a huge variety of species, all in one place.
The Busselton Uniting Church Wildflower Exhibition will be open over two days, Thursday September 18 (9.00am - 8.00pm) and Friday September 19 (9.00am - 5.00pm). Admission is $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for pensioners. To find out more, call Linda on 08 9752 3304 or email email@example.com.
The Albany Branch of the Wildflower Society of WA - Wildflower Exhibition- September 24 - 27
Surrounded by spectacular national parks and some of Australia's best beaches, there is so much to see and do in Albany, and therefore it's only natural that the city hosts one of Western Australia's best wildflower events.
From Wednesday September 24th until Saturday September 27th, the Albany Wildflower Society will hold the city's annual wildflower exhibition at St. John's Hall on York Street, from 9am until around 4pm. A wildflower-lover's paradise, the exhibition will feature hundreds of named specimen, a spectacular display of orchids endemic to the region and vases of lovely home-grown flowers grown both in Albany and neighbouring districts.
Admission will be $4.00 for adults and free for children, and if you have any queries, local botanical experts will be around to enlighten you. Light refreshments will also be available. For more information, contact Albany Visitors Centre on 08 9841 9290.
Kojanup Wildflower and Bloom Festival- September 26 - October 1
Part of the Great Southern Bloom Festival, Kojanup Spring Wildflower Bloom Festival is held annually at Kojanup Visitors Centre, and features a breathtaking display of beautiful wildflowers that are found in the local area. You can also collect maps and guides for self-drive wildflower tours and walking trails. Entry is by gold coin donation and this includes refreshments and a gift pack.
Kojonup Visitor Centre is located at the Kodja Place, 143 Albany Highway. For more information go to the Kodja Place website, call the centre on 9831 0500 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collie Wildflower Show- October 3 - 5
The Collie Wildflower Show takes place annually at the Collie Visitors Centre, and provides a snapshot of the beautiful floral species that are endemic to the area. Extending over three days, visitors can examine the display from 9.00am until 4.30pm, free of charge. During your visit perhaps collect some maps of the local walking trails, and see if you can also find any of the wildflowers displayed in their natural environment.
Collie Visitors Centre is situated at 156 Throssell Street. To find out more, call Fran on 08 9734 2051 or email email@example.com.