I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published November 12th 2014
A picnic & a walk amongst wildflowers
Harvey is an area mostly famous for its farming products such as dairy, beef, or oranges. There is one spot in Harvey, however, that's not related to farming and yet quite special, even though it has what I thought was a rather generic name of Wildflower Picnic Site. As it turns out, the name is highly suitable as it does reflect the abundance of wildflower in this site.
Widlflowers of various hues at this site.
To get there, as you travel down South Western Highway from Perth towards Harvey, turn left into Honeymoon Road about two kilometres before you reach the Harvey Visitor Centre. The road is unsealed but suitable for 2WD cars. The picnic site would be on the right hand side off Honeymoon Road, about two kilometres in from the highway. There's a sign but it's not clearly visible from the road, so keep your eyes peeled when you think you're almost there.
The picnic site itself is a very short walk down the path from the carpark. And when I say 'picnic site,' please don't imagine a city-type park with toilets, well-tended lawns, a gazebo or two, and a huge carpark nicely lined with white paints. No, this place doesn't have any of those. Instead, it has a small carpark where you just have to do the reasonable thing and not hog too much space, some old picnic tables, and wood barbecues (bring your own firewood). That's it as far as facilities is concerned.
The main attraction here is the 1.4 kilometres bush walk that goes around in a loop from the picnic site, down to a knoll where you can see the glittering water of Harvey dam, and back up the hill into the woods before going in a circle back to the carpark.
The path is clearly marked with blue/ white markers (pictured right), and none of the inclines are steep, so our kids' together with their sprightly 80 years old grandmother can still do it fine.
The kids and their grandma, with Harvey Dam in the background.
Along the way right from the picnic site until we're back at the carpark, there's an abundance of flowering bushes in various vibrant colours: yellow, white, pink, purple, blue, orange, red, etc. They're mostly small and my camera doesn't really do justice to the exquisiteness of each mini bloom that dotted the landscape. It reminds me of the one time I visited the world-famous Lesueur National Park. As far as I'm concerned, Lesueur might have rarer flowers and is a mecca for wildflower lovers, but this spot is far more reachable in terms of distance and ease of travel from Perth, so hands down I'll visit this spot more often than Lesueur. So what if the heart-leaf flame pea flowers which are in abundance here are considered common and not at risk in the wild. It's still beautiful, vibrant, and definitely deserving of a few minutes squatting down to admire their minute details.
Walk the path amidst flowering bushes.
As there's a lack of toilet on site, you might want to consider detouring to the Harvey Visitor Centre 4 kilometres away to use their bathroom facilities. It's open daily with various interesting features such as the May Gibbs Display (of Snugglepot, Cuddlepie, and their friends), the 'Moo Shoppe,' the Stirling Cottage Cafe (where May Gibbs lived in 1885 and 1886), a beautiful gardens with a small orange orchard at the back, and the Harvey River flowing right next to it. With such beautiful settings, it's actually a destination in itself and you really don't need the 'toilet-stop' excuse to visit the Visitor Centre precinct at anytime.
May Gibbs Display
In fact, I've always found it too easy to fill up a family day trip to Harvey: the town itself, the Visitor Centre precinct, the Harvey Dam, the Orchards, and when in season we always include the Wildflower Picnic Site to our itinerary. To find out more and plan your own day trip to Harvey and its surrounds, visit their website.