With above average rainfall in some parts of inland and southern Australia this winter it will at least have one major benefit for travellers and that is the wildflower season should be spectacular.
Australia is such a land of contrasts with vivid blue and green seas lapping at paper white sandy beaches, through to rough red dirt interiors and rugged cliffs and escarpments, not to forget lush, green, tropical rainforests and towering forests. A surprising element in all of the different landscapes are our wildflowers and native trees that burst into life come spring.
Like a lot of things in Australia, quite a few of our flowers and trees are truly unique. Their shapes, colours and sizes can be striking and eye catching and have you wondering if they are in fact real flowers at all.
If you’re lucky when you are caravanning and camping in this great land you may find yourself parked amongst them whether that is free camping or in one of the many spectacular caravan parks throughout the country.
Some of the Australian flora is so eye catching in its garish colours I’ve had to find out what the plant is, with quite a lot of plants being endemic to certain regions and therefore not commonly known unless you are from the area. Visiting botanic gardens when you’re holidaying is a great way to answer all those questions you have on “what is that plant / flower / tree?” while getting some great walking exercise too.
Western Australia is very well known for its wildflowers and I saw native plants here that I’d never seen before including the bright orange flowering ‘WA Christmas Tree’. Not only does this plant look unusual but it actually has no other relatives. It is classed in a genus by itself in the mistletoe family, but unlike mistletoe that grows on a host, this plant grows from the ground. It is still parasitic as it extracts water and nutrients from the roots of nearby plants.
Other beautiful plants I was lucky enough to see in flower were Hakeas, Banksias, Kangaroo Paw and Sturt Desert Peas. Others I never did find out what they were but just appreciated a bit of colour in the day.
Some incredible trees were on my must see list including the Giant Tingle Trees in Walpole as well as the stout Boab trees in the Kimberley region of WA. Both species were awesome to see and yes to hug and just marvel at the incredible age of some of these mammoth trees.
Driving through this vast country as the landscape changes, naturally so do the plants and when I think of the tropical top end of WA and in Darwin in the Northern Territory I just have a permanent picture in my mind of palm fringed beaches, colourful orchids, bright hibiscus, and fragrant frangipani. The lush greenery and ferns making up just your typical back yard.
Moving to the red centre, the heart of Australia and I think of majestic ghost gums and the incredible tenacity that plants show in growing in some pretty inhospitable temperatures of freezing desert nights and hot dry days. Incredibly some just hang in there, growing out of sheer rock faces.
Lastly I think if you are an Aussie there is nothing better than the Australian Wattle or Acacia, our national floral emblem to bring out the true feeling of home. It’s the reason why our national colours are green and gold, it uplifts us when we see it flowering knowing spring is near and it puts a bright spark in our countryside after a dull and dreary winter.
Wherever you are I hope you can enjoy the beautiful native plants and flowers that will be bursting into blossom soon. Bring on spring!