Drive four or five hours north of Perth and you’ll be surrounded by one of nature’s wonders.
In the scrub country between Carnamah and Carnarvon the dark red earth is transformed, with carpets of everlasting wildflowers – pink, yellow, cream and white – as far as the eye can see.
Where else in the world could you find such masses of flowers growing wild, wherever the land has been left uncultivated, in between the paddocks of green wheat and yellow canola.
All it takes to create this annual miracle is good winter rainfall. Then, from mid-July to mid-September, the massed everlastings start covering the countryside.
This year’s display has been even better than last year’s.
We based ourselves at the tiny town of Morawa, staying at the 20-room, no-frills, clean and comfortable Everlastings Guest House, once a miner’s hostel. If you want to know where the flowers are at their best, ask the helpful proprietor, Yvette Harris. She can direct you to fields full of colourful flowers an hour away that you’d otherwise never find.
The whole area is as rich in history as it is in everlastings. Pintharuka Dam, off the Morawa-Mullewa road, was sunk in 1936, with a lot of the work done by Depression Relief workers using horses and pick and shovel.
Nearby is War Rock, said to be the site of a battle between two neighbouring Aboriginal tribes.
Further north, about 30km from Mingenew, is the Coalseam Conservation Park, site of WA’s first coalmine.
Due to its rugged topography, Coalseam has remained uncleared, a pocket of wilderness in the surrounding open farmland, which comes alive in spring with spectacular displays of everlastings.
You can see exposed bands of coal seams and fossil remnants in the rock strata along the Irwin River.
On the Morawa -Yalgoo road, which is now sealed, we found patches of the amazing wreath flowers, which grow naturally but look for all the world like a florist’s wreath.
They grow along the road verges and are easy to find, specially if you watch out for the ribbons of coloured tape which someone has thoughtfully placed to point to the wreath flowers.
Driving south of Yalgoo down the Wagga Wagga track we found ruined houses and abandoned community halls, a reminder of the days when there were thriving small towns in the area.
Of course Kings Park has wonderful spring displays of everlastings and other wildflowers, but you can’t beat the thrill of seeing them en masse in the open countryside.