It’s that magical time of the year again when the red earth of WA’s Mid-West is transformed by carpets of everlasting wildflowers – pink, yellow and white.
This has been a bumper year because of the unusually wet winter and masses of everlastings can be seen just three hours’ drive north of Perth.
But you have to be quick to see them. The spectacular displays won’t last much longer than the end of September. If you miss out, you will have to wait another 12 months.
We spent three leisurely days exploring wildflower country from Dalwallinu north to Mullewa, with many diversions along the way.
The Everlastings Guesthouse at Morawa proved to be an ideal base for our adventures, with our hostess, Yvette, an invaluable source of information about the best places to go.
After meandering around Dalwallinu and Wubin we didn’t get to Morawa until nearly 3pm.
Our next stop was to have been the popular Coalseam Conservation Park, but Yvette had other advice.
“Koolanooka Springs is only half an hour east of Morawa and they say the everlastings this year are even better than Coalseam,” she told us.
Koolanooka was indeed wonderful. It was our first sight of the spectacular masses of everlastings, looking specially beautiful in the golden sunlight of the late afternoon. Even if we hadn’t seen anything else it would have made thetrip worthwhile.
We did get to Coalseam the following day, and though the flowers were beautiful we didn’t think they quite measured up to the display at Koolanooka.
Coalseam, about an hour’s drive north-west of Morawa, is the site of the first mined coal deposit in WA, and exposed bands of coal seams can still be seen.
It’s in a gorge carved out by the (mostly dry) Irwin River, where you can picnic with stunning views looking up at the striated cliff face, or drive across the dry river and up to the Irwin Lookout, high above.
There is camping at Miners, site of the old coal mine, as well as walk trails, barbecues and toilets.
En route to Coalseam we drove north from Morawa to Mullewa, then east for half an hour along the Geraldton-Yalgoo road to Pindar, which we had heard was the place to go for the unique wreath flowers.
We didn’t have any difficulty in finding the place – there was a long line of vehicles along the side of the road, with people by the dozen pointing their cameras at these extraordinary wildflowers.
They do indeed look just like a wreath, with a circle of pink and white flowers surrounding green vegetation in the centre.
We had come across a couple of wreath flowers earlier at the old Wubin cemetery, but at Pindar it was something else: In the bare red earth on either side of the road there were wreath flowers by the hundred, stretching as far as we could see.
On our last day we had planned to head straight for Perth but Yvette told us she had just heard there were carpets of pink everlastings on Carslake Road, about 30km north-west of Morawa.
It was certainly worth the diversion to witness this amazing sight – masses of pink blossoms, with some patches of yellow, carpeting the red earth in a corner of farmland which had happily escaped being ploughed and seeded.
Apart from the wildflowers, we enjoyed stopping off at numerous historic corners which reminded us vividly of the tough conditions endured by the hardy pioneers of this area.
Wildflower country has good roads – no need for a four-wheel drive – and it’s well worth following the signs pointing to places of interest along the way.