Hunting the swathes of colour in our wonderland of wildflowers
Each Spring (known as ‘Kambarang’ by the indigenous Noongar people) we gear-up: hiking boots, long pants, hat, sunnies, water – all the bare essentials for venturing along barely used walk trails in the search for extremely rare and highly elusive native orchids. Searching the Leeuwin-Naturaliste national park for the waves of colour splashed across the foliage, bright red veils from the Coral Vine, rich purples from the Hovea and Hardenbergia, pastel pinks from carpeting Rose Banjine and starbursts of yellow popping out from the greenery, lighting up the bush like fireworks against the night sky.
With the sun shining high, we pressed into the thickets. Being such a splendid day I foolishly adorned my trusty shorts; a great mistake as the prickly shark tooth Hakea threatened to scratch up my shins.
Looking around we could see plenty colour, but looking closer exposed the usual concentration of cool orchids, such as the brightly coloured yellow Cowslip, Pink Fairies, Donkey Orchids, but not the one we’re seeking … The Dunsborough Spider Orchid … declared rare flora and named after our hometown – a small but bustling resort town only a stones throw away. This secretive flower is beautifully elegant & hard to spot.
Looking up to the horizon, a great explosion of water became visible above the Heathland; a breaching Humpback is a common sight this time of year and it momentarily distracted us from our search. Looking like an unsuccessful ‘recon’ mission, we make the decision to head back to the vehicle and we carefully retraced our footsteps, when only metres from our tour bus there appears the awe inspiring Dunsborough Spider Orchid in all its glory!
We always comment to our guests that you can walk past an orchid 2 or 3 times and not see it, then when you least expect to see it, it magically appears before your very eyes. All in a days work for these Margaret River Region born and bred nature enthusiasts and tour operator guides.
If you want to reap the benefits of hours of searching for the wildflower and scenic hotspots join our highly recommended Coastal and Wildlife Eco Tour.