Western Australia – wildflowers and natural history

The south west of Western Australia is a vast botanical garden – tall forest, woodlands, shrublands and heath are home to over 4,000 species, 80% of which grow nowhere else; a truly remarkable flora.

Mid-spring is the time when the flowers are at their best. Banksias, Grevilleas, Hakeas, Myrtles, Kangaroo Paws and a bewildering diversity of orchids, plus many more combine to create a colourful botanical extravaganza.

We start and finish in Perth, concentrating on discovering the magnificent array of wildflowers in the state, while also gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of the wider natural heritage. The itinerary will give us plenty of opportunity to see some of the state’s many mammals, reptiles and the chance to catch up with a good number of Western Australia’s endemic birds.

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The Perth hinterland is as diverse as it is fascinating. From the Darling Ranges we travel north through the Banksia Eucalypt woodlands and mallee shrub and heathlands to Pinnacles National Park. Further north lies Kalbarri NP, where a huge variety of wild flowers clothe the plains surrounding the Murchison River gorges.

 Passing south through the coastal shrublands, many roads are lined with wildflowers, ablaze with colour. In the south west, we visit the famed Karri-Tingle and JarrahMarri forests, walking amidst the canopy of these magnificent tees on a canopy walkway. Heading east, coastal cliffs provide great viewing of breeding Southern Right Whales offshore of Fitzgerald River National Park, while in the Stirling Range we will climb onto the summit ridge, with flowers in abundance and lizards much in evidence.

Finally we visit the famous Dryandra woodlands, home to endangered marsupials and more wonderful wild flowers.

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Wildlife Travel Western Australia 2014

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Dates

2 – 19 September 2017

Leader

Philip Precey with local guide Mark Hanger

Price

£4,625
Single Room Supplement – £650

Included

Local transport as specified in the itinerary. Seventeen nights’ accommodation, full board basis – except lunch and dinner on Day 9. All excursions as described in the itinerary. Admission fees and National Park concession fees.

Not included

International flights. Refreshments. Entrance fees for optional sightseeing (e.g. museums). Gratuities. Travel insurance.

This trip provides a fascinating blend of habitats where we can discover a massive array of wildflowers, as well as plenty of opportunity to see mammals, reptiles and most of Western Australia’s endemic birds.

Day 1 – The holiday starts in Perth, where we will meet up at our city centre hotel in time for dinner.

Day 2 – We start our holiday with a day trip out to wonderful Rottnest Island. In the afternoon we will take a whale watching excursion offshore to see Humpback Whales.

Day 3 – We drive north from to Cervantes with a visit to the renowned Pinnacles region and the Lesueur National Park, which covers 27,000 hectares and is the third largest of Western Australia’s national parks.

Day 4 – We explore the botanical treasure trove of the vast Hi Vallee Farm, enjoying its incredible array of wildflowers.

Day 5 – We will head inland to the dry Tallering region, where the flora is markedly different from any other area on the trip. We will continue after lunch towards Kalbarri National Park.

Day 6 – During our day in Kalbarri National Park, we will discover a huge variety of wildflowers, as well as enjoying lookouts above the Murchison River gorges and the coast.

Day 7 – We turn south and travel back through Geraldton and down the coast, to explore the arid shrublands and heathlands of Badgingarra.

Day 8 – We visit Lake Thetis; home to the bizarre dome-shaped stromatolites that are amongst the earth’s most ancient life forms. DUring the evening we will visit the enchanting wildlife sanctuary at Karakamia, looking for threatened and endangered marsupials such as Tammar Wallaby, Brush -tailed Possum, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Woylie.

Day 9 – A free day to explore Perth with options including a Swan River excursion, exploring historic Freemantle, Perth’s famed Kings Park, or making a repeat visit to Rottnest Island.

Day 10 – We head for Pemberton, taking a morning walk on the granite outcrops at Ellis Brook, in an area with some of the highest concentrations of wildflower species in the region.
Day 11 – We head for the sand dune ecosystem of D’Entrecastreaux National Park, followed by lunch in a local vineyard, and a gentle evening walk to seek out the diversity of frogs that inhabit the PembertonForest.

Day 12 – Moving on to the Stirling Range, via the south coast takes us through the renowned Jarrah and Karri forests. We walk amidst the canopy of these magnificent trees on a high level canopy walkway and gain a better understanding of the intricacies of the relationship between forest and fire.

Day 13 – An unmissable highlight of any visit to Western Australia is the dramatic Stirling Range National Park; home to over one thousand species of flowering plant and a wonderful array of birds.

Day 14 – The southern end of Fitzgerald River National Park beckons today and we will explore the coastal heathlands; looking out for Southern Right Whales in the clear waters just off shore.

Day 15 – We will take in the scrublands as we travel through Fitzgeral River National Park before continuing east to Hopetoun; looking out for a fascinating array of orchids en-route.

Day 16 Sun – We head back inland where the vast interior of Western Australia beckons, and we will enjoy features such as the salt pans of Lake King as we travel.

Day 17 – We explore the pristine woodlands of Dryandra, and after dinner will take an excursion to view more of the endangered marsupials for which this reserve is one of the last strongholds – an unforgettable nocturnal experience, as wonderful marsupials with evocative names, Bilbies, Boodies, Woylies, Mala and Quenda come hopping around our feet in a semi-wild setting.

Day 18 – We bid farewell to the South Coast as we make the three hundred kilometre drive back to Perth. We’ll have time to stop en-route to sample yet more roadside colour and maybe a last few orchid species, before we arrive back in Perth, where the holiday ends.

Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders. 

All accommodation is of a very comfortable standard and all rooms have private facilities. In most locations it is average to good standard, 3 star equivalent, although higher than this on occasion. Direct dial phones, in room tea/coffee facilities, laundry facilities, irons and hair dryers are usually available at most locations.

We shall be using an air-conditioned coach throughout the trip with microphone, ample luggage storage in the trailer, and tea and coffee provisions.

 

International flights and travel to/from Perth are not included in the holiday to allow you maximum flexibility in making your personal travel arrangements. Several major airlines fly from the UK to Perth, including British Airways, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Malaysian Airways and Emirates.

If you wish to extend your holiday, we can arrange accommodation before or after the tour. If you would like Sunvil to book your flight, please ring their Sales Department on 0208 847 3041. The flight will be invoiced and needs to be paid for separately. Other travel agents are, of course, available to book your flights. Please ensure we have confirmed the holiday and your place before booking your flight.

Perth, Australia is eight hours ahead of UK time.

You must have a valid passport for this trip (valid for at least 6 months after the end of the holiday). Holders of UK or EU passports must apply for a free eVisitor visa before arranging their travel to Australia.  For holders of other passports it is essential that you check with your embassy or consulate and obtain the necessary documents prior to travel. Please note that you need a machine-readable passport as well as an ESTA visa if you will be passing through the USA during your journey.

We will be travelling in Western Australia’s springtime. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Spring is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities.

Western Australia has a relaxed lifestyle, so dress will be informal at all times. Bring comfortable clothing and anticipate a similar range of temperatures to a British summer – it should be pleasantly warm: likely temperature range around Perth in September is 10 C to 25 C: it will be warmer in the north and inland, cooler in the south and on the coast. Rain is always possible at all times.

The sun can be very strong and sun protection (hat, sunglasses and sun cream) is essential.

This is an 18-day tour, stopping at several locations, and you therefore need to be generally fit and able to cope with ‘living out of a suitcase’ with some long road journeys between areas. On some days we will not be walking very far, but on others we will take longer walks. Most walking will be at a slow pace to give us the time to enjoy the plants, scenery and wildlife. If you are a slower-walker, please ring us to discuss whether any of the walks will be problem. We do not do any strenuous hikes but we may be out for a few hours at a time on some days. All walks are optional and you can choose to enjoy a day around the hotel if you prefer (or half a day if this fits in with the transport arrangements), providing we are not moving on to another location that day. To see the best of the flowers, it is necessary to walk on rougher ground and up small slopes. Comfortable footwear is essential – as it must be strong enough to withstand rough or rocky ground underfoot walking boots are essential for all areas out of the towns.

Personal travel insurance providing good medical cover is essential for this trip. Safety advice given by the leaders must be heeded at all times particularly when walking in the countryside. We will send you advice on health and safety issues before the tour.