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Question Wildflowers in WA in spring

VPS

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Coming from SA I am assuming that we will be allowed to travel to WA in the next few months. I've always wanted to see some of the WA wildflower areas. Any suggestions or areas to visit are welcome. Happy to drive around and would also like to visit Lake Ballard.
 

Antoallison

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Lots of info on the WA Tourism site about planning your trip.

Starts in the north of the state from June then extends right down the South West areas around Mount Barker, Albany and Esperance.

Also not to be missed is the Wildflower display in Kings Park, Perth in September.
9416064D-648D-4749-9EE4-F0159A5B653D.jpeg
 

VPS

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Lots of info on the WA Tourism site about planning your trip.

Starts in the north of the state from June then extends right down the South West areas around Mount Barker, Albany and Esperance.

Also not to be missed is the Wildflower display in Kings Park, Perth in September.
View attachment 218446
That covers a very wide area. I was thinking more August September. I'm also debating a trip to the Bight in SA to see whales in the next few weeks
 

JohnM

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Coming from SA I am assuming that we will be allowed to travel to WA in the next few months. I've always wanted to see some of the WA wildflower areas. Any suggestions or areas to visit are welcome. Happy to drive around and would also like to visit Lake Ballard.
The classic spring wildflower areas are to the north of Perth - the sandplains between Perth and Geraldton, and into the Murchison (Kalbarri NP) and east through Yalgoo, Mt Magnet and towards Sandstone. But the latter are less reliable than areas closer to the coast. It is highly dependent on goods rains.

If we get good rains that extend well inland, they can be unbelievably spectacular. I have my fingers crossed for those rains this year, given being stuck in Australia. But it is rare.

I happen to be a biological scientist and I know all of those areas extremely well from working and leisure travel throughout there. Early September is the best time for that area: WA wildflower weekend

September is also the time for the Kings Park Festival: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority - Kings Park Festival.

That time is far too early for the wildflowers near the S coast. That's best in summer; see posts 2935, 2936: The view from my "office"


So, if you want wildflowers in the mid-west and Murchison, and Lake Ballard, target late August/early September.

My son's current business location is not far from Lake Ballard. You have already seen my recent mini TR (Briefly escaping the intra-state WA travel restrictions).

I've visited Lake Ballard before but it was after some rain and the surface was a bit muddy, so I wasn't able to do the full walking circuit (see post #23 here: Way into the WA wilderness).

I had thought of going there on my trip a couple of weeks ago but got waylaid going to Kookynie and then running errands in Kal for the slave-driving boss. :p

Anyway, I definitely want to get back to Lake Ballard some time this year to do the full circuit of the sculptures. I also plan to do some travelling through the mid-west and Murchison areas to the west of there. So I was planning on doing that in about early September.

You don't need a 4WD drive to get to Lake Ballard - it's sealed all the way. But it's a long drive. I have in mind to do something like this in the spring:

1590068296990.png

A more robust off-road vehicle is advisable for the Mt Magnet-Sandstone-Lake Ballard section.

That plan could also include going a little further N along the coast to spectacular Hamelin Pool (famed for stromatolites) and Shark Bay.

Seeing that I can't go overseas this year, I'm planning on maxxing out travel in WA. And, I am completely flexible and I know the region like the back of my hand.

So, bottom line: if you want to get 'out there', you will pretty much need to be able to travel independently or with someone going there. The chances are very high that it would fit with something I want to do. Happy to have you join me.

An option I also think worth scoping is Casey Tours' wildflower tour offerings: Wildflowers in Perth | Wildflowers Tours of Western Australia.

I have used Casey twice before (Australia's longest shortcut, A Kimberley kaleidoscope) and can highly recommend them.

I didn't look at those offerings (or others in their selection) in great detail, but it doesn't look like they do Lake Ballard.

Maybe you could mix a Casey tour with joining me for a run to Lake Ballard if that meant you could meet all your objectives.

That's a few ideas. I suggest you scope it all out and PM me and we can discuss.
 

Daver6

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You don't need a 4WD drive to get to Lake Ballard - it's sealed all the way. But it's a long drive. I have in mind to do something like this in the spring:
When we went a couple of years ago, part of the road from Menzies to Lake Ballard was unsealed, but in good condition and very easily do-able in a regular car.
 

JohnM

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Many thanks @JohnM I will digest all of that and think about it - very generous of you
Bear in mind that viewing wildflowers in the mid-west-Kalbarri NP region is geographically a widely separate thing from Lake Ballard. They are really two distinct activities.

If you're up to renting a car, then Perth-Kalbarri NP is readily doable over a few days, with good accommodation options at places like Geraldton and Kalbarri and all sealed roads.

The Prospector train (Transwa > Home > Plan your journey > Prospector) runs between Perth and Kalgoorlie. Lake Ballard is an easy 200 km each way day trip from Kalgoorlie, almost all on sealed road and accommodation options in Kal are good.
 

Daver6

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Don't stay at the Menzies Hotel unless it's had a major renovation in the last two years. Pub grub is fine though.
 

JohnM

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Don't stay at the Menzies Hotel unless it's had a major renovation in the last two years. Pub grub is fine though.
It hasn't had a renovation - and the boys tell me it's changed owners and the grub is not so good now.

It's partly why I suggested a day trip out of Kal.
 

oz_mark

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When we went a couple of years ago, part of the road from Menzies to Lake Ballard was unsealed, but in good condition and very easily do-able in a regular car.
I found the unsealed roads fine, although sometimes they could get a wee bit corrugated if they hadn't had the graders out for a while :)
 

esseeeayeenn

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I found the unsealed roads fine, although sometimes they could get a wee bit corrugated if they hadn't had the graders out for a while :)
Corrugations aren't too bad as long as you know not to slow down!
 

Daver6

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It hasn't had a renovation - and the boys tell me it's changed owners and the grub is not so good now.

It's partly why I suggested a day trip out of Kal.
Wow. It was for sale when I stayed there.

Kookynie accommodation looked much better, but still nothing fancy. I'd like to have stayed at Hoover House as recommended by you, but it was closed for renovations at the time.

In Kal, we thought the food and setting of the aptly named Balcony Restaurant was really good.
 

OZDUCK

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We did the day trip from Kalgoorlie (Boulder really) in 2018. The road was sealed until about 10 km short of the Lake Ballard entrance point. No worries at all for a normal car. Afterwards we went to see the abandoned graveyard where my Grandmother was buried in 1914. It is south of Ularring on JohnM's map. Then we drove down to rejoin the main road at around Kanowna. This was all done on gravel roads without any problems, you just have to look out for the occasional washaway and kangaroos etc.

We probably did a couple of hundred K's on gravel in a 2005 Statesman. The only problem I had was that some of the old roads that used to connect this road to the sealed highway had been blocked off due to mining activity so we drove a bit further on gravel than I had intended. But our German visitors enjoyed it.

I would suggest that if you do come you get hold of this - Home - Golden Quest Discovery Trail. It is a very useful thing to have especially if you are new to the area.
 

OZDUCK

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My husband and I have been wanting to do this for more than a decade. Great to see there's an app now and a really comprehensive website.
There is also a good site about the Lake Ballard installation.

 

OZDUCK

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And this popped up in my mail box the other day

For a second I thought that they were going run Cruise Boats on the Lake;)

What the article doesn't mention about the idea of taking a few hours to see all the sculptures is the climate. It was close to 50 C when we went there - not in the middle of summer. We managed to see only a few before we were driven off the salt by the heat. Apparently it is fascinating to see them after a wet spell as the water only gets about knee deep and they seem to float in the lakes expanse. Admittedly the roads might also be closed.
 
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