Australia’s landscape can be kinda intimidating. A lot of it’s full of nothing but deserted red earth and plants that could go head-to-head with a lawnmower. But given the chance (and the right season), NSW’s flora will blow you away. When those fresh, clear Spring days turn up, head out into nature and chances are you’ll catch an eyeful of spectacular scenery. Here’s where to go for the best wildflower walks.
Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area
You remember Blinky Bill, right? Well, that’s essentially what it’s like at Illawarra Escarpment, a 30-million-year old formation near Wollongong. Check out the orchids running up the sides of the trees while you make your way through lush rainforest.
Muogamarra Nature Reserve
You’d be inclined to think parks are always open, but this northern Sydney spot is a lot more exclusive. It’s so packed with banksias, orchids and wildflowers which means that places in its opening window (Aug–Sept) sell out every season. You’ll be messaging your friends asking them to get you on the list. Be sure to keep an eye out for the classic ’Strayan waratah (aka the Australian waratah flower).
Did you know: To preserve the fragile ecosystem and Aboriginal heritage, Muogamarra is only open six weekends a year. So you need to book ahead to view these beautiful spring blooms.
Nadgee Nature Reserve
Some might say the bright blue sea and frangipani trees in Nadgee Nature Reserve make it look more like Thailand than South Coast. Or if you’re a romantic, the red and pink heath and wild cliffs are right out of a Poldark ep. As summer heats up, Wonboyn Lake is where you want to be, to breathe in the sweet cream flowers of the giant honey myrtles.
Did you know: Nadgee is part of Australia’s Coastal Wilderness, which runs from Bermagui on the NSW South Coast down to East Gippsland in Victoria. It’s one of 16 Australian National Landscapes.
Toorale National Park
You may not associate the outback with flowers, but you’d be wrong. So wrong. When it rains, Toorale National Park grows stacks of wildflowers. Explore the vast plains, landscapes and rivers (you’ll need a car – this is the outback after all), just remember to bring your own food and water to keep you going. If you’re setting out for an outback bush safari, remember to be prepared.
Kosciuszko National Park
Each year, once the snow melts away, another (more attractive) side of Kossie is revealed. The Winter crowds fade and those in the know get an eyeful of purple eyebrights, yellow billy buttons and everlasting daisies. So swap your skis for hiking boots and check out the freshest high-altitude florals.
Pro tip: After a certain height, Mount Kosciuszko has no trees so the ground coverage and flowers really stand out.
Barrington Tops National Park
Located north of Newcastle, Barrington Tops is a greenery lover’s paradise. It’s got it all – open forest, rainforests, sub-alpine grasslands, swamps, and the crown jewel – spectacular Spring wildflowers. Take Polblue Swamp track for a relaxed wander, or a longer day walk from Junction Pools to Carey’s Peak where, on a clear day, you can see the rainbow wildflowers all the way across the Hunter Valley to the coast.
Myall Lakes National Park
Featuring Christmas bells and flannel flowers, the lush Myall Lakes lay claim to some spectacular wildflower displays. Plus, there’s always something to do around the lake and the long, pristine beaches. Base yourself at Mungo Brush or hike out through the heath to Johnsons Beach or Shelly Beach campgrounds. Alternatively, stay at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Keepers Cottage for amazing panoramic views of the coastline.