Australia has a rich and exotic flora. Our wildflowers compete with our parrots for colour intensity, and with our weird and wonderful mammals for bizarre forms.
Echidna Walkabout is a wildlife tour operator, and though wildlife is often interpreted as wild animals, all life in the natural world interests us. On our walks we look for, photograph and identify wildflowers. They are fascinating, often colourful and beautiful and in Australia, wildly unusual. Knowledge of plants is critical to understanding the animals that eat, live in and use them for breeding.
East Gippsland, part of our 21 day Maximum Wildlife tour, is famous for its spectacular September and October wildflower displays. Large trees hang with pink tassels, banksia trees intoxicate with pineapple-sized flowers and the ground is full of purple lilies.
The state of Victoria is home to over 360 species of orchid, and 55% of them – over 200 species – are found in the forests, heathlands and jungles of East Gippsland.
The amazing Flying Duck-orchid is a highlight of our 7 day Coast & Rainforest Maximum Wildlife tours in October.
See some of the other wildflowers of Maximum Wildlife in this flickr album:
The Northern Territory Top End is also part of our 21 day Maximum Wildlife tour. It is a tropical paradise, with 21 species of native hibiscus in pink, yellow and white, many with large showy flowers growing out of sandstone cliffs. Billabongs are spangled with blue, pink and white water lilies.
Driving out of Darwin on the Arnhem Highway in August, the overwhelming colours are red ochre, olive green and the brilliant magenta of the Turkey Bush. This common shrub – of the endemic to Australia Calytrix genus – flowers in profusion most years.
Also visible from the highway is the striking yellow flower of Kapok Tree – Cochlospermum fraseri. The slender small tree is deciduous and often flowers when it has no leaves.
Though tropical, the Top End has a long dry season. Epiphytic orchid species are few, but magnificent. We found this Tree Orchid – Dendrobium affine – flowering in Kakadu.
On our 7 day Desert & Coast Maximum Wildlife tour we visit the Mungo desert region. Rains turns the Mungo Outback from desert into wildflower garden. Bluebushes flower yellow and rose and brilliant scarlet emu-bushes and desert peas reflect the red sand.
From out of nowhere, fluffy mulla-mullas spring up from the loose red sand.
Springtime – September to November – offers the best opportunity to see Mungo wildflowers.
Near Melbourne, the Western Plains and Great Ocean Road are part of our 15 day Desert, Coast & Rainforest Maximum Wildlife. This region offers a diversity of land types. Heathlands near the coast flower with blue pincushions & flax-lilies, pink trigger plant and white tea-tree. River Red Gum forests, home to koalas, flower in fragrant cream posies.
Eucalyptus is Australia’s dominant tree genus. The 900+ species extend their fragrant canopy over almost every ecosystem on the continent. Some, like the Red Ironbark, flower heavily and brightly – each tree providing nectar for hundreds of honeyeaters for days.
Grass-trees are strange, slow-growing small trees with a whorl of grass-like leaves. Most only flower after fire. Their flower spike can be enormous, and covered in thousands of tiny cream flowers that drip with nectar. Lorikeets, honeyeaters, cockatoos and other birds flock to flowering grass-tree plains.
Maximum Wildlife is a suite of tours that can be customised to suit your interests, timing and budget. Each component is designed to offer diversity, comfort and the most wildlife and wildflowers possible at the best season.