There’s nothing like a road trip, and a weekend away from Perth to wildflower country was exactly what I needed to recharge during months of coronavirus craziness.
Western Australia is famous for its wildflowers. I liken wildflowers to seeing animals in their natural habitat, the thrill of seeing a dolphin in the ocean or spotting game on an African safari is the same with spectacular wildflowers. There are 12,000 species of wildflowers in WA, of which over 7,000 can’t be found anywhere else. Just incredible.
Watch and Listen
At this moment during COVID, we’re restricted to travelling only in Western Australia and having constant itchy feet, and with no travel plans on the horizon, I did what any traveller would do, I planned a road trip. My travel buddy was the delightful Amanda Kendle, a fellow travel addict as well as an esteemed blogger (Not A Ballerina), podcaster (The Thoughtful Travel Podcast) and travel writer (keep an eye out, she’s got a story coming out in Australian Women’s Weekly in a couple of weeks).
We followed The Everlasting Trail itinerary and spent three days on the road, clocking up about 1200km.
Admittedly on the way up, we’d planned to stick to the inland route through WA’s Golden Outback, but my co-driver was way too excited to be travelling again, chatting away and taking selfies of us – while I was driving at 110kmph (look here Di and smiiile!). Following the map was way down her list of priorities.We must’ve missed a couple of major turns because after a few hours, we came over a crest of a hill and there was the ocean … when we were expecting the outback! It was a hilarious moment which you can hear about that on Amanda’s excellent podcast, The Thoughtful Travel Podcast episode 202 (also avail on iTunes and the usual places) – have a listen to our daily diary of our three-day road trip describing our travel antics. Besides that episode (and a couple of others I feature in: 197, 170, 168, 38, 27, 17, 14, and 11), The Thoughtful Travel Podcast is great listening – after all, people who travel have the best stories to tell. There’s a link below:
We stayed in a luxury cabin at Mellenbye Station Stay, about 450 kilometres northeast of Perth, and not only was a wonderful place to stay, it was the perfect base to go hunting for wildflowers around Morawa, Canna and Mullewa. Mellenbye Station is a 250,000-acre working cattle station that has five cabins as well as facilities for caravan and camping. There’s an entertainment shed with a stage, full band set up, games, a bucking bull, table tennis, sofas and a sparkling chandelier. They often have movie nights for guests.
To me, the best part about our cabin was the fire pit out the front. After a magnificent sunset, we collected firewood on the property, lit the fire and sat there with a glass of Great Southern Shiraz, toasting marshmallows and looking up at the trillions of stars twinkling above us – it was one of those travel moments I will cherish forever.
Wildflower highlights of our road trip included seeing carpets of pink and white Everlastings around Coalseam Conservation Park, Donkey Orchids, Dainty Blue Orchids, Cowslip, various kinds of Wattle, Banksia, Native Iris, Fringed Lily and the elusive wreath flowers near Mellenbye Station, prized for its rarity.
Other highlights include:
- Having to stop and wait (and wait) for 200 sheep to cross the road
- Sunset and sunrise at Mellenbye Station
- Feeding the donkeys
- Countless bouts of laughter
- Bilya Rock for the endless banter it provided as a not-confirmed but possible, alleged place where WA’s first premier John Forest visited and possibly created a pile of rocks
- Taking a zillion photos and videos and travelling with someone who likes to take a zillion photos and video just like me
- Most of all, lavishing in the feeling of freedom that only a road trip in the outback can provide.
Go on, get out there, and as they say, ‘wander out yonder’.
- Self-cater – bring everything. The closest shop to Mellenbye Station is 50km away
- Have an in-car phone charger and spare camera battery – you’ll go into overdrive taking stunning photos
- Print off everything you need, there’s no mobile coverage (no internet) besides close to the towns
- Download music for the same reason as above – no mobile coverage
- If someone stops on the side of the road, check they are ok. It’s what country people do — and there’s every chance they have stopped to take a closer look at wildflowers
- Call into Visitors Centres in the towns you pass through as the friendly folk there will give you the latest info on where to spot wildflowers
- Australia’s Golden Outback – Information on Wildflowers
- Wildflower Tracker – see where wildflowers have been spotted
- Mellenbye Station Stay – be sure to book well in advance to stay in a cabin
Disclosure: Initially, we booked and paid for the trip ourselves and then after Amanda got a commission with Australian Women’s Weekly, travel costs were reimbursed. Australia’s Golden Outback where most of this trip took place is a client of Pronto PR’s (Di’s day job).