A Land of Wild Colour
Many of Australia's Wildflowers are found in the outback and actually are very delicate yet despite this fact that they are also very hardy. However a lot of care has to be taken not to disturb the environment around them when you are out and about admiring them.
Some of the most unique wildflowers in the world are to be found in Australia. The usually dry outback with a little rain produces a vast array of colour where you can find petite colourful flowers under the shade and moisture of a rock and besides deserted billabongs.
In the tropics evergreen vegetation abounds sheltering orchids, tree ferns and other wildflowers of majestic beauty.
The Tropics and the Great Dividing Range
Approximately a quarter of Australia is situated above the Tropic of Capricorn, however much of this land is still semi-arid with seasonal monsoon rains dumping water on Australia's 'top end' during the summer months from late September thru to as late as March.
These monsoonal rains bring the Australian Outback to life and along the coastal fringes creates tropical rainforests, the Daintree National Park in Northern Queensland and Kakadu in the Northern Territoy being the most prominent and mostly visited.
They also help feed the Murray-Darling River systems in the east, and along with the regular winter rains along the southern eastern ranges waters the eastern coastal strip.
It is in these northern tropical fringes and south eastern highlands that a bountiful variety of bird life and plants and flowers can be found and after a few wet seasons is as green as anywhere on the planet. To drive through the Great Dividing Range and stop off at trickling clear rivers and find many different types of plant life is a wonderful adventure.
The Arid Outback
Much of the monsoonal rainwater flows south thru the parched arid centre of Australia, bringing life to birds, animals and plants along the way. During the monsoonal rains of 2008/2009 there were spectacular photos and videos of the water flowing into Lake Eyre, the most it had seen for more than a decade, scenes that were repeated during the 2010/2011 monsoonal season.
On both occasions birds were seen coming hundreds of miles to descend on the new feeding grounds created, with fish being brought to life along the reaches of the Georgina, Diamantina and Cooper Rivers in western Queensland south towards their destination at one of the largest salt lakes in the world, to Lake Eyre.
With these rains comes greenery that creates a contrast to the red earth of Australia's aptly called Red Centre. Yet the outback also provides wonderful widlflowers during even the driest seasons, along sheltered rocky waterways miles from anywhere, surrounded by the dusty dry earth of the Australian Central deserts.
Sturts Desert Pea - Photo: Ray Norrie
From its southern coastline to the Kimberleys in the states north WA is known around the world for its bountiful array of colourful wildflowers. Many 'easterners' cross the Nullabor to embark on a wildflower adventure and from the time they leave Port Augusta in South Australia's mid-north the search begins.
The best time for this display is from late July to mid November as the spring comes to life. There are an estimated 12,500 species of plant life, with many more still unlisted according to some botanists. Nearly sixty percent of these flowers are not found anywhere else in the world while others are sometimes a bizare twist on what are already known. Boronia, Heath, Banksia and Grevillia are just some of those that are unique in their Western Australian varieties. Then there is the unique and rare Wreath Flowers, an arrangement that looks like it was specially planted in a circular design. The rugged rocky landscape of the Kimberleys and Pilbarra which traps monsoonal rains fosters many outback gardens that remain mostly untouched except for the tourists eye.
Wreath in flower - Photo Glenn Budd
Banner Photos: Western Australian Wildflowers - Marguerite Budd, Glenn Budd, Lyle Stacpoole
Australian Flora Exhibition
Come and see a Land of Wild Colour