Arrivals & Departures The times they are a blooming on the south coast

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

The Queen of Sheba orchid is out, and after a slow start, the wildflower season is underway on Western Australia’s south coast.

It’s easy to see why the spectacular Queen of Sheba orchid, with its vibrant purple and yellow, is a major calling card.

According to Stirling Range Retreat owner Tony Sands, it’s the number one requested orchid on the retreat’s daily wildflower tours through the Stirling Range National Park, about 90km north of Albany.

And this year the Queen of Sheba is putting on a good show. But the clock is ticking – Tony expects the Queen of Sheba to bloom only until the second week of September.

Despite a slow start to the season, with the early orchids not as prolific as previous years, Tony says with good rains, the orchids are now putting on an excellent show.

Over the past week, 19 different orchids have been counted on the Stirling Range Retreat’s Wildflower Tour, and during the peak that could reach 30.

Those on show included cowslip; crab-lipped spider; dwarf, reaching, stumpy and white spider; little pink and pink fairy; common helmet; mosquito; common donkey; red beak; bird; banded, dark banded and cupped banded greenhood; jug; slender snail; and of course, Queen of Sheba.

The orchids aren’t the only draw, though. Other wildflowers are also delighting visitors.

The Queen of Sheba is also out at Tozer’s Bush Camp, on the edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park, 16km west of Bremer Bay. Tours from the camp started on August 18 and have there have been plenty of orchids to spot.

Visitors now also have better access to the Fitzgerald River National Park with the re-opening of the Culham Inlet crossing from Hopetoun, following the floods that cut the park off from April.

It’s also great timing for the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show from September 10-23. 

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