Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday, 26 November 2017

Biodiversity Hotspot - Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia

Looking back through my travel pics I discovered that it was October 2011 when we last visited the Fitzgerald River National Park on Western Australia's south coast, and I was very keen for a return visit so I could take photos of the iconic wildflowers of the region. So in late October we hitched up our caravan and took off for a week to explore.

In my blog a couple of weeks ago I showed you the Farm Gate Art Trail centred around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. You can click here if you missed it - Farm Gate Art Trail 

These two towns, and nearby Bremer Bay, are the gateway to the Fitzgerald River National Park, a world renowned global biodiversity hotspot, bordered by the Southern Ocean to the south and the wheatbelt to the north. 

The Fitzgerald River National Park supports approximately 2000 flora varieties and the Ravensthorpe Ranges another 1900.  It is also home to some of Western Australia's most endangered bird and animal species, including the western whipbird and carpet python. 

Australia is one of 17 countries described as "mega diverse",  making up less than 10% of the earth's surface, they support 70% of the Earth's biological diversity. No wonder I love this area!

 So sit back, and come with me, while I show you some of the iconic and unique flora of the Fitzgerald River National Park. We were a couple of weeks late for the main flush of wildflowers, but there were still enough around to keep me and my camera happy.

This is Barrens Regelia - Regelia velutina - which flowers from September and is one of the wildflowers only found in this region. The image you see on the right was taken from the East Mount Barren lookout where there are several of the Barrens Regelia growing exposed to the southern winds.

Another wildflower which only grows in this region, is the Qualup Bell - Pimelia physodes. We were lucky to see it at the end of the October, as it generally only flowers from July to September.

This is the Scarlet Banksia - Banksia coccinea - which flowers from August to December. It is a particular favourite of my daughter-in-law and she had this flower in her wildflower wedding bouquet.

Another of the iconic wildflowers in this region is The Royal Hakea - Hakea victoria. The Aboriginal Noongar name for the plant is Tallyongut. It grows from 1 - 3 metres high and flowers in June to August. But it is the leaves which are the most striking part of the plant, ranging from green through yellow to burnt orange.  I could see where the flowers had been, but I am yet to see it flowering as we were a little late. I need to be a few months earlier next time. 

The best way of course to see wildflowers is to go out into the national park and walk along some of the bush trails. There are various maps and guides you can collect from the Ravensthorpe Visitor Centre.  The Fitzgerald Coast Holiday Guide is a good place to start.  The national park is virtually split into two - the East Mount Barren side, accessed from Hopetoun and the West Mount Barren side, accessed from Bremer Bay. 

We stayed at the Wavecrest Tourist Park only a few kilometres north of central Hopetoun and it was an easy drive out to East Mount Barren and the beaches west of town. This is a small, but very roomy caravan park, with nice big bays, some with part shade.

As you enter the national park make sure you stop at the Information bay. Please note that you need a Day Pass or Annual Parks Pass to enter the park.  Please click on the link for more information.  Your fees go towards helping to maintain Western Australia's national parks and providing good roads and facilities. There have been a lot of upgrades since our last visit. There is a small campground at Four Mile Beach, not far within the park boundary, that is suitable for small caravans or tents. 
Click here for more information on the Park - DPAW_Fitzgerald

Here is a view from part way up East Mount Barren. Allow 2-3 hours for this 2.6km return, moderate difficulty walk. It was very windy the few days we were in Hopetoun, so unfortunately we only took a short climb up East Mount Barren. 

Our next stop was Mileys Beach which would have been lovely to walk along if it wasn't for the wind whipping up the sand. The dolphins were enjoying the surf, but it didn't look like a swimming beach, prompting my warning to be careful along Western Australia's southern coastline. Please watch the ocean conditions and stay clear of cliff edges.  

At our next stop we walked along the wheelchair friendly walk trail to the Cave Point lookout before having lunch at a picnic shelter at West Beach. The views from the lookout were amazing. Thank goodness for the picnic shelter as although it was windy, the sun was hot. Just watch that the flies don't carry away your lunch! You can see below the lookout at Cave Point, with East Mount Barren in the distance, and the view of West Beach.

And a "loo with a view" for my blogging friend RedzAustralia..... 
Make sure you scrape your boots on the device you can see in the lower left corner of this pic, to help prevent "dieback" entering the area. Dieback is a symptom of a Phytophthora infection, and affects more than 40 per cent of the native plant species and half of the endangered ones in the south-west of Western Australia.

From West Beach we drove on to Hamersley Inlet where there is a designated camping area where you can camp for $10 per site per night. There are several walk trails from here and you can explore the Inlet if you have a canoe. 

And a few more wildflowers from The Fitzgerald River National Park.  Below clockwise from top left.... Coneflower, Eucalyptus (perhaps the Bell Fruited Mallee - Eucalyptus pressiana), chittick - Lambertia inermis, starflowers, the Dense Clawflower - Calothamnus pinifolius, and one of the melaleucas.

And two more banksias - the hanging down Lehmanns Banksia - Banksia lehmanniana, and the Showy Banksia - Banksia speciosa
A couple more to add to my collection on my blog - Celebration of the Australian Banksia

And the Red Kangaroo Paw - Anigozanthus rufus

After all that exploring you will be looking for somewhere to eat, and you can't go past the Port Hotel, down at the jetty end of town, established in 1901, with the two storey extension built in 1907. 

And for somewhere to stay in town, check out - Hopetoun Accommodation
There are camping options in the Fitzgerald National Park at Four Mile campground, and Hamersley Inlet. There is also 48 hour self-contained RV/caravan camping along The Esplanade. Turn east onto The Esplanade before you get to the jetty. 

I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the Fitzgerald River National Park at Hopetoun. Next time I will take you to western side of the park which can be accessed from Jerramungup or Bremer Bay.

Next time we go down this way I hope to time my visit with the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show in September. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

Fringe Lily
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  1. Stunningly beautiful wild flowers, I imagine your DIL's wedding bouquet was amazing. This was a great travel post and made me wish I could go there and see it all for myself. Thank you for sharing the trip with us on Mosaic Monday

  2. Always love your wildflower photos Jill, and now you've introduced me to an area I'd very much like to visit. Hopetown and Bremer Bay are very much on my bucket list now :)

    1. yes you must visit - but go in spring - late September preference.

  3. I always love to see the beautiful scenery and unique plants that you show us! The hakea is just fabulous!

  4. Your wildflowers are gorgeous.Happy Mosaic Monday


  5. What a beautiful place! And, the flowers, wow! They are so exotic.

  6. Oh what a treat your outing was! I have seen most flowers as they also grow in California, but I don't think I've seen the Qualup bell or the fringe lilly! The coastal images are very peaceful.
    About your comment: the forestry here is very serious about cutting down every diseased tree, so I'm counting on them that they stopped the infestation (which was caused by the beetle drilling to deeply into the bark, because of the drought - now the drought is over in Calif., there's less change of it). Thanks you for providing All Seasons with your interesting posts! Have a grand week, Jill!

    1. I am surprised to hear that Western Australian wildflowers grow in California. Obviously imported plants, as they are indigenous to here. But it is lovely that you can enjoy them there. They really are unique. Thanks for the added info about the infested trees. We have disease problems with trees here too.

  7. Jill - an informative and picturesque jaunt, as always. The camping resources are impressive; providing access for visitors in such a way that preserves the environment is critical. My favorite plants in this post are the Hakea (unique leaves) and the red kangaroo paw (very aptly named). Enjoy your week.

  8. Such a wonderful, diverse kid of flowering plants! So different from what we have here in Oregon.

  9. So beautiful! Lovely flowers and sea scenes.

  10. Beautiful and unusual wildflowers which I have never seen before.Do the flower only in this season?

    1. There is always something flowering in the Australian bush somewhere. The spring wildflower season usually starts in July in the north extending to November in the south. With different varieties found in different parts of the country. Thank you for your visit.

  11. Oh my goodness - such beauty - almost intoxicating!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/11/very-zen.html

  12. A beautiful post, ... I loved my tour and all the beauty

  13. Hello Jill, what a beautiful park. I love the views of the beach and bay. The wildflowers are all gorgeous. Lovely post and photos. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  14. Lovely introduction to Fitzgerald River National Park. Thank you.

  15. What a pleasure to see pictures of these flowers! They are so unique and beautiful. I enjoy seeing wonders like this.

  16. Such beautiful and unique flowers, unlike anything I've seen in North or South America. Truly an example of biodiversity. The park looks like a wonderful place to explore.

  17. The flowers are gorgeous and so unique.
    What a beautiful country! I'd love to visit.

  18. Now I feel like I want to get in a plane and go to Australia. So beautiful!

  19. Such a beautiful part of the world. I remember driving through this area on our journey from Esperance to Albany, although the wildflowers weren't in bloom then. The South West of WA certainly packs a punch with stunning scenery, flora and fauna.

  20. The scarlet banksia is beautiful, but it doesn't look like other Banksias does it? Wildflowers are so amazing. They are one of W.A.'s wonders.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.