Occupying nearly one million square miles, Western Australia is Australia's largest state. Separated from the east by vast tracts of desert and difficult terrain, it has remained the country's most pristine region. Australian spring, which falls in the month of September, transforms the southwestern portion of the state into meadows and rivers of wildflowers tumbling through usually dry lands.
Western Australia puts on a wildflower display like no other, with incredible varieties of blooms and colors. Over 12,500 plant species can be found here, along the coastal regions as well as in the drier, flatter inland areas. Due to Australia's distance from other land masses, the majority of these plants exist nowhere else. Visitors will see kangaroos, butterflies, parrots, kookaburras and a vast array of other brightly feathered birds. The low-humidity of the air makes colors all the brighter, and visitors often feel they've wandered into a Technicolor fantasy world.
Relaxed, friendly Perth makes an excellent base camp, and viewing begins at the Kings Park and Botanic Garden, which hosts Australia's largest wildflower exhibition each September. Those comfortable with left-side driving can rent a car and explore the area beyond Perth on their own, but those who prefer to ride can sign up for any of several wildflower tours that highlight the stunning beauty of the region.
Australia's numerous national parks celebrate the country's diverse landscape, and are great places to enjoy wildflowers in bloom. North of Perth are Avon Valley, Namburg with its limestone Pinnacles, Lesueur and Kalbarri. To the south are Serpentine and Fitzgerald. There are numerous wildflower guides and brochures to help you plan your trip, so it's really just a question of which other sights you want to see and how far you want to travel.
Whale migration also begins in September, and lookout points along the western coast usually yield sightings. This is also prime wine country, where some of Australia's finest artisan wines are produced. Since only a small percentage of these are exported, make the most of your trip by stopping to sample along the way.