Monday, 26 September 2022

Off to See the Wizard - Wildflowers

Geraldton is the epicentre of the wildflower region of Western Australia.  As such, we spent the Sunday exploring the areas that are known hot spots.
This meant travelling about 90kms east to the little town of Mallewa, which is on the road to Mount Magnet, which is a mining area.  Once again, after a few days of very little road train traffic, we encountered the 60 metre, four trailer quads once more.

Funnily enough, on our drive out we saw very few wildflowers beside the road. They are in rather distinct spots, probably to do with the soil composition and other factors.

We hadn’t got any specific tourist brochures on the area, so when we saw a couple of signs heading off the main road we followed them.  It turns out that they aren’t all to wildflowers, but are a trail of information boards of all sorts of interesting features of the area, relevant at all times of the year, so we didn’t follow many.  
The first we came across was to mark the location of controlled traffic farming in other words, to only drive farming equipment on set parts of a paddock to prevent compaction of soil.  They each have a quirky  cut out.
At one spot we met a lady who was photographing “Henrietta” at various sites to send to her grandson.  It reminded me of Peg and Dale, the chooks that used to travel around with the girls who went to Girls Day in the Country at Nundle.
Along with paddocks of wheat, there were also many sown with canola.  Most had finished flowering, but here and there a paddock still showed some of its yellow.
Mullewa has a very appropriate entrance.
In a park there is a very new wall mural.  It represents the aboriginal origins, the railway, which used to be very important, a stock route and the wild flowers.  The colours were so vibrant and appropriate.
The town had some lovely buildings.
And more colourful yarn bombing.
There was another mural featuring wildflowers.
Yet another wall featuring wildflowers.  This was on the wall of Helen Ansell’s gallery, which also sold coffee and cake, of which we partook.  Wow!  Her art is so striking.  She not only had prints of her paintings, but homewares, jig saws, cards and tea towels.  I noticed a quilt in the corner, but on closer inspection saw that it was made from tea towels.  At $29 each, I won’t be making a quilt.  However, we did purchase a small print of her wildflowers, which I will share when we get home.
Probably the most famous building in Mullewa is the Catholic Church.  
This is another Monsignor John Hawes church.  
At the time we were in Mullewa, we didn’t know anything about his back story.  
There is a whole tourist trail encompassing his buildings.
He was a very prominent priest, in that he designed and built, sometimes being very hands on, a number of churches and other building in the mid west of the state.  
He was born in England and trained as an architect, before becoming an Anglican minister and subsequently converting to Catholicism.  
Mullewa was his own parish and the church is rather splendid for such a small town.  
He was very hands on in the building of this one, completing many of the artistic mouldings himself.

I wish I had known more at the time and would have looked at the interior in more detail.

The ladies in the Visitors Centre pointed us in the direction of the best places to see the wild flowers.
Perkins No 2 Well was the first one.  This is a well that was used for the Mullewa-De Grey Stock Route.  While not as famous as the Canning Stock Route, it is believe to have moved the most animals of any Western Australian stock route.  The well is still intact, complete with another quirky cut out.
There were lovely drifts of flowers.
The next spot was “The Waterfalls”.  This is a spot which has been a popular picnic spot for many years.  
The rocks have such unusual colours and with random quartz seams running through them.  There were plenty of flowers, but we were more interested in the creek itself.  We didn’t see any waterfall as such, just little ones.

Whenever you mention wildflowers you are asked “Did you see the wreath flowers?”.  They are seen as the holy grail of wild flowers. We thought we had better see some for ourselves, or we would never hear the end of it.  
To get to one of the few places they can be found we had to travel to the tiny village of Pindar.  It consists of only a few old buildings.
And a wheat silo.  Fancy that.  Every settlement has a white painted wheat silo.
Then you travel out a dirt road for about another 15kms.  Get a load of that sign.
It was a great road to drive on and there were loads of white flowers on the edges.
Once again there were pretty drifts.
Finally, the wreath flowers were centre stage.
This is what all the hype is about.
It’s amazing how they grow on the edge of the road, in the hard compacted soil.
They are rather lovely, although I think Mick reckons they are a bit over rated.
Heading back to Mullewa the white drifts continue to put on a show.
Next, we had to head in a totally different direction, waiting for an iron ore train to pass by.
More wheat paddocks.
A windmill, painted pink for breast cancer awareness.

The destination was the Coalseam Conservation Park.  We had no idea what that would entail, just that there were lots of flowers there.
We were rather amazed when we topped a rise, to see a big chasm open up in front of us.   
The Irwin River runs through the area and back in 1846 Augustus Gregory, the explorer, discovered a coal seam.  It was attempted to be mined over the years, but was not viable.  It was made a conservation park in 1994.
There were more drifts of flowers.  Don’t you just want to follow this path to see where it goes.
We went to another section, where there is a camp ground.  You can see the thin coal seam beside the creek.
Here I am, sitting among the flowers.  It wa such a beautiful, warm, blue day.  Perfect for being out and about.
After that it was time to start heading back to Geraldton.  On our way we started to see some wind farm turbines.
There was a place to pull over.  It is the Mumbida Wind Farm and has 22 turbines.  This gives you a bit of an idea of the scale of them.  See Mick standing at the end of the blade. They are massive.

It wa then just straight back to the caravan park.  We didn’t worry about seeing the sunset, as we were both about bushed.  It had been quite a big day.

Here are some of the flowers we saw.
What a wonderful day we had exploring.  I have heard so much about the wildflowers and it has been something I’ve wanted to see for ages, so am really happy that it became a reality.

The highlight of the day for me was the drifts of flowers.  For Mick it was the surprise of the gorge at Coalstream Conservation Park.  No, the wreath flowers weren’t the highlight.  They are lovely, but so is everything else.


loulee said...

Lots and lots of pretty flowers.

cityquilter grace said...

stunning displays of such beautiful wildflowers...just about 2/3 done eh?

kiwikid said...

Another great day Janice, the flowers are gorgeous, often something you hear so much abut isn't really that wonderful when you get to see it. The wreath flower is gorgeous though and interesting how they grow,

Karen's Korner said...

You two have certainly covered many kms. The wildflowers are stunning....the white ones on the side of the road look like snow.

jude's page said...

the wreath flowers are certainly unusual the way the flower around the outside of the plant.