We are heading into prime wildflower season, but this year we are kicking off early with the wattles and boronias in full swing already – just ask anyone with hay-fever, their noses would be already feeling it!
Wollongong boasts various graded walks that really show off the regions best wildflowers. In order to get the best colour and variety, heathland (think shrub dominant areas, no trees over 2m, dry sandy soils and mostly prickly shrubs) generally showcase a wonderful natural display that would put Floriade to shame! It’s great to see the sometimes considered boring and harsh heathlands (Really?! Not me!) show what they are all about. You’ll be shocked by the colour and biodiversity these areas provide in their peak season, also rich in bird and insects attracted by the fresh colourful blooms.
It is important to understand it is illegal to take wildflowers or pick them. Why? They are food for birds and insects and they are the plants reproductive organ, so flowers = more plants regenerated. Enjoy them in situ, pack your camera and keep your memories forever.
Flowers you can expect to see on your adventures in and around the Illawarra
Wollongong’s Best 3 Trails to enjoy wildflowers (in no particular order!)
1.Brokers Nose Traverse – Beginner
The best thing about this walk is not only do you get a wonderful wildflower experience, you also enjoy wet and dry Sclerophyll woodlands. The walk is easy, kid friendly and only takes about 1.5hours return through the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, making this a great little walk. Take your time and enjoy an area rich in a rainbow of wildflowers, in particular orchids are very common with a keen eye.
If the wildflowers aren’t reward enough, enjoy the gorgeous view from the epic lookout point.
This walk is accessible from the top of the escarpment only, below is private property and access to Brokers Nose is not accessible. Also be wary of dangerous unfenced cliffs posing a serious risk. Ensure caution at all times.
2. Griffiths Trail – Intermediate
If you want to take a little Sunday drive, venture through beautiful Jamberoo and enjoy the scenic drive and head up into Barren Grounds National Park. There is a walk here for everyone depending on your level of experience. For a short little walk with the smaller children, enjoy the easy trail to Illawarra Lookout, enjoy the flowers along the way, take your time and enjoy the boronias, isopogans and some wattle to name a few.
The lookout point is spectacular, try to pick a clear crisp day to enjoy the views up to the Royal National Park. If you want to continue the adventure, you can head along the Griffiths Trail, this is a loop track so you can continue right around or walk and return the same way you came. Variations on the walk include the Kangaroo Trail, Cooks Nose and the Flying Fox walk. All are clearly signposted and the walks are on wide trails with easy to follow signage. Choose your own adventure here. In addition to the wonderful flowers, they also attract a lot of birdlife. Watch out for the Gang Gang Cockatoos and Eastern Ground Parrots.
– Given we are moving into warmer weather, a snake warning is required as the trails are wide and open. This is not a deterrent as you can simply wait for the snake to cross or walk around. Don’t poke or get too close, give the snake a wide berth and right of way. Remember all snakes are protected species.
– There is a creek crossing at Stone’s Bridge, exercise water safety at all times.
3. Dharawal National Park – Beginner to Intermediate
Enjoy an easy walk to Madden’s Falls, not only do you get to enjoy the up close wildflowers, you get the reward of beautiful cascades at the end. This is a great track for the not so fit and young kids. Directly opposite is Glenbernie Orchards (stock up on apples and fresh fruit before you go, or finish your walk with a crisp cider! – remember no alcohol allowed in the NP)
Other attractions in the Dharawal National Park include the Jingga Walking track, Minerva Pools and the 10B Trail (ideal for a long walk or better still a mountain bike ride), all will provide a vast array of beautiful wildflowers.
– Water hazards and snake hazards.
Now is the time to get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather and the enjoy our local wildflowers. To be featured on our Instagram page, simply use #bushwalkthegong and tag us in @bushwalkthegong we would love to see what flowers you find!