Weekend trippers can still find pockets of wildflowers on the Morawa to Yalgoo Road, and beyond.
THE past two years have been bumper seasons for wildflowers in the Murchison, with more than 200 millimetres of rain turning typically harsh landscapes into carpets of colour.
This season is different, with only 60mm of rain in places thus far and swathes of flowers gone, replaced by pockets of colour.
We spent two days exploring the Murchison region and found it’s more like a magical mystery tour with cries of joy when you find a splash of colour.
However, there are some good spots, and we had an interesting trip that taught us a lesson about train safety, and we found a better way to get to the region.
But wildflowers first. The first 35 kilometres on the Morawa to Yalgoo Road is adorned with wildflowers but it’s slim pickings after that.
We then drove from Yalgoo to Mullewa and the wildflowers were certainly more frequent.
Explanations varied from not enough rain to too early in the season but the rain is clearly the culprit for most areas.
The famous wreath flowers at Pindar were there but not flowering when we visited over the weekend of August 19 and 20.
A few days later well-known artist Helen Ansell posted on Western Australian Wildflower Hunters that the flowering had just started.
And Ms Ansell’s shop in Mullewa was a delightful find for the stunning art, superb coffee and home-cooked muffins.
The drive from Mullewa south toward Moora revealed some more pockets of wildflowers and there were some nice patches at Canna.
On this part of the journey, we crossed a railway line off the main road but gave scant regard to the stop sign urging us to look out for trains.
We no sooner pulled up on the other side to drink a coffee and consume a muffin or two and were shocked to hear a loud horn blast and then see a huge ore train thundering past.
Our hearts raced and for the rest of the trip we stopped at every crossing.
The most prolific wildflowers we could find in the region were at Coalseam Conservation Park, just north on Mingenew, although not quite as prolific as last year.
An indication of the lack of rain was the Irwin River, which runs through the park, with last year’s running water replaced by a dry creek bed.
The usual spots at Morawa of Whites, Baxter and Norton Roads were disappointing, with barely a patch of wildflowers.
So, on our journey home, we elected to look for more locations and found instead the much better way to get back to Perth that avoided the traffic, the road trains and the extra-wide loads that have become all-too common on the Great Northern Highway.
Our route, 116, took us south from Morawa to Three Springs, Carnamah, Coorow and Watheroo before arriving at Moora, which is a good stop for coffee or lunch with several outlets.
From Moora we tracked south to Bindoon, joining the Great Northern Highway just north of the town and its legendary bakery.
All but the last 25km was straight road and in excellent condition, with the last section being hilly and winding but very picturesque.
No sooner had we rejoined the Great Northern Highway, we were forced over to allow yet another north-bound wide load pass.
And yes, on the journey home there were some nice patches of colour, although they were overwhelmed by the blinding yellow of canola fields.