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Kings Park Wildfl ower Festival September 1 – October 1 The Perth Wildfl ower Festival is a hallmark event held annually in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. It attracts locals as well as visitors from overseas and interstate and is being held in the fi rst month of Spring, celebrated in Western Australia in September. www.bgpa.wa.gov.au Blessing of the Fleet – Geraldton October 28 The Blessing of the Fleet is a unique day centered around the fi shing industry in Geraldton on Australia’s Coral Coast. The scenic location and usually beautiful weather in late October makes for a ‘must see’ for anyone travelling through Western Australia at this time. www.australiascoralcoast.com When it comes to nature and scenic splendour, Esperance and the South Coast in Australia’s Golden Outback is a savvy traveller’s choice – a region of stunning coastal landscapes and sweeping expanses of fl ora-rich bushland. Visit from September to November and you will enjoy a mass transformation of the bushland as the spectacular annual wildfl ower season begins its dazzling shows. One way of soaking up the best of the region is by heading to one of its many national parks These areas of incredible natural beauty harbour one of the country’s most varied ranges of plants – particularly lovely during the wildfl ower season. Fitzgerald River National Park is renowned for boasting one of the most bio-diverse fl ora ranges in the world. It is home to 1,800 beautiful and bizarre species of fl owering plants, as well as a myriad of lichens, mosses and fungi. The numbers represent nearly 20 percent of Western Australia’s total plant species – all in one national park. Many of the parks boast scenic walking trails, and many of them traverse areas of the ruggedly beautiful coast. You’ll often spot kangaroos on the beach, seabirds soaring on the breeze and whales during their annual migration. Wild coastal scenery, rugged granite peaks, and sweeping heathlands characterise Cape Le Grand National Park. Popular features in the park include attractive bays with wide sandy beaches set between rocky headlands. WA Events The scenic splendour of 22 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m J u l y 2 0 0 7

The unique Karijini Eco Retreat is now welcoming guests as the fi rst and only permanent up-market accommodation in the depths of the breathtaking Karijini National Park. Karijini (formerly Hamersley Range) National Park is the second largest national park in Western Australia – located just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, approximately 1,400 kilometres north of Perth and boasting breathtaking gorges, crystal clear rock pools, waterfalls, and stunning scenery. The Karijini Eco Retreat offers comfortable, luxurious eco tents in a rugged outback setting, along with campsites featuring quality shared facilities including showers and BBQ bush kitchens for self catering. The property, which is fully-owned by the local Gumala Aboriginal people has a range of accommodation that includes 82 campsites, 5 group camp sites, 40 upmarket eco tents with ensuites, 10 eco tents with shared facilities and an Outbackstyle alfresco licensed restaurant. Guided walking and tag-a-long tours are offered at selected times www.karijiniecoretreat.com.au Inland, the park protects an undulating heath-covered sandplain, interspersed with swamps and freshwater pools. In the south-west corner of the park you’ll discover an impressive chain of peaks with intriguing names, such as Mt Le Grand (345 metres), Frenchman Peak (262 metres) and Mississippi Hill (180 metres). Also located near Esperance in Cape Le Grand National Park is the beautiful Lucky Bay, voted last year as Australia’s whitest beach. Visitors can also take a boat cruise to the nearby Recherche Archipelago, or try some bird spotting at the Munglinup Beach wetlands. Here a dazzling variety of water and migratory birds inhabit the nature-rich landscape. Munglinup Beach is ideal for safe swimming and the reef makes a great snorkelling attraction. Visitors should take time out from to enjoy the charm of quaint villages, like Esperance itself – a good base for exploring the region. Esperance offers a wide variety of accommodation with more than 60 quality motels, hotels, caravan and holiday parks, chalets, apartments, farm stays and bed and breakfasts. the south coast New retreat for Karijini For more information go to www.westernaustralia.com www.australiasgoldenoutback.com J u l y 2 0 0 7 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m 23