Is there any clearer sign that springtime’s here than a blooming rainbow of native wildflowers?


After a few chilly months of winter, the unique beauty of our native wildflowers is warmly welcomed. There are thousands of native species to find in the wild. Here are the best places and hikes near Sydney and around NSW to see wildflowers in bloom.

What wildflowers are native to Sydney?

Wildflowers in the Sydney region range from bright and bold stand-alone flowers such as the waratah and Gymea lily, to flowering trees, like wattle and grevillea and individual flowering plants like local orchids.

Keep your eyes peeled for different varieties of;

  • Waratah
  • Wattle
  • Banksia
  • Iris
  • Lily
  • Grevillea
  • Boronia
  • Ground orchid
  • Pea
  • Gymea lily

Can I pick wildflowers?

In NSW, any plants that are protected or threatened are illegal to pick, possess, buy or sell.

This includes;

  • Hairpin banksia
  • Yellow cassinia
  • Billy button
  • Sturt Desert pea
  • Flannel flower
  • Waratah
  • Pink Swamp heath
  • Wax flower

Plus a bunch more. Check the whole list of protected and threatened flowers here.

For plants and flowers that don’t appear on this list it’s not an offence to pick those, however if they’re a native flower, we still reckon ‘leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories’ is a pretty good principle to go by.

When are wildflowers in bloom?

Around the Sydney area and most of NSW, most wildflowers start to bloom around the end of winter and start of spring, with many bright yellow and red flowers coming out around then.

By the middle the spring, around October and November, flowers are in abundance.

However, some species make their bloom in winter such as the Blueberry lily, Purple flag and a bunch of native orchids.

In cooler areas, such as the Snowy Mountains, flowers make their entrance once the weather really heats up in summer.

Check out more about Indigenous season knowledge for deeper insight into the blooming of natives around the country.

Near Sydney

1. Royal National Park

Hikes: Coast Track, Curra Moors Track
Flowers: Gymea lily, Waratah

The heathland of the Royal National Park is home to bunches of delicate natives, and big, bold blossoms too. Most notably you can find the NSW floral emblem, the waratah, here on the sandy cliff tops.


Wild Sydney – A Photo Essay, photo by Chris Firth, Sydney, NSW, rainshower, flower

Photo by Chris Firth

2. Illawarra Escarpment Conservation Area

Hikes: Forest Walk, Brokers Nose
Flowers: Yellow prickly bush pea, pink finger native orchid, red and white native fuschia heath

A little further down the coast, the Illawarra Escarpment is a mix of eucalyptus forest and subtropical rainforest, creating an ever changing landscape. The cliff tops are abloom with unique local orchids.


Trek Across The Illawarra Escarpment On The Forest Walk, Amy Fairall, flower, tree, pink

3. Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Hikes: Cooks Nose Walking Track, Griffiths Walking Track
Flowers: Banksia, waratah, boronia, isopogon

Nestled between the Southern Highlands and Kiama coastline you’ll find Barren Grounds, a large open heathland with a splash of rainforest atop Jamberoo Mountain. This combo of habitats creates a space for a whole heap of rare species to flourish. Back your swimmers for a dip in the creek!


4. Blue Mountains National Park

Hikes: Lockleys Pylon, Leura Cascades to Giant’s Stairway, Grand Canyon Track
Flowers: Yellow wattle, flannel flower, blue native iris, vanilla lily, pink buttons, tea tree, waratah

You could make a whole bouquet with the brilliantly bright wildflowers you’ll find in the Blue Mountains. The national park is home to 1500 species of plants! Spend a weekend flower spotting and see if you can catch them all.

5. Myall Lakes National Park

Hikes: Dark Point Aboriginal Place, Mungo Walking Track
Flowers: Christmas bell, flannel flower, wonga wonga vine

Just past Newy you’ll find Myall Lakes National Park. Well known for its swamps and lake systems and nestled right next to the glorious Pacific Ocean, the area’s also flushed with coastal wildflowers in spring. Hike through the heathland to Johnsons or Shelly Beach.


6. Barrington Tops National Park

Hikes: Polblue Swamp Track, Junction Pools to Carey’s Peak
Flowers: Polblue eyebright, shiny and yellow cassinia, eastern hunchback orchid, smooth darling pea

A little further north you’ll find the gorgeous Gondwana rainforest of Barrington Tops National Park. This park brings together an unreal mix of swamps, grasslands, forests and of course, native wildflowers. From Carey’s Peak on a clear day you can see all the way to the coast, and the thousands of flowers that pave the way.


pterostylis_grandiflora_cobra_greenhood, katy lylak, native orchids

Photo by Katy Lylak

Around NSW

7. Kosciuszko National Park

Hikes: Main Range Track
Flowers: Purple eyebright, yellow billy button, everlasting daisy

Who said the Snowy Mountains are only worth a visit in winter? Once all that snow melts away (and the crowds too) the hills are alive with the sight of wildflowers. Most blooms need the full heat of summer to spring out, so save this trip for later in the year.


8. Nadgee Nature Reserve

Hikes: Nadgee Wilderness Walk, Merrica River Nature Trail
Flowers: Orange banksia, wedding bush, giant honey myrtle, pink and white heath, frangipani!

Way down south, bordering with Victoria, get lost in the wilderness of Nadgee Nature Reserve. Find a mixture of tropical and native flora here, framed by the perfectly blue Pacific. It’s pretty quiet down here! You’ll probably have the place and the flowers to yourself. 


9. Toorale National Park

Hikes: Warrego Floodplain Walking Track
Flowers: Bluebell, native pea, pigweed

To the wild, wild west! Every spring after a decent rainfall, Toorale National Park out near Bourke is decorated in hardy, desert blooms. These are flowers you won’t find around the city or coast, so if you’re searching for flowers you’ve never seen, Toorale is worth the roadtrip. Take the Darling River Drive around the park and keep an eye out for tiny emu chicks running around. 


Photo thanks to Destination NSW


Feature photo thanks to Destination NSW