Wild flowers are the joy of October in the Adelaide Hills

27 11 2008

If beaches, wineries, restaurants and culture have all become a bit passe … how about some healthy exercise? All you need is good pair of sneakers, a sun hat, a water bottle — and a reason to walk a few kilometers in the fresh air.

October has the potential to be the best month in South Australia. On an average day it’s warm without being hot, there’ll be plenty of sunshine and also plenty of cloud (though little in the way of rain lately; the drought is settling in, big time), and it’s early enough in the season for the countryside to still be as green as Ireland. In fact —

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–everything in the world seems to be blooming. Australia is not well known, overseas, for its wild flowers, but if there’s a botanist hiding inside you … if you have a camera with a “macro” function you can’t wait to put to the test … then here’s your big chance. There’s no better time so visit SA than October, because —

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— it’s the one time of the year when you can wander a cool, green woodland trail, and see both delicate floral beauties no bigger than your thumb nail, and huge great “flowers” that look more like a yard scrubbing brush! Australia being Australia, much of our flora (as well as our fauna) is different. Even the folks who live here are constantly astonished by the variety in the flowers —

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— which seem to explode into color when spring begins to warm. The honey bees downunder are a little different from those in the northern hemisphere; many of those you’ll see in the countryside are wild. They’re smaller than European and American honey bees, but they work just as hard…

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…and they’re equally as harmless. Incidentally, there are kinds of honey down here that, if you’re a honey fancier, you just have to try. We don’t have the heather honeys, but try the yellow box on your toast at breakfast.

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Virtually any of the national parks offers fantastic opportunities to see South Australia’s wild flowers in October of any year. Our recommendation would have to be Belair National Park, for several reasons. It’s so easy to get to — just minutes from the suburbs; it’s big enough to get off the beaten path and go “bushwhacking,” with a great chance of also seeing koalas, kangaroos and emus; and since it’s in the hills, it’s also inclined to be cooler and greener than other parks … of which there are many. And we’ll be visiting those on this blog in the weeks to come.

The photos on this post were captured at Belair, and at Worrawong Earth Sactuary.