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Treasure Hunting - WA Style!

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

By KP, Dunns Ecopark Campsite Visitor

Aside from the great facilities and beautiful surroundings, there is another hidden treasure at Dunns Ecopark. Orchids!

A week ago, I knew nothing about West Australia’s Native Orchids beyond the little donkey orchids that pop up in my garden in Perth every year. After a trip to Dunn’s, I’m an expert! Well, an expert at spotting the delicate little flowers popping out amongst the undergrowth as we wandered around Dunn’s walk trails.

You don’t even need to leave the campground to find these treasures. I found this little Mignonette Orchid right behind our swags.

Common Mignonette Orchid

And scattered throughout the campground, under the blue gums are an abundance of sun orchids and spider orchids. In a little paperbark thicket near the playground are cowslips. And the introduced South African Orchid, naturalized to WA, was popping up everywhere.

Sun Orchids under the Blue Gums. It was a little early for them to open for us.
Delicate Spider Orchids are found throughout the campground and walk trails.

Cowslip Orchids. Their bright yellow flowers are easy to spot.

Dunns Ecopark features two walking trails to enjoy the remnant bushland and wetlands which have been protected from cattle grazing for many years. The walk trail signs describe "Orchid Meadows" and they are not exaggerating. There are places where the orchids, particularly the Common Bee Orchids and Swamp Mignonette carpet the ground.

A meadow of Common Bee Orchids with tiny Swamp Mignonettes hiding between, bordering a Paperback Forest

And when you venture into the Paperback Forest, the Spider Orchids are found in abundance.

Spider Orchids under the Paperbarks

As you continue the walks you find the Yate trees, where we found these delightful little Rabbit Orchids. These are my new favourite!

A lovely little Rabbit Orchid
Rabbit Orchids were scattered throughout this small clearing under the Yate trees

We are also lucky enough to find this green spider orchid.

Pointing Spider Orchid

Scented Sun Orchids grew prolifically along the Boyatup Walk Trail. They were shy to open up but we found a few willing to show their faces.

Scented Sun Orchids along the walk trail

This little Sun Orchid came out to say hello

And don't forget about the Fairy Orchids.

White Fairies grew in patches like these.

While the Pink Fairy grew alone.

These Purple Enamel Orchids were in bushland just east of the campground.

Purple Enamel Orchid

Purple Enamel Orchid - but more pink

And finally the for the Spider Orchids. We believe we found four different varieties growing at Dunns.

Hybrid between Esperance King Spider Orchid and Esperance White Spider Orchid.

Esperance White Spider Orchid
Esperance White Spider Orchid, lutea form.

Unknown Species

We heard from the Camp Host that other campers had found 30 different species. For a pair of amateurs, I think we did pretty well with 16. We saw evidence of species yet to flower like this patch which may be Helmet Orchids or Mosquito Orchids.

We had a great time at Dunns Ecopark and orchid hunting was an unexpected pleasure. I highly recommend staying on your next trip to Esperance and staying a few days for the treasure hunting.

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