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.
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.
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.
And when you venture into the Paperback Forest, the Spider Orchids are found in abundance.
As you continue the walks you find the Yate trees, where we found these delightful little Rabbit Orchids. These are my new favourite!
We are also lucky enough to find this green 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.
And don't forget about the Fairy Orchids.
These Purple Enamel Orchids were in bushland just east of the campground.
And finally the for the Spider Orchids. We believe we found four different varieties growing at Dunns.
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.