Wireless Hill Park
Directions - Located off Canning Hwy in Ardross, take Riseley St south and follow this to the lights for Almondbury Rd. Turn right and take this all the way into the reserve. Parking is located at various points around the one way loop.
The Walk - Wildflower season in Western Australia is something special and getting to see a good variety doesn't mean you have to travel a great distance into the Perth Hills. While urban expansion and infill means Perth is getting much larger and slightly more dense, little remnant patches of bushland in the inner suburbs can be great for getting a taste of the bush while still being close to home. Wireless Hill is one of those places and is often highlighted as a great place to see some of the rarer orchids that can be hard to find on other trails around Perth. Having lived pretty close to Wireless Hill for all of my life and spent many spring and summer days playing cricket a stone's throw away at Tompkins Park, I haven't actually visited the park since I was a very young kid.
Given it's right on my doorstep and perfect for a relaxing stroll, I think a little bit of trail snobbery crept in to me until recently. It was actually Caris that suggested we visit and so on a perfect late winter's afternoon following an enjoyable catch-up with friends, we loaded up the puppas and headed up to Wireless Hill. Originally this area was home to the Beeliar people that lived along the rivers of the Swan Coastal Plain with the most well written about figure being Yagan who lived here in the early 19th century. In the early 20th century it became the first radio telecommunication site in WA with a giant radio tower constructed in 1912. Able to communicate with ships offshore, it was a vital part of Australia's communication efforts in WWI and WWII. The two marked loop trails are longer than I expected given the size of the reserve and combined they give you a 1.8km twin loop. Parking at one of the designated car parks, we unloaded the dogs and figured out a plan of action for the afternoon. Wanting to get in the wildflowers and orchids in good light, I figured that the Wildflower Walk would be the best place to start and then we would move onto Yagan's Genunny to finish with.
The Wildflower Walk is a little paved loop that runs parallel with the entry road before heading back through the bush. Don't let that fool you though as there is an amazing variety to be found here on either side of the path. Straight away you can't help but notice the abundance of Kangaroo Paws making a colourful splash and it didn't take long before we spotted our first orchid in the form of a Donkey Orchid. The undergrowth is wisely protected from trampling by fencing but there is no worry about not being able to see anything because a lot of the wildflowers can easily be admired from the comfort of the pavement. Little information plaques are dotted along the trail to tell you the names of the various species and as always with these info boards, they rarely line up to the exact location of what is shown. Some of the early finds included a Blue Squill, a Catspaw, Parrot Bush, a couple of Pink Fairy Orchids, the well named Granny's Bonnet, a prickly Acacia, Milkweed, a Rattle Beak Orchid and some Cowslip Orchids.