Top 9 wildflowers to spot in Sydney Harbour National Park
Did you know that approximately 400 native species of wildflower can be found within Sydney Harbour National Park? As one of the most accessible national parks in this glorious harbour city, spectacular floral displays are just one of the many reasons why you should don on your trainers or walking boots and enjoy a leisurely walk through this natural bushland.
To help you identify and appreciate the beautiful indigenous flora of Australia, I’ve put together a collection of my top 9 flowers that I frequently come across during my hikes between Taronga Zoo to Georges Head and Middle Head via Bradleys Head and Chowder Bay.
Eggs and Bacon, Healthy Parrot Pea (Dillwynia retorta (J.C. Wendl) Druce
Taking its common name ‘Eggs and Bacon Plant’ from the bright yellow pea-shaped flowers, with dark red to brown centres, this native deep green shrub puts on spectacular golden displays when in full bloom during winter to late spring. Growing to approximately two metres tall, watch out for the prickly pointed tips, which those orange-yellow flowers grow off, typically in clusters.
When does Healthy Parrot Pea flower?
May to November
Fuschia Heath, Native Fuschia (Epacris longiflora Cav.)
One of my favourite wildflowers to see during my walks through Sydney Harbour National Park, this prickly shrub is easily identified by its trumpet-like tubular pink and white-tipped flowers. Commonly found on rocky sandstone in the shade and moist understorey woodland, these delicate flowers are approximately 2cm long and attract native bees, ants and various other insects. When in full bloom, they dazzle walkers with their brilliant pink explosion of colour.
When does Fuschia Heath flower?
April to November and occasionally at other times
Flannel Flower, Native Edelweiss (Actinotus helianthin Labill.)
This ivory white flower gets is name ‘flannel flower’ due to its soft, felt-like touch and woolly-like hairs and tufts that cover the whole plant. Its leaves are a grey-green colour and divided into threes, arranged alternately around the long stems. Similar to a daisy but larger, the flannel flower can grow between 2.5 to 8cm.
When do Flannel Flowers flower?
October to April and occasionally at other times
Lance-Leaf Crowea (Crowea saligna Andrews)
This slender shrub grows to approximately 70cm high with angular branches and dark green leaves containing the small 1cm long single purple/bright pink flower. Each flower has five overlapping petals and a prominent raised centre which attracts native bees and butterflies.
When does Lance-Leaf Crowea flower?
February to May and intermittently at other times
Sunshine Wattle, Port Jackson Wattle (Acacia terminalis subsp. terminalis)
Easily identified for its small creamy white to pale yellow ball-like flowers, which are often clustered together off small angular branches on a 1.5-metre-high spreading shrub. Sunshine Wattle is classed as endangered, but you can view this flower mainly along near-coastal areas throughout the northern shores of Sydney Harbour all the way south to Botany Bay. Small birds like the Silvereye and Eastern Spinebill along with bees and flies are natural pollinators.
When does Sunshine Wattle flower?
February to June
Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia var longifolia (Andrews) Willd. Subsp. Longifolia)
Similar to the Sunshine Wattle, this shrub grows to 4 metres high and contains bright golden-yellow ball flowers with numerous free stamens. These flowers are grouped along a spiky stalk and grow to approximately 5cm long. The flowers and pollen attract insects, native bees and exotic honey bees as well as parrots who feed on the seeds.
When does Sydney Golden Wattle flower?
June to November
White Spider Flower (Grevillea linearifolia (Cav.) Druce)
Taking its common name ‘White Spider Flower’ due to its spider-like flowers which turn red with age. These white or pinkish flowers are grouped in short terminal clusters and attract pollinators. Look for the long linear leaves that comprise silver-silky hairs on the underside. Also, keep an eye out for the Red Spider Flower (Grevillea speciosa (Knight) McGill.) throughout the Sydney Harbour National Park.
When does the White Spider Flower flower?
July to November and sporadically at other times
Flaky-barked Tea Tree, Slender Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium (Sm.) Joy Thomps.
This shrub or tree typically grows to a height of 4 metres tall and can be identified by its tiny white flowers with five white petals and many stamens around a red ring. The tree has papery layered bark with thin layers peeling away, whilst this bark is rougher on older plants. Birds use this bark to build their nests, whilst the flowers attract pollinators including native bees, honey bees, flies and beetles.
When does the Flaky-barked Tea Tree flower?
September to October
Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana (Andrews) Steenis
The Wonga Wonga Vine is a quick-growing, native twisting climber which can climb metres long over bushes and shrubs. It contains many cream, pendulous bell flowers in terminal clusters and looks spectacular when in full bloom. The creamy-white flowers with purple veining are shaped like trumpets and grow to approximately 2cm. You can typically see it on shallow sandy soils in moist forest areas.
When does the Wonga Wonga Vine flower?
August to November
How to get to Sydney Harbour National Park?
The best way to travel to Sydney Harbour National Park when walking from Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay is by ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo Wharf.
Take a leisurely 12-minute ferry ride across Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo Wharf. Ferries generally run every 30 minutes in the week and every 20 minutes at weekends.
The 238 bus frequently runs between Balmoral and Taronga Zoo Wharf via Mosman and aligns with the ferry timetable. During the week the bus runs every 30 minutes or every 20 minutes at weekends. From Chowder Bay, you can get the 244 bus back to Wynyard train station in Sydney CBD via Mosman and Neutral Bay.
If coming by car, you can park for free along Athol Wharf Road. I recommend arriving early to secure a spot. Alternatively, there is limited car parking at Bradleys Head car park at a rate of $8 per vehicle per day.
Learn more about Sydney's wildflowers on a guided tour
For an in depth insight into Sydney Harbour national Park's wildflowers and wildlife, take a guided tour with Alan from EcoWalks Tours. PLUS, save 10% with my special promo code, 'bitesizetraveller'.