Arriving early afternoon in Port Augusta from Gawler allowed us the opportunity to visit and spend some time walking around the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of town. As we drove in we noticed some wonderful iron sculptures of native Australian plants on the gateposts. After driving about a kilometre we reached the car park. After parking our car we collected a brochure detailing a few of the walking trails in the gardens. From there it was a short walk to the pedestrian entry gate. Here one can read the history of how these Botanic Gardens came to be. (More details at the conclusion.) We collected a walks brochure and read it for a few minutes. As two of the walks overlapped for a bit we decided to start the Highlights Walk.
Soon we noticed some Eremophilas in flower
as well as a wild tomato.
Near the Visitors centre we spotted a beautiful Sturt Desert Pea in bloom.
Along the way there were some sculptures interspersed in between the plants. This one caught our attention. Entitled Bush Flies, it was created by Anna Small.
Informative information boards kept us informed and entertained at times.
Absolutely loved the gumnuts on this Eucalyptus youngiana
and the flowers on this Eucalyptus kruseana were spectacular
and the trunks on the Eucalyptus salicola were lovely.
One of our favourite sections were the Arid courtyard gardens. An information board at the entry to each showed a plan and gave a plant list.
As we completed our circuit we were lucky enough to see two more tough but delicate Eremophilas
as well as an information board about Robert Brown, the botanist who had travelled with Explorer Navigator, Matthew Flinders in 1802 when they mapped and visited Spencer Gulf. Brown had collected and named many of the Eremophilas.
As we exited the gardens we saw a Flinders Ranges wattle in bloom.
Very apt as across the gulf we could see the Flinders Ranges in the distance too
and the red cliffs along the edge of the Spencer Gulf certainly stood out as we drove back towards the caravan park.
For garden and plant lovers, especially native Australian plant lovers this garden is a must if you are in this part of South Australia.
A Brief Timeline History of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens in Port Augusta
1981 First proposal to set up the gardens on its current site.
1988 To commemorate Australia’s Bicentennial the entrance gate was built.
1991 – 1994 WMC Ltd, Australian Federal Government and Port Augusta City Council jointly fund and develop the gardens.
1996 Eremophilas were planted out.
2004 A new entrance gate with sculptures was created, the gardens were upgraded and the walking tracks were made.
2008-9 Sculptures were added