Appreciating the distinctive qualities of arid land plants
Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
As part of National Science Week, you are invited to come and explore the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden from Saturday the 13th to Sunday the 21st of August 2022 between 9am and 4pm.
The Flinders region
With an average rainfall of less than 300 millimetres per year, Australia's arid lands are far from being barren or lifeless. The area is home to a large number of plants that thrive in extreme temperatures and prolonged periods of drought. Opened in 1996, the botanic garden aims to conserve these plants and promote them by encouraging appreciation of their distinctive qualities.
The garden showcases five regional collections including plants from the Flinders, Gawler and Eyre regions as well as Central Ranges and Great Victoria Desert. To me, the Flinders region was the most intriguing as its rugged peaks and rocky gorges support an array of plants not known to be found elsewhere in the world. A short detour from the Regional Walk led us to a lookout where we were rewarded with spectacular views across the garden to the Flinders Ranges. The bush food section of the garden was rather fascinating too.
The bush food section
A map of the garden can be downloaded from here. Or, if you prefer hardcopies, you can ask for a map at the visitor centre when you arrive. There is also signage throughout the garden, so rest assured you won't get lost. The walking tracks consist of both sealed and gravel pathways.
One of the walking tracks
The garden's onsite cafe offers a range of breakfast and lunch dishes as well as cakes and coffee. I especially loved their delicious quandong cake. They also have ice cream with native flavours such as quandong, native lime, lemon myrtle and wattle seed. As a 'sampler' serve gets you all four scoops, I couldn't resist ordering it too. These flavours are made using our very own Golden North ice cream produced at the Laura factory.
The botanic garden is located on the outskirts of Port Augusta at 144 Stuart Highway, approximately 310 kilometres from Adelaide. Entry is free and bookings are not required. Ample parking is available near the visitor centre. For those wishing to spend the night, I'd recommend Discovery Parks Port Augusta where you can get motel-style accommodation for an affordable price. We've stayed there twice and been happy both times.