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3 Reasons to Visit Cactus Country in Strathmerton

Home > Melbourne > Gardens | Outdoor | Parks | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Amelia Warrandyte (subscribe)
Walker. Coffee drinker. Writer.
Published August 20th 2019
Picturesque prickles
The surrounding regions of the Murray River are composed of flat, barren, sun-beaten land.

In Summer, holiday-goers from Melbourne flock to Barmah State Forest and towns like Echuca to wallow in the sun. Kayaking or fishing on the river provides them with some relief from the heat.

Off of the Murray River Highway in the suburb of Strathmerton is one business taking full advantage of the dry and desert-like conditions.

Cactus Country, Australia's largest collection of cacti, has more than 4,000 species of cacti and succulents in one location.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Every cacti species known to man.


The cacti have been plucked from various warm climate destinations across the globe, including Mexico, America and the Sahara. Unsurprisingly, the plants thrive in the toasty conditions of the Murray region.

At just over three hours' drive from Melbourne, Cactus Country may seem like a challenge to visit. However, thousands of Melbournians are making the effort to witness the unique gardens each year.

Here's why.


1. Experience a garden like no other

Literally - these cacti grounds are unlike any other in Australia.

The 12-acre garden is essentially a never-ending field of desert vegetation. From the entrance of the gardens, the layers of cacti appear to continue all the way to the horizon.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Thriving in the heat.


Some of the most common varieties in the garden include the Mexican Giant cactus, the Organ Pipe cactus, the Strawberry Hedgehog cactus, and the Golden Barrel cactus.

Visitors can access all corners and areas of the garden by making use of the eight walking trails that zigzag between the abundant foliage.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Kilometres of trails.


When entering the main area, visitors will also be provided with a comprehensive guide booklet that details all relevant information about the various plant types.

Most of the vegetation is grouped by its country of origin, so walkers can feel as though they are travelling through sections of the globe.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Garden entrance.


2. Ample photographic opportunities

Cactus Country is renowned for its photographic possibilities. The bristly succulents and dry plants produce a rustic and rugged feel for imagery and can be the ultimate backdrop to achieve a wild west aesthetic.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Desert greenery.


Models and professional photographers regularly visit the gardens for wedding, pregnancy, fashion and product shoots.

The predominant colour themes exposed in Cactus Country photographs are browns, yellows and mild greens. If you plan to shoot with a human subject in the image, I recommend dressing them in orange/yellow/red (to match the background theme), or bold black/white (to contrast and stand out).

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Succulents of varying sizes.


If you're not convinced of the imagery potential, just search #cactuscountry on Instagram and take note of the 17,000 influencer shots.

3. Take home a prickly friend

As well as hosting a public garden, Cactus Country has a nursery where the public can purchase their own succulent or plant to take home.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
A Mexican cactus.


Cactus plants are some of the simplest plants to care for, as their familiarity with dry conditions means they do not need to be watered often. Generally, all they require is adequate sun.

Cacti in pots are common decor items for homes and can make a treasured gift for birthdays and celebrations.

In the gift shop, you will also discover some edible cactus products, such as cactus jams and cactus honey. Furthermore, there is aloe essence moisturiser made from the resident aloe plants.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Enough to satisfy any plant-lover.


Ready to meander among the prickles?

Then get going!

To reach the plant-loving paradise, most people will take the Hume Freeway from Melbourne, and then connect onto the Goulburn Valley Highway. The gardens are positioned between the towns of Yielima and Cobram on the Murray River Highway.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Unique views.


The gardens are generally quieter during the week, making it easier and more peaceful for photography. However, if you choose to visit at peak periods, you may have the opportunity to join in on a Cactus Country event.

Upon arriving at the park, you will need to pay a small fee to enter the gardens. This will include access to the restaurant/bar, walking trails, information guides and nursery/gift shop.

On the menu at the restaurant, guests can indulge in nachos, cactus cake and cactus ice-cream, as well as typical Mexican beverages.

Good flowering time is in Spring, and generally best between October and November. It is best to visit on a clear, sunny day as rain can sometimes make the walking trails muddy.

cactus country, strathmerton, murray river, echuca, melbourne, garden, cactus, nursery
Make your visit to the gardens this weekend.


Why do you love Cactus Country?
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Why? Experience Melbourne's most loved garden.
When: The gardens are open 7 days a week, 9am - 5pm.
Phone: 0427 745 271
Where: 4986 Murray Valley Highway, Strathmerton, VIC.
Cost: Adult: $17.50. Seniors: $15.00. Children (5-15 years): $7.50. Infants aged 0-5 years: free.
Your Comment
That looks really intetesting. It will definitely be on our list next time we're up that way.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7511) 113 days ago
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