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Cactus Country

Home > Melbourne > Escape the City | Gardens | Unusual Things to do | Walks | Weekend Escapes
by Janice Heath (subscribe)
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Published June 10th 2017
How very spiny
In sunny far Northern Victoria, just off the Murray Valley Highway in Strathmerton, you can find one of the State's more unusual tourist attractions. Cactus Country is an amazing tribute to some of the thornier forms of earth's flora.

Shades of the Wild West

While there is a sign on the road, the cacti gardens are down a lane off the highway and we might have passed by had I not been reading about them in the Farm Gate Trail brochure. Ten acres of cacti certainly seemed to promise an unusual experience so we stopped to have a look.

Welcome Sign

Formerly a peach orchard, after 30 years the collection is quite staggering in its scale and the sheer variety of cacti on display.

Inside there are several Mexican/South American themed function areas and a café. Armed with a folder on the history and a map I set off to explore what must be one of the more surreal landscapes in the area. There are eight trails which are colour coded and set out by country of origin. Being set back from the highway it's eerily quiet amongst some of the towering forests.

Just like Christmas trees only grey and spiky

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think that the stark landscapes would make a terrific backdrop for a movie and I have since read that the garden has featured in magazines and television productions.

It would be a totally offbeat place to have a wedding. Certainly there are plenty of scenes to delight the photographer.

Here's one in flower

There's also a nursery where they have plants for sale should you like to take home some easy-care succulents.

A bad hair day for these cacti

I didn't have time to stop and sample the cactus ice cream and cactus cake after walking around the gardens but I would very much have liked to as they are reportedly delicious. Also on the menu are a variety of Mexican foods and a range of beverages from coffee to margaritas.

Strathmerton is approximately three hours drive from Melbourne so while you could visit for a day trip, an overnight or weekend trip would be more relaxing and allow you visit some of the other attractions around the area. The Murray River is nearby as is the Barmah National Park. Cobram, Echuca and Yarrawonga are not far away and the other spots on the Farm Gate Trail offer a range of farms to visit with varying produce such as fruits, garlic, wine and beer.

I found Cactus Country a rather unique and fascinating place to explore and experience some landscapes that I don't think you'd find anywhere else in Australia.
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Why? Visit a different kind of garden
When: Seven days, 9.00am - 5.00pm
Phone: 0427 745 271
Where: 4986 Murray Valley Highway, Strathmerton
Cost: Adult $12.50, Seniors $10, Child $5
Your Comment
What a great article. I relished every word and image.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4541) 67 days ago
What an unusual outing, Janice - I've only ever seen cacti like that in Arizona - the saguaro cactus!
by Elaine (score: 3|3957) 67 days ago
Maybe not a great place to take my little boy dog - ouchies lol! What a great find and terrific article!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2584) 67 days ago
Great article, looks like an interesting place.
by Irenke Forsyth (score: 3|1078) 67 days ago
That first photo reminded me of my trip to Saguaro National Park in USA. Would be delighted to visit its Aussie counterpart :) Lovely article Janice.
by Diana (score: 2|576) 48 days ago
Foodi Photoh Classie
Cactus Country (article)
by Alisa Donato on 01/05/2014
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