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Waite Gardens & Labyrinth

Home > Adelaide > Gardens | Free | Walks
by Hazel Cochrane (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, photographer & fitness instructor. I enjoy hiking and kayaking and writing walking. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/greataussiewalks
Published September 28th 2019
Don't wait to walk at Waite
Just 10 minutes from the city on the Waite Campus, lies the peaceful, fragrant and colourful Waite Gardens.

Open daily from dawn until dusk, the beautifully manicured gardens surround Urrbrae House, a museum accredited by the History Trust of South Australia. The property was the former residence of Peter and Matilda and their eight children. In 1914, the land was bequeathed by Peter Waite to the University of Adelaide.

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Arch to Eva's Garden


Walking through the serene gardens, along the lavender garden or through the rose arbour stretching from Urrbrae House to Claremont Avenue, history surrounds you, places where the Waite family may have played croquet, entertained on the lawns or strolled through an orchard with over one hundred trees.

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Waite House Surrounded by Gardens


Wandering along the stone paths, among the roses and sculptures, you may meet others, who walk with their dogs or sit on the wooden seats under the ageing trees to enjoy a place of reflection and relaxation.

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Old buildings near the gardens


While sections of the original garden still exist, many changes have taken place. A tennis court is now a labyrinth, Eva's Garden and the Wild Garden were features used by the Waite family. Roses link the current gardens, curated for the past twenty years by Jennifer Gardner with involvement from the community, including research scientists from the Waite campus, local residents and gardening groups. Comprising over 200 species of roses and varieties that represent each decade, the Twentieth Century Rose Garden incorporates many features from the original garden established by Peter Waite, including the rose arbour. In 1956, the original rose garden had deteriorated and become overgrown, fortunately in 1958 a new rose garden was planted, starting a series of work programs to bring the gardens to its current beauty.

Dance into the Light- Sculpture by Melissa Judge
"Dance into the Light


The discovery of a series of sculptures throughout the garden add to the sensory experience of the gardens. The Garden of Discovery, celebrating scientific research at Waite area, features outdoor books and interpretive panels written by Denise Schumann and the bronze sculpture "Dance into the Light" by Melissa Judge. Featuring Ceres, the goddess of grain and custodian of fertility of the land, dancing with her daughter Proserpina.

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Waite Arboretum


For those who want to wander among the tall trees, the Waite Arboretum, a 30-hectare park with over 2000 trees. Established in 1928, the Arboretum includes an avenue of 68 heritage listed English Elms and is a place for the protection of wildlife. Walking through the arboretum, you can almost forget that the traffic from the road is less than half a kilometre away. You can follow a short path or wander a little longer among the eucalypts, palms, pears and oaks, although dogs are not allowed in the arboretum.

To experience a walk-through history and the beauty of the gardens, turn onto Waite Road, off Cross Road and park near the old stable's buildings. You can even finish with a coffee from the Lirra Lirra Caf!
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Why? A peaceful and scenic walk at Waite.
When: Dusk until dawn every day
Phone: 8313 7497
Where: Waite Gardens and Arboretum
Cost: Free!
Your Comment
Very nice writing Hazel. I teach at Mercedes College and we run Criss country through the gardens often. It is such a gem! I’ve also run a few of my Hydropath Society Wine WalkAbout up the back hillside behind the uni and it is super scenic. I’m listing a few more dates in Nov 10 ( Belair) and 24 ( Chambers Gully) that you might enjoy. Cheers
Tom Robinson.
by ratfa (score: 0|9) 18 days ago
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