13 Sep 2021
Native wildflowers are bringing colour to some of Australia’s most remote National Parks and Gardens.
The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens in Port Augusta has come to life this Spring.
Bright yellows, cherry reds and lavender hues have all bloomed in SA’s north - more proof that Australia’s arid lands are far from lifeless or barren.
“We stopped here overnight on the way to the Southern Flinders,” SA traveller Jocelyn Milbank told us when she shared these photos last week.
“Port Augusta has such a scenic backdrop and everything you need to stock up on.
“We went to the gardens in the morning and heard the beautiful birds talking. We did the big loop and saw the beginning of the Spencer Gulf.
“There were lots of great markers along the way to tell you the historical significance of the area.”
The ‘big loop’ that Joc refers to is the Red Cliff Walk, which offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the real ‘arid’ heart of Australia.
Winding its way through a range of stunning landscapes, the 4.5 kilometre hike includes woodlands, saltbush plains and claypan country towards the dazzling red cliffs of the Spencer Gulf.
Other options include a 30 min highlights walk through the Eremophila Garden, home to more 140 species of arid zone and other birds that are attracted to the annual blooms. Inside the Bush Food Garden here there are several species of medicinal and food plants used by First Nations people for thousands of years, while the garden’s ‘AridSmart’ display demonstrates how to create your own waterwise garden.
A 1.4 km ‘Regional Walk’ takes visitors through a diverse collection of flora from a number of regions, including the nearby Flinders Ranges, Gawler Ranges and West Coast Mallee, and has views of the garden and the greater Flinders Ranges, making it a great spot to soak in the sights and sounds of arid Australia.
A short walk suitable for children is also available, including a fun ‘hide and seek’ game featuring some of the animal and bird life common in the region.
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Guided walking tours of the garden start daily at 10am from Monday to Friday excluding public holidays, and are a great way to experience the garden with a passionate local.
The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens also sells a range of AridSmart plants so that you can recreate the native wildflowers you see here in your own backyard or courtyard!
Check out their list of seasonally available plants which can be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on (08) 8641 9056. There is also a licensed cafe and gift shop to remember your visit to this part of Central Australia.
Other nearby attractions include the interactive Wadlata Outback Centre, where you can walk in the shoes of the Aboriginal people who have called the area home for 40,000 years and still live on the land created by their spiritual ancestors. Listen to their stories about the Dreamtime that created the land and be moved by their deep connection to it.
The Royal Flying Doctor’s Service is also not far away and well worth a visit. Take their 30 minute tour by gold coin donation and see aircraft and crews at work inside the Port Augusta base. This hub of operation covers an incredible 840,000 square kilometres of outback South Australia. Tours are on Mon-Fri at 10am and 2pm.