It’s true that gardening can be a costly business, but enjoying the gardens around our state doesn’t have to be.
Fee free fun
There are many gardens and parks all over South Australia that you can visit without paying any entry charges. These green spaces range from small gardens in Adelaide like the beautiful Himeji Japanese Gardens in the southern parklands to Dingley Dell Conservation Park in the South East.
There are beautiful botanic gardens, wonderful wetlands with boardwalks, community gardens that welcome fellow gardeners to come and have a look and a chat, and conservation parks where you can rediscover nature. Here are just a selection of places to explore; take the whole family and have fun without making a big dent in the budget.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
The Adelaide Botanic Garden features a vast collection of plants, some showcased in the Bicentennial Conservatory and the International Rose Garden. With free guided tours, it can be education as well as fun to explore what the site has to offer.
Location: North Terrace, Adelaide CBD
Mount Lofty Botanic Garden
Overlooking Adelaide, the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden has sprawling trails that wind through international and native plants. Commissioned sculptures and art pieces scatter the grounds, adding to the picturesque scene.
Location: Lampert Road, Crafers
Wittunga Botanic Garden
Within suburbia, the Wittunga Botanic Garden displays water-wise plants from Australia and South Africa. A stunning seasonal parade of ericas and proteas and plants from Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula also feature.
Location: Shepherds Hill Road, Blackwood
Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
Port Augusta’s Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden presents a diverse collection of arid plants that thrive in Australia’s dry climate. Residing on the coast, the unique contrast of arid and marine environments is distinctive.
Location: Stuart Highway, Port Augusta West
The developing community-loved space is set to produce clean water for other parks. With impressive wildlife and a picnic/BBQ area, visitors can connect with nature amongst the old river red gums scattering the Oaklands Wetland.
Location: Oaklands Road, Oaklands Park
Listed as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, the arid region is home to local wildlife and offers a scenic contrast of sand dunes and wetlands. From canoeing to bushwalks, the Coongie Lakes flourishes with visitor activities.
Location: Coongie Lakes National Park, Innamincka
Winner of the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award, the picturesque Laratinga Wetlands and its native plants, cultural history and walking trails attract visitors time and time again.
Location: Bald Hills Road, Mount Barker
One of the largest and most diverse freshwater lagoon systems in southern Australia, the seasonal wetland is a birdwatcher’s dream. The 500-metre boardwalk over the wetlands allows the visitor to (almost literally) walk on water!
Location: Bool Lagoon Road, Bool Lagoon
Banrock Station Wetland
Recognised by the Ramsar Convention, the Banrock Station Wetland sits on the renowned viticultural property. The 1375-hectare wetlands house a wide-ranging collection of plants and wildlife.
Location: Holmes Road, Kingston
Aldinga Community Garden
The Aldinga Community Garden is focused on cultivating produce for community events, which is sold to community members. Any produce left over is given to those in need.
Location: Butterworth Road, Aldinga Beach
Old Mount Gambier Gaol Community Garden
As the name suggests, the Old Gaol Mount Gambier Community Garden hasn’t always been a garden. However the space is now celebrating ten years in the community and showcasing diversity in the community through plants.
Location: O’Halloran Terrace, Mount Gambier
Duck Flat Community Garden
Originally run by the community health service, the Duck Flat Community Garden boasts health and social benefits. Utilised as a space for the public and community groups, the garden is also home to community art projects.
Location: Deer Avenue, Mount Barker
Whitmore Square Verge Garden
The Whitmore Square Verge Garden was created by council and community uniting on a long overdue community project. Residing between Gouger Street and The Magdalene Centre, the garden is open to those from all walks of life
Location: North-western side of
OTHER PARKS & GARDENS
Waite Arboretum displays a diverse plant collection including 800 species of genera. Group guided tours are available and the free Waite Arboretum mobile app allows self-guided tours.
Location: Walter Young Avenue, Urrbrae
Himeji Garden Adelaide
Prepare for the culture shift as you enter the majestic Adelaide Himeji Garden. A site of religious significance for Japanese visitors, it features both “senzui” (lake and mountain) and “kare senzui” (dry) gardens.
Location: Cnr South Terrace and
Glen Osmond Road
Rymill Park allows visitors to walk along the rose gardens and tree-lined avenues. With playgrounds and BBQ facilities, the space is perfect for a family outing.
Location: East Terrace, Adelaide
Carrick Hill’s formal gardens feature orchids and cutting beds, while the outer grounds consist of native bushland. The Storybook Trail, based on children’s classics such as The Secret Garden is a lovely way to entertain the family.
Location: Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield
A community project, Barossa Bushgardens showcases the native plants local to the Barossa region along walking trails. Featuring the Sensory Garden and the CFS Fire-wise Garden, self-guided tours are available.
Location: Penrice Road, Nuriootpa
A unique sunken garden, the Umpherston Sinkhole dates from 1886. Descending to the garden floor allows visitors to be surrounded by lush garden terraces. The sinkhole is open from dawn to dusk and, as the sun sets, the garden comes alive with the hundreds of possums who call the space home.
Location: Jubilee Highway East, Mt Gambier
Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve
The Simpson Desert Conservation Park is a photographer’s dream as pink lakes meet red sand dunes and the dense scrubland showcases colourful wildflowers. Seasoned 4WD travellers can explore the endless landscape between March and December.
Location: Simpson Desert Conservation Park, Simpson Desert
Dingley Dell Conservation Park
A site of inspiration, the Dingley Dell Conservation Park is adorned with native golden wattles. Once home to the renowned poet Adam Lindsay Gordon, the bushland and gardens are perfect for a picnic.
Location: Dingley Dell Road, Port MacDonnell
This article first appeared in the winter 2018 issue of SA Gardens & Outdoor Living.