Travelling to Alice Springs gives you the ultimate opportunity to view a part of the world where things look different. In Alice Springs the ground is red and the land is arid. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some native Australian plants in this arid landscape, there’s no better place than the Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
The Olive Pink Botanic Garden is a garden containing over 500 plants native to central Australia. If you decide to visit the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, you have to remember where you are. This garden isn’t going to be a lush, green oasis like a garden you might find elsewhere. It’s dry and dusty and until you look closer it might not look like much at all.
But the Garden is a truly wonderful place to take a drive to in your hire car when you’re visiting Alice Springs. It was founded in 1956 by Miss Olive Pink herself, a prominent anthropologist.
It officially opened to the public in 1985. Allegedly, Miss Pink, whose vision was a reserve where people could appreciate the native flora, planted many different trees and plants on the site during the years that she lived there. Whilst many of the plants Miss Pink planted didn’t survive the harsh summers, some of her original plantings still remain. Today the garden has grown to over 2,500 plants including 500 different species. Some of the plants you’ll see include qunadong, native lemon grass, sturts desert pea and bush passion fruit. You might even come across some local animals including birds and lizards.
A network of trails intertwine through the gardens providing you with the opportunity to view as many of these plants as possible. These trails take you on five different walks, three self-guided and two with information brochures to provide you with more information about what you’ll be seeing along the way.
The walks also take you up to Meyers Hill, known as Tharrarletneme to the Arrente speaking people. It’s a slight climb but once you reach the top it will all be worth it. Meyers Hill provides a wonderful vantage point, giving you views across Alice Springs. From up on Meyers Hill you’ll see everything including the Todd River and the West MacDonnell Ranges.
There’s a small visitor centre on site that holds various exhibitions throughout the year and there’s also a café called the Bean Tree Café which offers delicious gourmet home-style cooking. From time to time the café hosts musical events and film nights.
Getting to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden is really easy in your hire car. You can drive from your Hertz Alice Springs airport car rental location or from wherever you are staying in Alice to the Gardens, with access from Tuncks Road.
Entry to the Gardens is free. They are open from 10am to 6pm every day but the café, gift shop and visitor’s centre all close at 4pm.