After 5 days of very hot weather up in Kyabram or Ky as the locals call it, which raises an interesting question of the pronunciation of Kyabram and Kyneton – but that’s a whole other story, 31 December 2019 had cooler weather forecasted so we made the most of it. We finished the year/decade with a long overdue visit to Cactus Country in Strathmerton (approximately 3 hours north of Melbourne, near Cobram).
What an awesome place! If you love cactus and succulents, then this is the place for you. They have over 4,000 species from around the globe spread over 12 acres. Easy to follow coloured trails (borrow a folder containing maps and descriptions of the different varieties and where they are from) allow you to wander around marvelling at the range and size of their collection – with plans to continue expanding!
Many of the cactus were still in flower, although if you want to see them in full bloom, October/November is probably the best time of the year. They are open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.
Owner Jim Hall has done a brilliant job of bringing a little bit of Mexico to Victoria and he was more than happy to chat and share his passion for all things prickly. As well as the gorgeous gardens, they have a café, bar and restaurant on site and lots of cute little nooks and crannies that make for some fabulous Instagram moments (if you’re into that sort of thing). Not surprising that they hold weddings and functions here, it makes for a great back drop. We tried the Cactus Cake and that was delish – super moist, but a bit early for Margaritas (never too early?).
Many know my love of skulls, so I loved the Mexican graveyard with its Day of the Dead theme – wore a skull t-shirt for the occasion. They host a Day of the Dead fiesta which looks like lots of fun, must return for that! Sunset and night-time tours are also available – check the website for details.
They also have an area for plant sales on site where you can add to your own collection. Some of the unusual Elephant’s foot, (), available. Resembling an elephant’s foot or a tortoise shell they belong to the yam family and are native to semi-arid areas in southern Africa. They are not cheap, but they do make an interesting talking point.
All in all, well worth the visit. Oh and dogs are welcome, so even Lola got to enjoy being part of the day and meeting Oreo the local doggy on-site. Just watch where they walk and pee – cactus spikes can hurt!
|Love the graveyard for a bit of fun!|
|Lola enjoying her day out exploring|
|The unusual Elephant's Foot - at $450 for this one, not cheap!|