Urban Exploration – The Cactus Ranch

From the early 1950s, the Arizona Cactus Ranch delighted holidaymakers on the long trip from Adelaide to the Yorke Peninsula. Established in 1952, the Arizona Cactus Ranch was the result of one man’s passion inspired by a visit to the USA – an oasis of hundreds of varieties of cacti and succulent. The dry arid land in this area ensured that the cacti flourished. Adorned with landscaped paths, footbridges, concrete statues and hidden alcoves, the ranch operated by donation only and was otherwise free of charge to visitors. In later years a café was established to sell refreshments, providing a welcome relief to travellers to stop for a break and stretch their legs in the gardens.

After the death of the owner, the property was sold in the early 1980s and never reopened to the public. It was used briefly as a set for the 1999 SA Film Corp movie Siam Sunset but has otherwise been abandoned since its closure.

These days the cacti have gone wild. Snakes, lizards and giant orb spiders lurk waiting for the unwary.  The once manicured paths and gardens are overgrown, the statues mostly smashed or stolen, the café and house stripped and decaying. Only glimpses remain of what was once a must see location for SA holidaymakers.

What are your memories of the Arizona Cactus Ranch?

6 thoughts on “Urban Exploration – The Cactus Ranch

  1. What a fantastic tribute to this hard working man of the past, Scott, in your photographs .
    Amazing !
    I can see his narly face being really surprised and happy at such interest.
    We always stopped on our way back from Summer Holidays that way , my Mum Betty being a real gardener and she liked to share words and a stretch.
    Thankyou so much Scott, for these so really well captured gems of the feeling of this cacti Oasis !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember calling in there in the early days, on our way back from yorks, A great pitty it has been let go. The state gov, should MAKE the owner/s clean up the property.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To whom it may concern

    Just I want to inform you that I have purchased the cactus farm near port Wakefield. After my purchase, I came to know its significant and a lot of people have their childhood memories with it. So now I am planning to develop it and bring its glory back. Doing it, is a gigantic task don’t know what to do and where to start. After seeing your comments, is there any help or idea I can expect from you or someone who reads this?



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