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?