Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wander through the dramatic scenery of Australia’s red centre, from vast dunes and sand plains to rocky escarpments and desert rivers.

Our Red Centre Garden features iconic plants from Central Australia including the mulga, desert oak, ghost gum, spinifex and saltbush.

The garden is inspired by ecosystems within 500 km of Alice Springs. This encompasses the northern parts of South Australia, Western Queensland, Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park and the southern parts of the Northern Territory.

The garden also showcases the significance of this region as the physical and spiritual heart of Indigenous Australia.

The Central Meeting Place

Close-up of the Central Meeting Place artwork

The Central Meeting Place is a highlight of the Red Centre Garden. It features a paved artwork with a stunning interpretation of Country by Indigenous artist Teresa Pula McKeeman.

Born in 1964, Teresa lives and paints in the traditional Country of her mother and grandmother on the outstation at Atnwengerrp, 40 km from the central Utopian or Alywarr community of Ampilatwatja in the Northern Territory.

“This painting is about the ceremonial dancing, but only the women can attend these ceremonies, performing sacred dance and songs. The younger girls are taught the dance movements, song, dreaming designs and stories.

“The women’s dancing has been done for many years at the ceremonial site. This painting represents the dance tracks that are left by the women. I…have applied my own style to depict the site and stories that have been passed onto me.” — Teresa Pula McKeeman, artist

Meet our thorny devil

The Red Centre Garden also boasts a sculpture of a remarkable central Australian lizard – the thorny devil.

Children admiring the thorny devil statue in the Red Centre garden