The Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney’s most beautiful attraction is the oldest scientific institution in Australia and one of the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest public parks.
Opened in 1816 by founder Governor Macquarie, the park was built on farmland and became famous for its rare collections of exotic fauna and flora hailing from other countries, which ranged from the Pacific Islands to Southeast Asia. Today the garden is incredibly rich and diverse, housing different zones that are open to the public. The lay of the land creates a natural amphitheater, with each individual area – the Middle Gardens, Lower Gardens, Bennelong Precinct, Palace Gardens, and Palm Grove Center – sloping toward Farm Cove’s waters.
The loveliest portion of the park is the Lower Gardens, offering the Victoria Lodge, the Main Ponds, the Maiden Pavilion, Henry Lawson Gates, the Yurong, the HBSC Oriental Garden, and gorgeous harbor views along the water’s edge.
While touring the gardens, you’ll see orchids, the rare and endangered Wollemi pine, begonias, tropical foliage, a palm grove, fig trees, and a sandstone sculpture. Aside from touring the many gardens, pavilions, and walks found within the park, you can also visit the Herbarium & Plant Sciences Building, the Lion’s Gate Lodge, the Morshead Fountain, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Children will love the many interactive and educational activities to explore throughout the gardens. Learn how to tell time on a metal sun dial sculpture, visit the cactus garden to see and touch the many spiky and hairy desert plants, check out the new ducklings in the spring, and eat chocolate bark in the Jurassic Jungle at holiday time.
In the Cadi Garden, children can discover how the Cadigal – “the local Aboriginal People – lived off the wild Australian land for thousands of years, and see some of the same medicinal plants they used to keep themselves healthy.
On New Year’s Eve you can witness one of the most stupendous fireworks displays in the world, going off in the sky all over the Sydney harbor, with a spectacular view right from the gardens.
Although it’s not actually part of the Royal Botanical Gardens, the famous Sydney Opera House runs alongside the Bennelong Precinct of the gardens, so you can always plan a trip to the opera house after your garden stroll.
Even in the winter when the garden’s greenery lies dormant, you can still take advantage of many park exhibitions, activities, and amenities, without fighting the crowds of summer. A UFO-shaped horticultural space called The Calyx features many innovative exhibitions, like an interactive exploration of the botanical history of chocolate.
Another winter exhibition is Treecycle, featuring the delightful work of Sydney wood carvers, carpenters and artisans. You can also catch one of the Aboriginal Heritage Tours and learn about the artifacts and culture of Australia’s Aboriginal People. Or you could purchase some honey made by bees right in the garden, and check out the steamy tropical display in the Latitude 23 greenhouses located alongside the Fernery.
At the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney visitors will experience an exotic world of botanic fantasy that absolutely shouldn’t be missed. With it’s convenient location to all the other attractions in this Australian metropolis, you’re sure to come back again and again.