Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens showing a high-rise building, modern architecture and a pond

Escape Sydney’s busy downtown and enjoy the winding pathways, art installations and rose gardens of this lush haven.

Take a break from the bustle of downtown Sydney in the colorful Royal Botanic Gardens. With visually stunning flower plots, intriguing artworks spread throughout the gardens and easy access to nearby attractions, it makes a great addition to any itinerary.

Located on land that was deemed too infertile for farming, the environment is testament to the determination of 19th-century botanist Charles Fraser, who is most famous for naming thousands of Australian plants. He developed the infertile soil and collected and studied the fauna that turned the plot into a world-renowned garden. Come to see the fruits of his labor with such early plantings as the majestic Moreton Bay figs that now dominate the landscape.

Take a stroll through one of the garden’s flower exhibitions, such as the Camellia Garden that hosts many different Australian-bred species of the beautiful bloom. Don’t miss out on the Begonia Garden, where you can learn how to grow your own begonias. Walk through the Palace Rose Garden with its 1,800 roses. Signs give information on the species and benches are provided for relaxing.

See some of Australia’s most beautiful native tree life on the rainforest walk. The Palm Grove has one of Australia’s best collections of palm trees. The rare Wollemi pine and the formally manicured gardens of Government House in the gardens’ northwest are also well worth a visit.

Eat lunch at the central garden shop and restaurant.

Take a guided tour of the gardens on Monday to Friday to learn about the Aboriginal heritage of the site. Alternatively, pick up a map from the central information center and take a self-guided tour of the garden’s spectacular art installations, including the over-scaled seed sculptures by Bronwyn Oliver located near the central main pond.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are located on the Sydney Harbour, a short walk from Circular Quay in downtown. Come by ferry or catch the train to Martin Place, a 10-minute walk away from the gardens. If you come by car, pay to park in the surrounding streets.

The gardens are open daily and entry is free.

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