Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens © Hamilton Lund
Sydney's 'green lung' is a 30-hectare botanical garden, established in 1816 and containing more than 7,500 species of plant. Australia's very first farm was on the site where the garden now flourishes, southeast of the Sydney Opera House. Paths criss-cross the gardens, leading strollers past two sets of ponds, garden sculptures and numerous horticultural areas. Don't miss the Sydney Tropical Centre; the rose, herb and succulent gardens; the First Farm; the Fernery; and the palm grove. Watch out for a young specimen of the rare Wollemi Pine (only 38 adult trees exist in the world) in the Pioneer Garden.
The gardens also offer some of the best views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The path that skirts the harbour starting at the Opera House and leading around to Mrs Maquarie's Chair provides magnificent views of the harbour, particularly at sunset. The gardens also have a visitor's centre, shop, restaurants and kiosks. Guided walks are offered at 10:30am every day, except public holidays. Visitors who prefer not to walk can take a scenic train tour. Inside the gardens you can also admire Government House, formerly the residence of the New South Wales Governor, which sits atop a hillock overlooking the Opera House and Farm Cove. It is open to the public for tours.
Address: Mrs Macquaries Road
Telephone: (02) 9231 8111 or (02) 9231 8125 (weekends)
Transport: Ferry to Circular Quay, or bus 441 to the Art Gallery of NSW. It is also a stop on the Sydney Explorer bus. The nearest train station is Martin Place
Opening times: Daily from 7am. Closes at various hours depending on the month, from 5pm in winter to 8pm in summer