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3 Botanic Gardens of Sydney

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by Rota (subscribe)
Still out and about
Published September 18th 2015
Rediscover Sydney's Botanic Gardens 200 years on
Three Botanic Gardens In Sydney

3 botanic gardens of Sydney, free
This fitting symbol adorns the gates of the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan


The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust will be an impressive 200 years old in 2016. Little known to most Sydney-siders this statutory body is directly responsible for the management of 3 of Sydney's Botanic Gardens, including the Domain - gardens that make up some of the most beautiful tended spaces in Sydney.

Each of these three gardens represent a different 'feel' of Sydney's flora and has a distinct approach to landscaping and the way it chooses to showcase different habitats.

These 3 gardens are maintained for the public to enjoy free of charge. But they themselves are priceless: being home to thousands of botanical species, habitat to a bevy of local wildlife, and the location of much important study and preservation of Australian plant species - not to mention how they are inextricably a part of the history of Sydney.


The Royal Botanic Garden and The Domain, Sydney CBD


3 botanic gardens of Sydney
A garden in the midst of the city. Image Credit: Jorge Lascar via Wikimedia Commons


This is perhaps the best known of Sydney's botanic gardens for it's location in the heart of the city, but also for it's proximity to Sydney's icons - the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The Royal Botanic Garden was established in 1816 and is significant in that it is both Australia's first botanic garden as well as it's earliest scientific institution.

3 botanic gardens of Sydney, free
Blooms at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Image Credit: Quartl via Wikimedia Commons


It may surprise some to know that at one time an aviary - and later a zoo - made up part of the gardens. That is until the zoo's closure in 1883.

There's more than a little royal influence in the Royal Botanic Gardens with a number of commemorative trees having been planted in there in the past . This includes a "Broad-leaf Paper Bark" planted by the Duke of York in 1881 - who later became King George V.

3 botanic gardens of Sydney, free
Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko via Wikimedia Commons


While many things have changed since then, perhaps little has in relation to our enjoyment of this special space. On April 13th 1878, The Sydney Morning Herald observed:

"The Domain presents very many different aspects. In the morn-ing the resort of nursemaids and children ; in the afternoon of those rich ones who ride and drive; in the evening of cricketers ; later on, lovers spoon fool-ishly, or watch the waters of the harbour shimmering in the rays of the goddess of night. There are few finer sight in the world than that from Mrs. Macquarie'schair by moonlight"

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah

mount tomah, blue mountains botanic gardens, snails, art
Wonderful vista from the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens


This is deservedly considered the most picturesque of Sydney's botanic gardens. Located at the top of a hill along the Bell's Line of Road, the garden takes on the alpine beauty of the surrounds -and like much of the Blue Mountains seems to have a perpetually crisp atmosphere.

It has a variety of themed gardens within as all of these botanic gardens do, but is distinct from the others it boasts a truly stunning view over the rolling hills below. Mount Tomah is also special in that it has more than 40,000 plants from remote corners of the globe, so it gives you more than just a showcase of Australian flora.

3 botanic gardens of Sydney, free
Overlooking Mount Tomah Botanic Garden. Image Credit: Lwalsh84 via Wikimedia Commons


Fine dining is a happy plus with the presence of a One Hat restaurant within the grounds that overlooks it all, allowing a view of the vista while enjoying a meal. The Tomah Gardens Restaurant was created by popular chef Sean Moran and much of the produce is sourced from his farm in nearby Bilpin.

botanical gardens of sydney, sydney, free
Plenty of photo opportunities at charming flower beds


Unlike the other botanic gardens, this one has accommodation - The Jungle Lodge. It is located on Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust land, next to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, and is large enough to accommodate groups or families visiting the area or attending functions at the gardens. This, along with the picturesque beauty of the gardens helps to make Mount Tomah Gardens a popular venue for weddings.

Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan

This is Australia's largest Botanic Garden, covering over 410 hectares and home to more than 2000 plant species. Before becoming Australia's largest botanic garden it was a dairy pasture.

The Australian Botanic Garden was also host to royalty when in 1988 the Duke and Duchess of York opened the gardens and planted a lilly pilly.

5 easy cycling routes around sydney
The gardens mapped out before you


These days the Australian Botanic Garden is particularly vital as it is the location of the Australian PlantBank. This research facility is home to a plant bank and various laboratories where research is conducted into local plants with a view to ensuring their preservation. Self-guided tours of the PlantBank are free and available to the public Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm.

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Wide open green spaces


The mere magnitude of the site means that wide roads access many parts of the site - making it an excellent spot for bike riding along the road as well as along a specially designated trail. This is the only botanic garden in the world to have a designated mountain bike trail. There are extensive picnic facilities at many locations around the gardens as well.

botanical gardens of sydney, sydney, free
Bird hide on the banks of Lake Nadungamba


Aside from this, the gardens are home to a bird hide, and three lakes that popular with the local waterbirds. It is home to a number of themed walks and self guided tours including the Stolen Generations Memorial Walk.
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Why? See Sydney's flora from 3 different perspectives
When: Open daily except for Christmas Day
Where: Sydney CBD, Mount Tomah and Mount Annan
Cost: Free to enter
Your Comment
Lovely article and I love walking through a the Domain and Botanical Gardens. There seems to be a technical glitch with your article and pictures being repeated.
by Maria M (score: 2|661) 1525 days ago
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