A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published January 13th 2013
Find a spot on the grass in Australia's oldest park
Named after Hyde Park in London, Sydney's Hyde Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia. Taking up more than 16 hectares of space in the CBD, it's a tranquil setting that's in complete opposition to the concrete jungle that surrounds it.
First gazetted back in 1810, the park was originally a racecourse and even a sporting ground. These days, however, it's a place where stressed office workers and camera-wielding tourists go to relax.
Hyde Park is home to some 580 mature exotic and native trees. The centrepiece of all this greenery, of course, is the central pedestrian avenue between Macquarie Street and the ANZAC memorial which is lined with beautiful Hill's Figs.
Perhaps one of the park's most well-known attractions is the Archibald Fountain. Dating back to the 1930s, this impressive fountain was built in honour of Australia's contribution to the First World War in France. These days it also serves as a popular photo op for tourists.
Sitting at the southern end of the park you'll find the ANZAC War Memorial and Lake of Reflections. Again constructed to commemorate WW1, the memorial is at the centre of ceremonies on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day and is a good spot for some quiet reflection.
Various themed gardens are also littered around the park, featuring their own monuments and water features. There's even a huge chess board on the western side of the park. During significant cultural events like the Sydney Festival, Hyde Park comes alive with plenty of free entertainment.
Automated public toilets are located around the edge of the park and cafes situated within the southern and northern sections of the park off Elizabeth Street. Bicycle parking is available and the closest train stations are Museum and St James.
For more information on planning a day out in Hyde Park, log on to the City of Sydney website.