Get away to magical landscapes, discover and lose yourself
Whether you are here for a day, a week, a month, a year, there is always a moment to stop, breathe, contemplate life and take in the sights and sounds around you. These are my top 6 magical landscapes to discover and lose yourself in.
1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquarie's Road Sydney. Perfect for a picnic, taking time out to lie back and feel the sun's rays, admire the water views or wander around the garden paths and soak in the magnificent surrounds. For a small cost, check out the Tropical Centre comprising of the Arc and Pyramid glasshouses for the warmer climate exotic plants. (Open daily and free)
Royal Botanic Gardens
2. Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour. A green oasis located in the Sydney CBD, the weeping willows awash you with a quiet peace and serenity as you step through the gate. The vista of waterfalls, lakes, pavilions, exotic garden landscape with hidden twists and turns. Sipping Chinese tea overseeing the Koi carp swimming tuning into the harmony and the area's Chinese heritage and culture. (Open daily, 9.30am to 5pm excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day. $6 adults/$3 child under 12)
Chinese Garden of Friendship
3. Auburn Botanic Garden. A discreet gem tucked away in Sydney's Western suburb full of natural beauty. The Gardens feature a spectacular Japanese Garden with traditional style landscaping set around a lake. These gardens are made up of 19 different sections including the popular attractions such as the Fauna Reserve, Sunken Rose Garden, Scented Garden, Australian Native Rainforest Garden and playgrounds for the kids. Watching the freely wondering peacocks, swans and native birds in their habitat a rather wondrous experience. (Open Daily, free on weekdays, Adults $4/5 weekends)
Auburn Botanic Garden
4. Cumberland State Forest. Located in West Pennant Hills is only half an hour from the Sydney city. As Australia's only metropolitan state forest, Cumberland State Forest contains 40 hectares of native forest. Originally this privately owned land was cleared in 1908 before being declared State forest in 1939. A collection of trees were planted on one third of the land and the rest to regenerate naturally. Uncover the mysteries of the forest through the walking trails, or enjoy the scenery with a picnic or barbeque, be on the lookout for wildlife or learn about sustainable practices. They offer wide range of activities during school holidays or participate in their volunteer program.
Cumberland State Forest
5. Wendy Whitely's Secret Garden, Access is rather obscure but enter via through Clark Park, off Lavender St, Lavender Bay. Have you ever imagined your own secret garden? A place to escape, breathe deeply, reset, then this is the place. After the death of her husband artist Brett Whitely in 1992, Wendy channelled her grief and sorrow transforming the once derelict rubbish dump into what now is lush green garden has amazing harbour views at her expense. Wendy's life story and garden is inspiring and as you discover this intimate magical place, you may never want to leave. (Open daily and free)
6. Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, Bells Line of Road via Bilpin, Mount Tomah. Considered to be the highest botanic garden, the garden has been arranged geographically to showcase other cool climate plants from around the world. With amazing views, it's a great place to spend some quality time away from the distractions of the city and daily grind. From self and guided tours to a ramble around the children's garden, it's a great space for the kids roam at their leisure. (Open daily except for Christmas and free)