Boasting more than 4000 native plants spread amongst over 400 hectares of hills and lakes, the Mt Annan Botanic Garden is one of Sydney’s hidden gems.
This gorgeous, serene setting is a place for many things: to enjoy a family picnic; to learn about natural history; to draw, paint and photograph; or to simply take an aimless walk.
Besides its plentiful wildlife and untamed expanses of woodlands and grasslands, Australia's largest botanic garden contains an enticing assortment of feature gardens. These include the Wattle Garden, which is a green and gold wonderland; the Banksia and Grevillea Gardens, which offers a tranquil refuge, the Callitris Arboretum, which showcases a collection of impressive cypress pines; and the Conifer Arboretum, which provides expansive views over the surrounding countryside.
Indigenous themes feature prominently at Mt Annan: the Stolen Generations Memorial Garden "reconnects Aboriginal people with the land" through its complementary use of sculpture and native vegetation, while the Fruit Loop Garden displays Australian plants that have been used as food, tools and medicines over millennia. Another highlight is the Wollemi Walk of Discovery, where visitors can see and learn about the famed Wollemi Pine.
Mention must also be made of an educational resource called the What's the Big Idea Garden. Here you can absorb "a range of sustainable ideas that help reduce, reuse and recycle valuable resources into your garden", discover "information about mulching and composting, correct pruning, turf care and fertilising", and learn about "water efficiency in the home garden using water tanks, drip irrigation and an array of beautiful water-wise native plants commonly available in local nurseries."
For anyone looking for some structure to their day, a series of self-guided walking and driving tours have been established. And there are guided tours, too, available on both bus and foot, which come "with commentary on the gardens, the colonial and Indigenous stories associated with Mount Annan Botanic Garden and the conservation and botanical research programs operating on site."