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Published September 14th 2018
Swing into Spring
Spring symmetry in the Royal Botanic Garden (by Sardaka / CC BY 3.0)
Sydney has hundreds of paths, tracks and trails through public gardens, bushland, memorial sites, and waterfalls. To see the best spring colours in each part of the city, you'll need a shortlist.
Start your search for the best spring gardens in Sydney with this top 5 list:
City – Chinese Friendship Garden
Beside the reborn Darling Harbour, our Friendship Gardens have been a tranquil escape, guided by centuries-old Chinese wisdom.
Enter the serene space for respite from the hectic energy of Chinatown, finding harmony beside a waterfall.
Ponder exotic orchids and weeping willows, visit the ponds to feed koi carp, and refresh with Chinese tea and dim sum.
Take a guided walk to learn about the site's history or find the seasonal treats, including Manchurian pears, Camellias and Ginko trees.
Bring a mate to the Friendship Garden (by Barendpt / CC BY-SA 3.0)
East – Paddington Reservoir Gardens
A short walk from Allianz Stadium, this garden in Paddington was inspired by two of Europe's greatest ancient wonders, Rome's Baths of Caracalla and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
After opening in 2009, the designers won national prizes for revitalising a the former industrial site.
Over 100 years ago, the site's reservoir was a vital water source. Now, it's a fusion of the original timber and iron moulded into a contemporary garden. These elements are the foundation for boardwalks through the manicured space.
Follow paths leading into sunken gardens. The curious shadows cast by brick archways shift as the sun crosses the sky, inviting multiple visits.
A century ago, a doctor with green thumbs planted a series of gardens on this 2.6-hectare site.
50 years later, the council bought his creation, Hornsby's Lisgar Gardens, opening them to the public.
Climb the steep hillside to admire the tiers of plant life, hovering above sandstone walls.
Highlights include the colourscape of azaleas and rhododendrons, in the shade of native ferns.
The good doctor planted camellias in the 1950s. His flowers have blossomed each year ever since, as a new generation of local volunteers tends to the garden. It's now expanded to host over 90 varieties, vibrant enough to overwhelm any horticulturist.
Relax in the shade house, see fish swimming ponds fed by waterfalls, take a walk in the rainforest, lunch at the picnic area and stretch out on the lawn, beneath spring sunshine.
Lisgar Gardens are open Monday to Friday 8am-3:30pm and weekends 10am to 4pm during spring at Lisgar Road, Hornsby.
See ancient influences in the Paddington Reservoir Gardens (by Twistie.man / CC BY-SA 3.0)
West – Nurragingy Reserve
Since Sydney's colonial beginnings, the Cumberland Timber Forest was harvested to help build the city's homes and infrastructure.
Tucked into this natural green belt, the Nurragingy Reserve was opened to the public as a recreation spot.
Over 1 million people visit 63 hectares and during spring, the reserve's picnic shelters, barbecues and playgrounds will be popular weekend getaways for locals and tourists.
Enjoy an organic history lesson in the Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens, based on architecture styles from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These Chinese empires flourished for over 5 centuries and their legacy continues at the Seven Arch Stone Bridge and Light Mountain Pavilion.
Take easy bushwalks between towering Forest Red Gums, gently flowing creeks and natural ponds scented by shrubs of native herbs.