A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published December 3rd 2010
Bring your picnic blanket, a book, a bottle of wine if you are so inclined, and the willingness to unwind in this enchanting and elusive secret park in Sydney's lower North Shore.
The park, a piece of state rail land wedged between Clark Park and the railway lines in Lavender Bay, has been transformed by Wendy Whiteley, the wife of artist Brett Whiteley, from a neglected wasteland into a tropical and magical paradise through the labours of lost love.
After the death of her husband in 1992 Wendy channeled her grief into converting the area next to her home, which was previously a pile of junk and tangled overgrown weeds at the end of the train line, into a peaceful haven for those lucky enough to know about it.
Today the area is a sanctuary for the city dweller with exotic and native ferns, flowers, towering palm and fig trees with secluded and tucked away picnic areas, benches and winding paths. The visitor can experience some serenity in a public yet private magical rainforest of a garden with a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour, hidden behind the bustling North Sydney buildings.
Wendy's 'Secret' Garden is indeed difficult to find. To reach the garden it is possible to enter via Clark Park, just look for a set of stairs that go downwards which will lead you to the garden. Alternatively you can go down the stairs on Walker Street and it is approximately halfway down the stairs on the left. Coming via the pedestrian and cycle path from Luna Park and North Sydney Olympic Pool you go up the first set of stairs to your right and it is halfway up the stairs.
The park is located within walking distance of the North Sydney CBD, North Sydney station, Milsons Point station and Milsons Point ferry wharf.