Pagoda in Sydney Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney. City Centre Sightseeing

The botanical gardens, Sydney, is one of the oldest scientific institutions in Australia. It’s also one of the most visited attractions in Sydney. The gardens are open every day, with free access, and you can pay them a visit as you do the usual tourist route.

A logical place to start is to begin looking online to see what is nearby. One of the things I always look for when visiting a new place is whether there are any parks and gardens nearby. I’m not sure why I do this, but I’d guess it has something to do with my grandad’s influence on me. He was an avid gardener and had a beautiful garden full of blooming flowers, bees, and various scents. Part of me enjoys that, and part of me loves exploring. It only makes sense to combine the two.

During my time in Sydney that lead me to learn about the Royal Botanic Gardens, and I added the gardens to my list of must-see things. Up there with the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Bondi Beach.

From Circular Quay, the botanical gardens, Sydney, are to the south. They’re within walking distance and they border Sydney CBD and the coast. As I mentioned, it’s free to visit the botanical gardens. They’re open from 7 am until anywhere between 5 pm and 8 pm depending on the time of the year. 

The grounds are quite large, at 74 acres (30 hectares), so I’d advise wearing suitable footwear if you’re going walking. Alternatively, thongs and a picnic basket can be a great choice for lunch, general relaxation, or even, dare I say it, a date.

Plants in the Botanic Gardens

For the most part, the gardens are open and grassy. Several different areas/regions of the gardens are home to various displays and different kinds of plants. The vast array of colours likely change depending on the time of year. When I visited the botanic garden during the Australian winter, they were still vibrant. Albeit, slightly cooler than you might expect in January.

Flowers in Sydney Botanic Gardens

Things to do in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Flowers at the Botanical Gardens Sydney

Aside from leisurely strolls, the botanical gardens, Sydney, are often host to a plethora of events and activities. A quick Google search is a good way to keep track of what events are upcoming.

There’s usually a good selection of free Aboriginal heritage tours, but other events also take place within the gardens. You’ll also find a couple of cafes on-site, as well as other amenities.

If you want to you can recreate the famous postcard picture that includes the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. A coastal spot in the botanical gardens, Sydney, gives you the perfect view to do so. You’ll also find Mrs Macquarie’s Chair nearby.

Opera House and Harbour Bridge view from Botanical Gardens

A large part of my time in the gardens was in the company of Travis. That is how I managed to get these shady looking photographs after escaping from the clutches of a large group of Japanese tourists. Note that I cropped my face out of it!

We also managed to find only the third spider I found in Australia, after one in the Daintree near Cairns, and a runaway redback in Melbourne. The poor little fella didn’t get a word in before I papped him.

Spider in Sydney

Around the gardens are a whole host of signposts which help you to figure out where you’ve been, where you’re going and if you’re going round in circles. Pretty handy.

There is a multitude of places to head to, including this cactus garden – of which I only have terrible pictures complete with a red train. Neither of these I expected to encounter when I first planned to come here.

Red Choo Choo in Sydney Botanical Gardens

If you’re planning to spend any time in Sydney for New Year’s Eve, it’s worth finding the time to explore. As with most of the coastline, you’ll need to get in early or risk losing your space. You can see what happened in 2017. I’d suggest taking a morning stroll and boarding a boat to celebrate, but you needn’t wait for NYE to visit the gardens.

All in all, there is plenty to do and even more to see. Their website does a much better job of explaining it than I do, so you should check it out. As always, feel free to share your stories and pictures, and if you have any recommendations on the ‘best bits’ then let us know!

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