Hugging Farm Cove right in the heart of Sydney Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens still occupy the site where they were first established more than two centuries ago by the colonial Governor, Lachlan Macquarie. Arguably the most famous horticultural attraction on the planet, the gardens have long stood as testimony to the great biodiversity of the Australasian continent. The site oozes culture and character too, revealing tales of Aboriginal history, offering a focal point for modern city life and a welcome break from the energy of downtown Sydney besides.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are nestled between the Sydney CBD and lively Rocks district of the downtown, covering 74 acres of land and four separate precincts, each with its own unique ecological character. Visitors are invited to stroll the winding paths that go from Mrs Macquarie's Point, around the huge sandstone bulwark that marks the gardens out from the waters of Port Jackson, past the green Band Lawn, through the Lower Gardens and up to the ornamental Rose Garden and adjoining pavilion. Simply walking here is a pleasure, spying out everything from curious wollemi pine trees to colourful beds of waratahs, pretty lily pads and paper daisies to name just a handful of the 67,000 specimens that are on show. Visitors interested in learning more about the biodiversity of the gardens and the region as a whole can head to the Rainforest Walk or Tropical House exhibitions, while the shady paths of Palm Grove host a café and restaurant. There are also oodles of picnic opportunities, regular local art shows, and frequent walking tours lead by horticulturists and specialists in Aboriginal history.
Travelers will find the Royal Botanic Gardens on the very edge of Sydney Harbour. The nearest parking is on Mrs Macquarie’s Road or Hospital Road, while underground parking is on offer at the adjoining Domain (all metered). Access by ferry is possible for those alighting at Circular Quay, while Martin Place is perfect for access on train and public transport.
Situated on the site of the first ever farm in Australia, these gorgeous gardens represent the oldest scientific institution in the country. Established first by Governor Macquarie, the site expanded throughout the 19th century under the patronage of Charles Moore. Soil quality was improved and the great Garden Palace was built. Although the latter burned down in 1882, it gave way to even more expansions in the post-war period, when various directors moved to include the Herb Gardens, the Threatened Species Garden, the Fernery and the on-site facilities at the Palm Grove Centre.