The MVP (as far as gardens go) is of course the city’s premier greenspace and easily one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Thought to be one of the oldest public gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens date back to 1810 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife had a vision for an "English parkland setting with a grand house". Over the years, this 30-hectare site has withstood fires, cattle grazing, invasions of flying foxes, a windmill, an aviary, and even a zoo. Today, save for the occasional shriek of a sulfur-crested cockatoo, it's an oasis of calm in the urban jungle, where you can stand amongst beautiful greenery as you look out over the harbour with the bridge and Opera House magnificently in view.
You might not think that there's much of a difference between a park and a garden, but in truth, they’re different spaces.
Parks are all about outdoor activities and versatility – they can become whatever we need them to be, from a cricket pitch to a picnic patch. Gardens, on the other hand, offer carefully curated journies into nature. Through an artful mix of creative landscaping and fabulous flora, they have the power to transport us, be that into another culture, climate, or even a different state of mind. We’ve picked out seven of Sydney’s most beautiful gardens where we recommend you stop and smell the roses.
RECOMMENDED: Seven national parks less than 100km from Central Sydney.