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Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

  • Things to do
  • Sydney
  1. People riding bikes Royal  Botanic Gardens Sydney
    Photograph: Brian Yap
  2. Royal  Botanic Gardens Sydney
    Photograph: Ronald Woan

Time Out says

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 oasis has withstood fires, cattle grazing, invasions of flying foxes, a windmill, an aviary, and even a zoo. Today, save a few sulphur-crested cockies, it's an oasis of calm in an urban jungle.

If it's not raining, rug-up and take a free guided walk through the gardens...which should help all you urbanites to separate your Begonias from your Camellias. Although, as this month heralds the peak flowering season for banksias, you might find yourself becoming familiar with some native species as part of the Bountiful Banksias tour. Alternatively, if it's a wet weekend, warm up over brunch at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant, where you can watch the rain pour down whilst cradling your steaming cup of coffee. Exquisite.

Best For... Amateur botanists, hippy nature lovers & anyone in need of a break from the city.

Worst For... Couch potatoes.

Tours from 10.30am, daily. Free entry.


Mrs Macquaries Rd
Opening hours:
Daily 7am-5pm (or later some months)

What’s on


  • Digital and interactive

Winter in Sydney can be pretty darn sparkly, with major thanks to Vivid – the annual multidisciplinary festival that lights up the city for a few weeks every year. One particularly glittery feature of the Vivid Sydney 2024 program is Lightscape – an immersive light show that will illuminate the Royal Botanic Garden from May 24 until June 15. After making its Botanic Garden debut with a sellout 2023 season, this multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sound is back, this year with a reimagined set-up. (Lightscape is a paid-entry event, and we reckon the ticket price is well worth it, but if you're looking for free things to do at Vivid, head over here.)Originally created by a group of artists more than a decade ago, Lightscape has transformed spaces around the world into sell-out immersive experiences. And though some Sydneysiders were up in arms about having to pay to access the Botanic Garden (generally a free-to-access public space) during last year's season, once you’ve experienced Lightscape in the flesh, you’ll understand the reasoning. As the sun begins to set over Sydney Harbour, you'll wander under larger-than-life flowers, and tree canopies will come alive with light. Follow the 1.8km illuminated trail as your surroundings morph from one luminous delight into another. Food and drinks are available to purchase along the route, or you can hold out and head to one of the many excellent restaurants that Circular Quay has to offer. Tickets start at $30 for adults ($

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