Also known as an oasis that is located in the heart of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens cover 30 hectares of land and occupy one of the city’s most spectacular positions. The gardens wrap around the Farm Cove at the edge of Sydney Harbour. There are themed gardens that feature romantic roses as well as rare and endangered plants of the world. If you are someone who appreciates flowers and beautiful greenery, this attraction is perfect for you. Before making a trip down to this destination, you are recommended to know more about it first.
Historical Facts about Royal Botanic Gardens
- Governor Phillip established the first farm at Farm Cove in 1788
- The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is established in 1816, and started being a home to many collections of local and international plants
- Australia’s study and collection of plants commenced with Charles Fraser, who was first Colonial Botanist in 1817
- In 1847, John Carne Bidwill was appointed as the first Director
- The Botanic Garden housed a zoo until 1883, which was then transferred to Moore Park
- A big area of the Domain, which is south of the Government House stables, was taken for the construction of the Garden Exhibition Palace in 1879
- In 1980, the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust was established to manage the gardens
- The Australian Plant Bank was opened at the Australian Botanic Garden of Mount Annan in 2013
Operating Hours & Admission Information
There are free guided walks that take place daily from 1030am onwards starting from the Garden Shop. The gardens typically open for admission from 7am and closes at different timings, depending on the months. In October, the gardens closes at 730pm; 8pm for November to February; 630pm in March; 6pm for April to September; 530pm for May to August; and 5pm for June and July.
The Domain is open 24 hours daily except for ticketed or special events. The Sydney Tropical Centre is currently closed for redevelopment, and the Sydney Fernery and Succulent Garden is open (free entry) from 9am to 430pm on a daily basis, with the exception of Good Friday and Christmas Day.
How to Get to Royal Botanic Gardens
You can easily reach the Royal Botanic Gardens by public transportation. If you are taking a ferry, it will be a short walk from Circular Quay. If you are coming by train, remember to alight at Martin Place station as it is the nearest. You may also alight at Circular Quay or St James too. There are three buses you can take to arrive at your destination. These buses include the No. 441, No. 200 and the Sydney Explorer Bus.
If you are driving, you can park your car along Macquarie Street, Hospital Road and Mrs Macquaries Road as there is metered parking. If you prefer undercover parking, you may opt for the Domain Car Park or locations near the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Hospital.
Top Things to Do at Royal Botanic Gardens
There are many things to do and see in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Activities include relaxing walks, events, exhibitions, lectures and talks, family and school holiday activities, as well as courses and workshops. Here are some of the top recommendations:
- Guided Tours
You can go on an indigenous heritage tour with an Aboriginal guide. Such tours last from one and a half hours to two hours on average, and you must ensure a total headcount of at least ten people.
- Connection & Country
If you are an educator, allow your students to learn more about local native plants which are essential raw materials used by the first Australians to sustain their survivability. Your students will also gain new perspective on how Sydney’s Indigenous people have used plants to make things such as weapons and medicine.
- The Search for Better Health
Older students or any students that are taking biology classes can come to examine a variety of plant specimens to figure out the effects of insects and pathogens as well as understand how plants respond to diseases.
- Dandy Lions
Bring your kids to indulge in a delightful morning of gardening, story-telling, craft and play! Each week, the Dandy Lions explore new garden-related themes and provides activities that are specially designed for children who are under the age of five.
- Digital Mini-Monsters
This is a hands-on and fun workshop led by the Garden Educators. Your kids will enjoy two full hours of discovery by learning how to take great photos with iPads that are provided by the Gardens, meet cool stick insects, explore the garden to search and snap photos of the various “mini-monsters” as well as use plant material and clay to create a bug replica that can be taken home.
If you are looking for an attraction that has an educational element in its activities, The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is the right place for you and the kids!