Stretching along the coast of Sydney Harbour against a backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and neighboring park, The Domain, offer spectacular views and beautiful scenery. This inner-city oasis boasts exotic plants, a tropical rain forest, woodland, flowers, and rare horticultural exhibits.
Many Sydney sightseeing tours feature a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, including the popular spot called Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, a lookout point with views across Sydney Harbour. Full-day tours also visit downtown attractions such as The Rocks and Parliament House, as well as coastal sights like Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. Some tours also include a cruise around Sydney Harbour. For independent travelers, there are hop-on hop-off bus and boat tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no admission fee for the gardens.
- Visitor facilities in the gardens include restrooms, a garden shop, and a number of cafés and restaurants.
- The Choo Choo Express tourist train runs around the gardens, with regular departures from outside the Queen Elizabeth II gate near the Sydney Opera House.
- The Royal Botanic Gardens are wheelchair accessible, and accessible parking and restrooms are available.
- Free Wi-Fi is available.
How to Get to There
The Royal Botanic Gardens flank Macquarie Street in the city center, on the eastern edge of Sydney Cove. The gardens are well served by public transportation, with the Martin Place train station and Circular Quay buses and ferries just a short walk away. The main gates leading into the gardens are close to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Government House.
When to Get There
The gardens are open daily, although opening times vary throughout the year. Each season brings its own unique colors, but springtime is particularly beautiful with the flower gardens in full bloom. Summer is also a popular time to visit, with a number of events and temporary exhibitions held in the park. The gardens are also a popular spot to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Plants and Wildlife at the Royal Botanic Garden
The gardens offer numerous leafy walkways and harbor lookouts, including Mrs. Macquarie’s Bushland Walk, which leads to the Mrs. Macquarie's Chair viewpoint. Highlights of the gardens include the Aboriginal First Encounters Garden, the Rain Forest Garden, the Palace Rose Garden, and the Succulent Garden. There’s also a camellia garden, palm grove, and herb garden. Wildlife sightings might include exotic birds, reptiles, and insects, as well as possums and flying-foxes.