A green thumbs guide to Western Sydney

With a wealth of beautiful gardens and sprawling woodlands, western Sydney is a surprise must-visit for garden lovers.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

May 2022 -
min read

Here’s our guide to some of the most lush and verdant wonderlands found throughout the western suburbs and stretching up into the Blue Mountains. With parks and botanic gardens filled with horticultural and high-design surprises in Western Sydney.

Auburn Botanic Gardens at Auburn, Sydney West

Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn - Credit: Cumberland City Council

Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park

If you don’t find the idea of mangroves and wetlands particularly riveting, have your mind changed by taking a stroll along the raised boardwalk that weaves through the atmospheric Badu Mangroves in bird-rich Bicentennial Park. In late winter, there’s an added bonus of exploring the park – the glorious pop of golden wattle. It’s entirely appropriate that our fuzzy national floral emblem – the very essence of green and gold ­– is right next door to Sydney Olympic Park, the scene of national Olympic sporting glory in 2000.

Where to eat and drink:

Sydney Olympic Park is home to a wide range of eateries showcasing cuisines from around the world. If you’re driving or taking the train to Bicentennial Park, stop to graze at North Strathfield’s atmospheric Bakehouse Quarter on George Street. The former Arnott’s Biscuit Factory is today home to several eateries including Cookie’s Lounge Bar. 

Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park in Sydney West

Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park

Everglades, Leura

Leura is known as the Garden Village of the Blue Mountains – and one of the most impressive sights here is Everglades Historic House and Gardens, a 5.2-hectare National Trust property renowned for its Paul Sorensen-designed formal cool-climate gardens that overlook the unruly Australian bush. Visit the interwar period garden in early spring to find the Cherry Terrace a veritable froth of pale pink (and a popular subject for photos). Other features include European-style terraces, rose-lined walks, the grotto pool, and tranquil reflection pool.

Where to eat and drink:

Everglades is home to Tea Rooms where, on weekends, you can enjoy a traditional Devonshire tea with scones. Sit under the silver birch in the courtyard, in the breakfast room or next to the roaring fire in the living room of the golden-walled 1930s Art Deco house.

Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, Blackheath

The Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, at Blackheath atop the Blue Mountains, are open year-round, but they’re really at their showy best from late September to mid-November. Explore the 18-hectare grounds to see not only the namesake flowers but azaleas, maples, and other deciduous trees. You can even take your (leashed) hounds for a stroll around these pretty-as-a-picture gardens.

Where to eat and drink:

The Lodge Rhodo Tea Room serves cream teas during five weeks of its peak floral season in spring.

Campbell Rhododendron Gardens at Blackheath in Katoomba, Blue Mountains

Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, Blackheath - Credit: Martin7d2 | Flickr

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

In autumn and spring, catch a profusion of colours at Bilpin’s Wildwood Garden – the handiwork of a pair of dedicated gardeners. The highlight is the garden's 600 camellia varieties but there are also climbers, bulbs and perennials to admire, as well as a cherry walk, fragrant daphne hedge, waterfall, ponds and a lake.

Where to eat and drink:

Culinary hotspots in Bilpin include Hillbilly Cider Shed where you can enjoy excellent wood-fired pizza and apple calzones with cream. The Grumpy Baker also turns out a mean pie with unusual fillings such as chicken and harissa, and mushroom and feta.

Children enjoying a visit to Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn

Famous for its fabulous cherry blossoms (and the odd flowering quince) in late winter/early spring, Auburn Botanic Gardens in the suburb of the same name has something worth seeing year-round. Inhale deeply at the scented garden and sunken rose garden, inspect the plantings in the native and rainforest garden, and skip across a lake using the stepping stones.

The gardens also feature an Avenue of Remembrance, a fauna reserve (home to emus, kangaroos, and other animals), aviary, equal-access playground, lakes with fish and ducks, and a picnic area. Don’t be surprised to see peacocks strut their stuff here as well.

Where to eat and drink:

Auburn is known for its mouth-watering range of affordable Middle Eastern eateries – wrap your laughing gear around the kebabs from New Star Kebab Family Restaurant.

Auburn Botanic Gardens in Auburn, Sydney West

Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn - Credit: Cumberland City Council

Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan

Mt Annan’s Australian Botanic Garden has the distinction of being Australia’s largest botanic garden (from 2021, it will also be home to the NSW National Herbarium, making it one of the state’s key scientific facilities). This horticultural playground in south-western Sydney sprawls over 416 hectares. Specialising in native Australian flora, its collection showcases more than 4,000 species.

Hit the visitor centre first to find out how to make the most of your visit, which could include dropping by the Banksia Garden, the Bird Hide, the Ironbark Woodland, and the Mallee Eucalypts. Keep your eyes peeled, too, for wallaroos and swamp wallabies nibbling on the grasslands. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Where to eat and drink:

If you’re coming from the city, stop off at Campbelltown and fuel up on ultra-healthy goodies at Alkalizer, located in the Campbelltown City Council building, or take in the tranquil surrounds, and great food, at the Campbelltown Arts Centre cafe.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, on the Bells Line of Road at Mount Tomah, shows off cool-climate plants and alpine rainforest, along with an extraordinary view out over a great swathe of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Wander among the 28 hectares of plantings to see the hand-glazed pergola in the Formal Garden and the proteas and bromeliads in the Rock Garden. Kneel to inspect the carnivorous plants of the hanging swamp, a feature of the Bog Garden.

Where to stay:

Want to make a botanical weekend of it in the Blue Mountains? One of the finest stays is Lilianfels Resort & Spa in Katoomba. Explore the grounds, which include manicured rose gardens, a lawn beneath an ancient oak tree and a forest of 200-year-old pines, or simply soak up views of the Jamison Valley.

Picton Botanic Gardens, Picton

A favourite among locals in the Wollondilly Shire, the Picton Botanic Gardens were originally established in 1986 and are home to a number of native plants, a six-kilometre-return walking and cycling trail through towering trees, barbecues and kid's playground, making it a great spot for a family day out.

Where to eat and drink

Located a short 10-minute walk from Argyle Street, the main shopping hub of Picton, drop into George IV Inn or the Picton Hotel for pub fare and good ol' country hospitality. 


More articles by theme


You may also like...