Gardens and Parks in Sydney

Sydney is a nature lover's playground. And while it's easy for glittering Sydney Harbour to steal the show, the gardens and parks that surround the city are equally awe-inspiring. Discover green parklands perfect for horse riding, gorgeous gardens and picnic spots within World Heritage-listed convict sites. 



Gorgeous gardens 

Stroll through the vast Royal Botanic Garden, curving around the edge of Sydney Harbour next to the Sydney Opera House. Established in 1816, it’s the oldest scientific institution in the country and packed with more than 27,000 plants from around the world. There are free guided walks daily, insightful Aboriginal culture and bush tucker tours, and a regularly changing calendar of events in the Calyx.  

Friends enjoying a walk through Royal Botanic Garden, The Domain

Royal Botanic Garden, The Domain

Discover a pocket of tranquillity in Darling Harbour at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Wander amongst lush flowers, peaceful ponds, traditional Chinese architecture and elaborate sculptures, then visit The Gardens by Lotus for dumplings and tea. The elaborate, sunken Paddington Reservoir Gardens are built in a 19th-century water reservoir and give the feeling of walking through ancient Roman ruins. 

The peaceful and scenic grounds of the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Chinatown, Darling Harbour

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour

Auburn Botanic Gardens is famous for its annual Cherry Blossom Festival each August, when the trees burst into a riot of fluffy pink Sakura blossoms. On the southwestern edge of Sydney, the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan has more than 400 hectares of native plants, lakes and lawns, plus plenty of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos as you walk some of the 30km of trails. 

Sprawling parks 

Hyde Park is right in the centre of the city, a pocket of green surrounded by heritage buildings and gleaming high rises. Feel the spray from the striking Archibald Fountain, then stroll under a canopy of fig trees to the tree-lined Pool of Reflection, the ANZAC Memorial and bronze sculpture Sacrifice. Barangaroo Reserve, right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, has unbeatable views of the harbour, smooth trails, a harbour swimming pool and even free wifi. Join a guided Aboriginal tour to learn about the area’s Indigenous significance. 

With its luxuriant lawns and wooded wetlands, the enormous Centennial Parklands in Sydney’s East is known as ‘the lungs of the city’. It’s a popular spot for picnics, cycling and horse riding, and kids will love the Ian Potter Wild Play GardenSydney Park in St Peters covers 40 hectares of wetlands, ponds, grassy hills and shady picnic areas. It’s popular with dog walkers and has a great kids’ bike track.

Family enjoying a day out in a hired 4-seat pedal car from Centennial Park Cycles, Centennial Park

Centennial Park Cycles, Centennial Park

Catch the Rivercat from Circular Quay to the World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park, established in 1858. Before it became a park, this was the site of the first farm producing food for the new colony of Sydney – take a guided history tour to learn more. Bicentennial Park in nearby Homebush is threaded with trails for walking and cycling. Next door are the Badu Mangroves, a vast ecosystem of centuries-old mangroves with a raised boardwalk running through them.

Couple enjoying walk through Parramatta Park, Parramatta

Parramatta Park, Parramatta

Sydney’s secret gardens

Take a ferry across Sydney Harbour to Neutral Bay where you will find Nutcote, the beautiful harbourside home of author and illustrator May Gibbs. You can also explore the famous children’s author’s enchanting garden where she was inspired to write her much-loved children's book, The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie.

Nutcote House and Garden designed by renowned Australian childrens author and illustrator, May Gibbs, Neutral Bay

Nutcote House and Garden, Neutral Bay 

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden  is an immersive oasis in Lavender Bay where you can find a quiet patch to listen to the soundtrack of chirping birds. Tucked behind Luna Park, the garden is a living artwork designed by Wendy Whiteley, wife and muse of late Australian artist Brett Whiteley.

Jacaranda season in Sydney

Sydney’s signature bloom is the jacaranda. During October and November, pockets of the city explode into a sea of purple as the famous trees come into flower. View the stunning trees set against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Sydney Harbour and the cobblestoned streets of The Rocks. 

Jacarandas in Paddington

Jacarandas in Paddington

In the eastern suburbs, jacarandas bloom around Oxford Street, Glenmore Road and Five Ways in Paddington, as well as in the grounds of Vaucluse House. Across the bridge you’ll find Instagram-favourite McDougall Street. 

Don't miss these gardens and parks in Sydney