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Sydney in Spring: The best gardens to visit


Christine Knight

 

Spring in Sydney is a gorgeous time of year. While we may not have spectacular blooms, the city is filled with bright green trees flaunting their fresh new foliage, jacarandas showering the street with purple flowers, and the perfect weather for picnics. Here are four gardens to visit before summer kicks in:

 

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

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Not so secret anymore, the garden was created in 1992 by Wendy Whiteley, wife and muse to artist Brett Whiteley, following her by then ex-husband’s death. The land was a dumping ground, overgrown with weeds, before Wendy turned it into the whimsical retreat it is today. While the lot is officially owned by NSW State Railways the government agreed to lease the land to North Sydney Council on a 30-year renewable lease, securing it for hopefully generations to come. The garden is still a bit tricky to locate: start at Lavender Bay Wharf and turn your back to the ocean. Walk towards the overgrown plants and look for paths that lead upwards. You’ll be rewarded with hidden art works, secret bowers and a killer view of Sydney Harbour for your effort.

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Royal Botanic Gardens

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Australia’s oldest botanic garden and scientific institution was established in 1816, making this year its 200th birthday. The Royal Botanic Garden and Domain is home to 8,900 species of plants from around the world, with a focus on Australia and the South Pacific. A wander around the gardens will take you the better part of an afternoon if you want to explore all the way down to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and enjoy the finest view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House that the city can offer, as well as meander through the various gardens and meet the eels that live in the central fountain. There is a small cafe to dine in the centre, but a picnic blanket and gourmet snacks on the harbourside lawn is the best way to spend an afternoon in the sun.

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Auburn Botanic Gardens

Picture by DAMIAN SHAW

Picture by DAMIAN SHAW

This Sydney suburb is home to one of the city’s prettiest gardens. The Auburn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom festival in early September attracts visitors in droves – which is why we prefer to visit it later in the year when the rose garden is in bloom and the visitor numbers are lower. Take a stroll though their renowned Japanese Garden featuring flowering Azaleas, decorative bridges, waterfalls, a lake filled with colourful Koi and stop for a morning tea at their traditional Tea House. The gardens are filled with plenty of wildlife, too, the most popular being the spectacularly plumed peacocks.
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Mount Annan Botanical Gardens

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The largest of Sydney’s botanic gardens is the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, part of the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust and home to the Australian PlantBank, a major scientific research and conservation centre for NSW flora. The garden opened to the public by the Duke and Duchess of York on 2 October 1988 as the final NSW Bicentennial project. Sprawling over 416 hectares, the gardens have become a popular spot for picnics and bike riding. As you meander your way through the gardens, keep a lookout for wildlife. The gardens are home to wallabies, wallaroos, frogs, water dragons and many more small critters.

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There you have it! How to successfully eat out with your baby or toddler in 7 easy steps. Good luck – may the odds be ever in your favour.

Christine Knight is an Australian travel writer and blogger. When she’s not chasing her energetic five-year-old through Sydney’s inner west, you’ll find her “researching” her way through the best high teas in the city.

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