Royal Botanical Gardens: A Tropical Paradise in Sydney

Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens Flower Macro

I had barely touched down in Sydney, but despite the exhaustion, I was determined to explore. For me, it had felt like my entire trip had been leading up to this moment. It’s impossible to think of Australia and not think about the iconic Opera House that sits on the harbour. I was determined to see the postcard view I had seen many times before through my screen. I checked the map and planned my route. For me travel is always about maximising that wow factor, making every memory as enjoyable as it can possibly be. And sometimes that means taking the less direct route. Of course I could have jumped on the train and been there in about 15 minutes, but where’s the fun in that? Instead I chose to walk across the city, and head through the Royal Botanical Gardens. 

The Royal Botanical Gardens have been established since 1816, making it the oldest scientific institution in the country. An astounding collection of plants from both Australia and overseas call these gardens home. The gardens are all separated into different themes, which really highlights how diverse plant life can be. Enjoy a romantic walk through the Rose Garden Pavillion, or take a moment to sit down and relax by the pond. Feel free to explore the gardens at your own pace, or why not book a tour and be led through the gardens by an expert. 

Exploring the Royal Botanical Gardens

I made my way through taking in the scenery. Despite being in the middle of a city it’s surprisingly peaceful, and I enjoyed taking a moment to myself with my camera. It has sections of dense foliage and trees, as well as areas of wide open grass looking out onto the water. I loved the fact that it slowed me down. Without the hussle and bussle of the city to influence me I found a nice patch of grass in the sun, pulled out a nice cold coke and just enjoyed myself.

Food and drinks all wrapped in a picnic

Within the gardens themselves, you can find multiple options for food and drink catering to even the fussiest eaters’ appetite. Don’t fancy sitting in a restaurant? If you order in advance some of the restaurants offer picnic hampers you can take away and enjoy within the gardens. Many of the other restaurants offer takeaway service too, but none will give you the memories that a personal picnic hamper will.

Even if you’re exploring Sydney alone, there’s something to offer the solo backpacker here. When I travelled across Australia I spent every day on my feet trying to fit in as much action and adventure as possible. But for me there’s a lot of joy in taking a break. And to me thats relaxing for a few hours in the sun with a book or podcast in a place like this. 

Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens FAQs

How much does it cost to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens?

Entrance is free for all visitors, you can help support the gardens by picking up a souvenir to bring home from the gift shop. Occasionally the gardens host special events where tickets may be required to be purchased in advance. The price of these will vary depending on the event.

 Macro Flower

What days are the gardens open?

The gardens are open every day of the year, with a few exceptions due to holidays and events.

Where are the Royal Botanical Gardens located?

The Royal Botanical Gardens can be found on Mrs Macquaries Road, just a short walk east of the Sydney Opera House.

Australia Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens Painted Koala statue
Australia Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens Painted Koala statue
Australia Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens Painted Koala statue

Where or how can I order a picnic basket?

Picnic baskets are available for pickup from Terrace on the Domain and Terrace Eatery. Each basket is suitable for two people and costs approximately 80AUD. The basket contains fruits, slices of bread, chicken wraps, and cheeses. Drinks are not included but for an extra 50 AUD, they will supply your choice of sparkling, red, white, or rose wine. Picnic baskets need to be ordered 24 hours in advance and are available Wednesday to Sunday. 

Where are the best picnic spots?

In the botanical gardens, you can’t go wrong when picking a spot. Where the best spot is would be entirely your choice. You may enjoy being surrounded by exotic plants, you can enjoy the fountains, or there are some spots of grass to lay on giving you a stunning view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Australia Sydney

How much does a tour cost?

Aboriginal Culture Tour – 42AUD (available year-round)

Aboriginal Culture Sunset Tour – 42 AUD (available year-round)

Bushtucker Experiences – Plant to Plate (available year-round)
Morning Tea – 49AUD
Bush Food Lunch – 90AUD
Bush Food Afternoon Tea – 49AUD

Sydney Harbour Kayaking Adventure – 100AUD (available October to April)

What else can I do in Sydney?

Sydney is an amazing city with so much to do. Check out more of my posts using the button below, or check out Get Your Guide. I have attached a link below showcasing some of the latest activities. By booking through the link it won’t cost you any extra, but I may receive a commission which helps me continue to create content and guides.

Where is the gift shop?

The Garden shop can be found next to the Botanic House Restaurant and the Farm Cove Eatery. At the time of writing the opening hours are Friday to Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM. This is a great little shop for gardening enthusiasts. If you’ve been travelling for a long time why not stop here and pick up a souvenir, either for yourself or for a friend or family member. A second gift shop can be found in the Calyx next to the cafe.

Is there parking nearby?

Parking can be found nearby along Mrs Macquaries Road, Hospital Road, and Macquarie Street. Underground parking is also nearby at the Domain car park.

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