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Location: East of Macquarie Street, Farm Cove
A beautiful green oasis in the heart of the city is the Royal Botanic Garden which is known for its tropical and exotic plants and trees. The garden is the one of the very first farm in Australia when it was established by Governor Phillip in 1788. In 1816, the farm became the Botanic Garden as part of Governor Macquarie's domain. "Royal" was added to the name in 1959 when the Herbarium and Gardens were joined.
Charles Fraser was appointed the first Colonial Botanist in 1817, thus creating Australia's oldest establishing scientific institution. In 1847, John Bidwill became the first Director and much of the Palm Grove site is credited to him.
The Royal Botanic Garden is interesting in its history. When it was first opened to the public in 1862, it was first a zoo until 1883 when it was transferred to Moore Park. The garden has since then extended to include more than 30 hectares of land filled with various plants, trees and herbs from all over the world.
One of the garden's highlight is the delightful Sydney Tropical Centre built in 1990 which houses plants from the tropical regions of Australia as well as the rest of the world. In this centre, the plants are kept under a huge pyramid dome and arch glasses and is well worth the visit.
Also included in the garden, is the Herb Garden which is every cook's dream garden. This formal display has a wide range of herbs ranging from lavenders to curry leaves. You can enjoy the delights of the garden by sitting on the numerous rosewood seats surrounding the garden. Watch out for the sundial and fountain display.
The Sydney Fernery built in 1993 has a wide display of ferns from around the world and is worth a visit. Not far there is the Rose Garden which has a classical setting with standards and climbers. The Rose Garden is a delight with all visitors especially when it is in flowering. The garden can be booked for special occasions like weddings and romantic outings.
The Seawalk is perfect for those who wish to jog early or late in the day. However, if you do not wish to jog or walk around the garden, a trackless train is also available and will cost you no more than $3. (Adult fee) Simply wait for the train at the entrance close to the Sydney Opera House and get ready for a quiet, enjoyable ride around the garden.
For more information, visit the Royal Botanic Garden Homepage.
(02) 9231-8111 or (02) 9231-8125
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TIP: Walking around the huge garden can be tiring so wear comfortable shoes. As it may get hot in the afternoon during the summer months, wear a hat and sun block. The Royal Botanic Garden has one of the most picturesque sights in Sydney so bring along a pinic basket and a bottle of wine.
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