- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens Review
More than 80 acres of sweeping green lawns, groves of indigenous and exotic trees, duck ponds, greenhouses, and some 45,124 types of plants—many of them in bloom—grace these gardens. The elegant property, which attracts strollers and botany enthusiasts from all over the country, is a far cry today from what it once was: a failed attempt by convicts of the First Fleet to establish a farm. Though their early attempts at agriculture were disastrous, the efforts of these first settlers are acknowledged in the Pioneer Garden, a sunken garden built in their memory.
Among the many other feature gardens on the property are the Palm Grove—home to some of the oldest trees in Sydney, the Begonia Garden, and the Rare and Threatened Plants Garden. Not to be missed is a cutting from the famous Wollemi Pine, a plant thought to be extinct until it was discovered in a secluded gully in the Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains in 1994. Plants throughout the gardens have various blooming cycles, so no matter what time of year you visit, there are sure to be plenty of flowers. The gardens include striking sculptures and hundreds of species of birds (along with a large colony of flying foxes, also known as fruit bats). There are spectacular views over the harbor and the Opera House from the two lovely restaurants.
Government House. Completed in 1843, this Gothic Revival building in the Royal Botanic Gardens served as the residence of the Governor of New South Wales—who represents the British crown in local matters—until the government handed it back to the public in 1996. Prominent English architect Edward Blore designed the two-story building without ever having set foot in Australia. The sandstone house's restored stenciled ceilings are its most impressive feature. Paintings hanging on the walls bear the signatures of some of Australia's best-known artists. You are free to wander on your own around Government House's gardens, which lie within the Royal Botanic Gardens, but you must join a guided tour to see the house's interior. Tours leave from the visitor center, near the Art Gallery of New South Wales. There are also maps available for a variety of themed, self-guided walks.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
We recently returned from a visit down under and have posted a review of our cruise on that forum. Read more
Day 5 - Bye-bye Hong Kong, hello OZ!
After checking in at the airport, we had about an hour or so to spare so after negotiating passports and security without too many problems, [DH is always one of those Read more
After spending 2 - 3 weeks in Australia in October, we have one extra week before we fly home to Canada. Read more
· News & Features
This week, we covered top destinations for great family getaways—from Disney World to dinosaur spotting. ... Read more
Go on location in Görlitz, Germany, to the transporting set of director Wes Anderson's film... Read more
Kick off spring with some of this year's best events and hotel packages in Washington, D.C.... Read more