Take a stroll to the north-easternmost point of the gardens, where you will find Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair commanding some of the best views in the city.
Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens may be one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world, but it is not that which so allures Sydney’s visitors. Located within easy walking distance of the Sydney Opera House and the city’s downtown area, the gardens provide an expansive and refreshing oasis away from the occasionally hectic sightseeing experience, and at times it can be easy to forget that you are in the centre of a huge city.
Australia’s First Farm
The gardens are shaped in a wide natural amphitheatre which surrounds Farm Cove, the site of the very first farm on the Australian continent. Since then, the land has been continuously cultivated, and was established as a botanical garden by Governor Macquarrie in 1816, thus making it Australia’s oldest scientific institution.
Two Hundred Years On
It was expanded and developed over the course of two centuries, and now occupies a full 74 acres of prime real estate, split into four sections. Here you can find plantlife from Australia and from around the world, laid out and explained in a variety of displays. Particularly interesting is the “Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters” display, which details the story of the pre-colonial Aboriginal inhabitants of the Sydney area in a 50 metre sculptural “storyline”. Holding pride of place in the centre of the gardens is the Palm Grove, established in 1862 by Charles Moore during his 48-year tenure as the institute’s director. It is perhaps the finest collection of palms in the world, and makes for an attractive backdrop as you sip a cold drink in the nearby café.
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