Monday, December 16, 2013
The Royal Botanic Gardens are a must see when visiting Sydney.
The gardens are situated on the shores of the Sydney Harbour, with the Opera House and Circular Quay on the western boundary. The gardens cover 30 hectares and attract over 3 million visitors each year. Situated east of the Sydney Opera House, and overlooking Farm Cove, the gardens occupy 30 hectares in area, and are bordered by: the Cahill Expressway to the south and west, Art Gallery road to the east, and Sydney Harbour to the north.
Rev: "The expansive land is most easily digested with a quick tour. The history of the horticulture is fascinating. It is a great place to go for a jog, grab lunch, take a nap, and get gorgeous photos. There is a café in the middle, if you get hungry. Its an affordable (FREE) way to spend an afternoon."
Australia's long history of collection and study of plants began with the appointment of the first Colonial Botanist, Charles Fraser, in 1817. The Botanic Gardens is thus the oldest scientific institution in Australia and, from the earliest days, has played a major role in the acclimatisation of plants from other regions.
Rev: "The botanic gardens were lovely. Well kept and just a nice place to stroll through and relax. I only spent about an hour here which was not enough time to enjoy the whole garden, but it was enjoyable never-the-less. Bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing afternoon!"
Rev: "Really enjoyed our walk through the gardens and right next to the city. Such a peaceful oasis. Sydney is so lucky to have such a beautiful park within the CBD. The gardens are so serene and it was so relaxing to wander through the gardens and enjoy the peace after an enjoyable wander through the Rocks and stroll by the Opera House. Worth taking the time to organise a snack pr picnic and find yourself a spot and enjoy the surroundings."
The Botanic Gardens once housed a zoo. The zoo was Sydney's first and operated in the Gardens from 1862 until 1883, when most of it was transferred to Moore Park. During these years much of the remnant natural vegetation of the surrounding Domain was removed and planted as parkland. The Moreton Bay Figs, one of the major elements of this planting, continue to dominate the landscape.
Rev: "When in Sydney, do not miss a walk through this beautiful park. Four days later and I am still in awe of what I experienced there. The size and variety of the trees are a wonder in and of themselves, but the setting is equally impressive. MY only disappointment was that my camera battery died just as I got there, but my visual memories are a treasure."
However, the building was destroyed by fire in 1882 and the land, now known as the Palace Garden, was added to the Botanic Gardens. Towards the end of his time as Director, Moore, together with Ernst Betche, published the Handbook of the Flora of New South Wales, further establishing the Botanic Gardens as a centre for the science of botany.
Rev: "Although the weather wasn't too good the gardens were very beautiful with some beautiful trees and flowers. Amazing to think that this little piece of paradise is in such a vibrant city."
Rev: "I think the Botanic gardens is one of the best free things to do in Sydney. So much to see and it's a real haven from the rush of the city. Great place to read a book or get some sun. Easy to spend a day in here. The gardens are so large and the harbour views some of the best in the city. Please make sure you enjoy the gardens on your next trip to Sydney :)"
Other initiatives, the Mount Tomah Botanic Garden (1987), Mount Annan Botanic Garden (1988) and the Tropical Centre (1990) glasshouses, were opened to the public after Professor Carrick Chambers became the ninth Director in 1986.
Rev: "It is a beautiful open place to enjoy in Sydney on a sunny day. The gardens are well maintained and right on the waterfront with stunning views. I loved walking around and admiring the plants especially the chinese garden."
In 2003 the business name of the organisation, comprising the three Botanic Gardens and the Domain and administered by the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, was changed from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney to the Botanic Gardens Trust. Professor David Mabberley was appointed as the Executive Director in April 2011 and commenced the role in August 2011.
Rev: "It's free to enter the gardens and it's utterly beautiful! On hot days, the breeze is terrific :) If you need some work done for a conference or something, that's really the place to be!"
Rev: "This is a beautiful place, walk around, bring a blanket and do a picnic with your family with the Opera House as the background view. Incredible place"
Rev: "My wife and I recently walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens from the Opera House to the Wooloomooloo exit. The range of plants are amazing and these are presented in a variety of well thought out and presented gardens. The grounds are maintained to an excellent standard. The harbour backdrop complements the gardens very well. It was a picture postcard summer afternoon in Sydney and it was stunning. Lots of families and young couples were enjoying the serenity of the park. A hidden gem in Sydney and one that is definitely worth the effort to visit."
The origin of modern botanical gardens can be traced to European medieval medicinal gardens known as physic gardens, the first of these being founded during the Italian Renaissance in the 16th century.
Rev: "I took the 10.30am tour with a very experienced volunteer guide. She took us around the gardens to points of interest explaining things along the way, she was very knowledgeably indeed. We started with around 18 people but had nearer 30 by the end! It was a good way of finding where you wanted to explore on your own afterwards. As a plantaholic I found it very good indeed."
Rev: "Plenty of lovely walks and seating and such a lovely ambience. A great place for a rest from "touristing" if you need it, and I imagine if you lived in Sydney it would be a lovely place for picnics and a romantic stroll. Like all the information about the trees, but would have liked to see the dates some of the huge trees were planted to get an idea of their age. Also love the sign that says please walk on the grass, smell the roses and hug the trees. Well done to the staff and the Friends of the Garden. Sadly missed the free guided walks, but we will be back."
Rev: "What a superb space. Sits between the City towers and the harbour water. Beautiful green space teaming with willdlfe and local life (parties and weddings at the weekend) Wonderful arrray of plants. I loved the shop and cafe selection Watch out for the cheeky birds!"
Rev: "Walking through the Gardens was the shortest route from our hotel to the Opera House and other attractions and we found this one of the highlights of our stay in Sydney. There was so much to see from the fantastic trees and plants, to the birds and other wildlife, to the sculptures, to the views of the harbour. Each of the many pathways revealed new treasures and it cost not a penny. The fruit bats are still there; they descend on the fig trees at dusk."
Rev: "It should be noted, aside from flying, i love plants. I could have spent all day here. We wandered about for at least 90 minutes - walked the whole way around on amazing paths, viewed the harbour and the Opera house from the other side, sat in Mrs. MacQuaries chair and soaked up the southern hemisphere beauty. Lots of places to sit, eat, walk, and parking isn't half bad either. Free."
The history of botanical gardens is closely linked to the history of botany itself. The botanical gardens of the 16th and 17th centuries were medicinal gardens, but the idea of a botanical garden changed to encompass displays of the beautiful, strange, new and sometimes economically important plant trophies being returned from the European colonies and other distant lands. Later, in the 18th century, they became more educational in function, demonstrating the latest plant classification systems devised by botanists working in the associated herbaria as they tried to order these new treasures. Then, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the trend was towards a combination of specialist and eclectic collections demonstrating many aspects of both horticulture and botany.
Rev: "This is a great place to walk along the harbor and by the Opera House. There was a private function. I walked by, a police officer sopped me, but she was friendly and told me to wait while she literally RAN OVER and got me a map. They have some eateries too....and varied gardens. There are signs posted about. You can spend hours here. Bring a blanket, have a picnic."
Rev: "This is a lovely park, lots of well tended beds of flowers and shrubs, a few years back there were fruit bats hanging from the trees but these have gone now but there is still a lot of interesting places to visit within the park, best on a sunny day."
The first botanical gardens in Australia were founded early in the 19th century. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 1816; the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, 1818; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, 1845; Adelaide Botanic Gardens, 1854; and Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, 1855. These were established essentially as colonial gardens of economic botany and acclimatisation. The Auburn Botanical Gardens, 1977, located in Sydney's western suburbs, are one of the popular and diverse botanical gardens in the Greater Western Sydney area.
Rev: "You are encouraged to walk on the grass, smell the roses and get up close to the plants. Fantastic trees - and the views to the harbour are the icing on the cake."