The Royal Botanic Garden founded in 1816, spans the area between The Domain and the Sydney Opera House. Situated around the headland at Farm Cove, where the first white settlers fought to grow crops for the hungry colony.
As the duck ponds, romantic rose garden, and fragrant herb garden give off an English atmosphere, keep an eye out for native birds and, at dusk, fruit bats that fly overhead (hundreds of these gigantic bats have been spotted within The Palm Grove area near the restaurant). At the same time, the nocturnal possums start to get up and about.
There are 28,000 specimens of trees, shrubs, and flowers from across the globe, but the massive indigenous, gnarled Moreton Bay figs stand out.
The gardens have some of the most breathtaking views from Sydney Harbour. They are always packed with people at lunchtime, with picnickers on lovely weekends and couples tucked among the trees.
Gardens tours start free from the visitor center in Palm Grove, in the center of the Gardens. A Choo Choo Express train is trackless and runs throughout the Gardens, which comes to a stop at this point. The main pick-up point is near the Opera House entrance, and there are other stops along the route.