Every major city has it’s must-see tourist list. For Sydney, Australia, surely everyone starts at Circular Quay. Trains, busses, and ferries travel to and from the harbour, so getting there is a no-brainer.
To really soak up some of the beauty of the harbour, we arrive in the mornings, before the other tourists begin jostling for the best selfie spots. By the afternoon, we’re prepared for things to get a bit congested!
It’s easy to walk to Harbour Bridge and cross it for some excellent views of the Sydney Opera House, the massive cruise ships at dock, and the ferries coming and going.
Directly to the left of the Opera House, (only slightly dwarfed by the massive cruise ship) you can see the green space that is the 30 hectare Royal Botanic Garden. Celebrating it’s 200th birthday, this is the first garden in Australia.
We’ve been to the garden twice, marvelling at the trees, shrubs, and plants from around the world. It’s free to visit and, even if you aren’t entranced by the display beds, it’s a great place to walk, picnic, & soak in the views.
On our second visit to the garden, we took one of the twice daily free tours. Our volunteer guide took us right back to the establishment of Sydney as a penal colony in 1788. She showed us remnants of the governor’s residence, stone work constructed by convicts, and trees that were planted as long ago as 1816.
One of my favourite trees was the Moreton Bay fig, a banyan tree which can grow to a height of 200′, and it’s impressive display of buttressing roots.
Look up; that’s right, these are bananas! Imagine how big the rosie red bloom is!
On our first visit, we stopped by the garden restaurant for a cheese plate and a glass of wine. After this tour; however, we found a spot by a fountain and enjoyed a picnic lunch brought from home. Not such a bad concession to the budget when surrounded by so much beauty.