It’s no wonder that Sydneysiders love the outdoors as much as they do. Home to some of the most diverse natural terrain in Australia; with national parks on the fringes of the CBD, hidden coves, secluded beaches, miniature islands, and serene gardens, there’s a world of natural treasures to explore.
Sydney Royal Botanic Garden
Established in 1816, the SRBG is the oldest botanic garden in Australia. Fringing Farm Cove on the edge of the harbour, the 30 hectares of gardens are home to over a million specimens, including one of the rarest plants in the world, the Wollemi Pine.
Sydney Harbour National Park
Hugging both sides of the harbour at North and South Heads at the dramatic entrance to Port Jackson, this national park is home to superb secluded swimming spots, bushwalking tracks and Aboriginal, colonial and military history. The Quarantine Station at North Head is a must-visit.
Kamay Botany Bay National Park
National Heritage-listed Kamay Botany Bay National Park, just south of Sydney, is significant as the site where in 1770, the local Aboriginal people first encountered the crew of Captain Cook’s Endeavour at Kurnell. Take the Burrawang Walk with an aboriginal guide to fully appreciate it.
Sydney Harbour Islands
Dotted throughout the harbour, Sydney Harbour’s islands offer an insight into Australia’s convict and maritime past, and are easily reached by ferry from Circular Quay. Off-limits for more than a century, it’s now possible to stay on Cockatoo Island in the campground or heritage houses.
Cruise to Parramatta on the river ferry and stroll the Riverside Walk and Parramatta Park. The walk examines the history of the Parramatta area from an Aboriginal perspective. Old Government House, part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Area, is Australia's oldest public building.
Sydney Olympic Park
Get on your bike and discover the choice of different parks at the home of the 2000 Olympic Games. There’s more than 35 kilometres of cycling trails, walking paths and scenic boardwalks; with lookouts, bird hides, endangered wildlife habitats, mangroves, shipwrecks, and outdoor art.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
At Darling Harbour and a short walk from Chinatown, this tranquil oasis is one of the few public traditional Chinese gardens outside of China. Relax amongst the hidden pathways, waterfalls, weeping willow trees, and lotus and koi fish-filled lakes, before dim-sum in the Chinese Teahouse.
Gordon’s Bay Underwater Nature Trail
It’s like a bush walking track, only underwater! Located along the Bondi to Coogee Walk, the 500-metre-long underwater trail can be snorkelled or dived, and is made up of sunken drums linked by a chain with interpretive signs about the marine creatures living there.
Royal National Park
Less than an hour’s drive from the CBD, the ‘Nasho’ or the ‘Royal’ as locals call it, was established in 1879, making it one of the world's oldest national parks. Its sprawling 16,000-hectares are perfect for bushwalking, fishing, birdwatching and, in season, cliff-top whale watching.
In a city of skyscrapers, there are plenty of places where little plots of veggies grow, thanks to the grit, determination and vision of dedicated volunteers. Zetland’s Green Square Growers are keen to share their knowledge with others and welcome visitors to regular grower’s events.