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The Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney are some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Situated just east of the Sydney Opera House, the gardens are a delightful way to spend an afternoon. A foreshore walk winds gently along Farm Cove and affords many benches and spaces to sit and enjoy breath taking views of the city skyline, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The Royal Botanical Gardens was established in 1816 and continues to be an exceptional collection of plants from Australia and around the world. The medley of South Pacific vegetation found here is impressive. There is a wonderful Palm Grove snuggled into the heart of the gardens, a formal rose garden, the Fernery and other theme areas.

One of the best times to see the gardens is in the spring. There is annual Spring Festival hosted in early September with craft and horticultural stalls, plant sales and advice for the gardeners. A riotous bouquet of aromas and color awaits anyone who enters. The formal rose gardens hold many old-fashioned roses in hues of color from white to deepest reds. There are walls of pink, white, mauve and red azaleas and rhododendrons along Spring Walk at Macquarie Wall.

This haven in the center of the city is a favorite spot for visitors as well as the local crowd. Sunny Australian days find the benches and grassy areas full of workers enjoying lunch or a spot of sun. People are encouraged to enjoy this lush tropical paradise to the fullest. Admission to the gardens is free.

Tropical displays in the Arc and Pyramid glasshouses are well worth the small admission fee. At the displays exotic plants from lowland forests and mountains can be seen, the tropical ecosystems can be observed first hand in these unique glasshouses.

Guided tours are provided at no charge by trained volunteers daily. The tour can be joined at the Visitor Centre at 10:30 a.m. daily (except on public holidays.) The gardens are open from 7:00 a.m. until sunset every day. Most of the garden areas are wheelchair accessible, except for steeper paths and stairs.

Sydney is a beautiful setting for many gardens and parks, but the Royal Botanical Gardens are the elite of them all.