Sydney is a rocking city on the south-east coast that is worth checking out. You can take a break from the buzzing hubbub of the CBD at one of these peaceful gardens.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
This gorgeous garden sits right near Chinatown, at the south end of Darling Harbour. As soon as you step through the gates, you'll be transported to a previous time and a wonderfully foreign land. The authentic Chinese gardens bring together the contrasting elements of water and stone, plants and architecture. This is a place where you can find solitude and serenity.
Wander along the trails that will take you through acres of towering willow trees, small creeks and clear lagoons. The water is framed by lotus plants and is home to koi carp. Stop off along the way at the pavilions, see the sculptures and the highlights that include the Dragon Wall, Rock Forest and the Penjing. You might even find some secret pathways hidden in amongst the exotic plants.
Everything from the buildings and pathways to the foliage and rock formations are designed to transport you to an exotic land in the heart of Sydney. It's well maintained and continues to give travellers a chance to see culture, landscape and structures all at once. There are tours that will show you the highlights and teach you about the history that inspired the garden.
After you calming stroll, revitalise yourself even more with some jasmine tea and dim sum at the authentic Chinese Teahouse.
Royal Botanic Gardens
This attraction is right near the Opera House and is open from sunrise to sunset. As one of the most beautiful gardens, here you'll find many walkways to roam and many places to explore. Check out the Palm Grove Centre where you'll find the Garden Shop, cafe and restaurant and toilet. The visitor information centre is also here so you can learn more about the gardens and get a map to help you find your way around.
There is the option to witness the attraction while also learning more about the native flora and fauna with a guided walk. For something a bit different, sign up for the Aboriginal heritage tour that will take you through the history of the indigenous people of Australia. You'll learn about plants and their cultural significance, see artefacts and get a taste of bush food.
It can be just as fun to explore on your own, and there are helpful signs to guide you through. The rainforest walk will take you off the beaten path into an area flush with species of plants and animals native to Australian rainforests.
There are so many sculptures and memorials that you can either stumble upon or seek out. The original Venus Fountain was put in place around 1880, during the lead up to the International Exhibition, but the serene figure was deteriorating, so now you will see the bronze replacement. Lions made out of Italian marble have sat on the northern side of the Rose Garden since 1994, but these lions have been looking over the grounds since 1882.
Take a break from walking at one of the many pavilions. The Maiden Pavilion or the Vista Pavilion will provide you with shelter and a chance to rest your feet. Nourish yourself at the restaurant where you can see both the gardens and the harbour.
If you're checking out these gardens in your Sydney car hire, there is metered parking along the surrounding streets and undercover parking buildings close by.