Thought to be one of the oldest public gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens date back to 1810 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife had a vision for an "English parkland setting with a grand house". Over the years, this 30-hectare oasis has withstood fires, cattle grazing, invasions of flying foxes, a windmill, an aviary, and even a zoo. Today, save a few sulphur-crested cockies, it's an oasis of calm in an urban jungle.
If it's not raining, rug-up and take a free guided walk through the gardens...which should help all you urbanites to separate your Begonias from your Camellias. Although, as this month heralds the peak flowering season for banksias, you might find yourself becoming familiar with some native species as part of the Bountiful Banksias tour (next running on Tuesday 8 July). Alternatively, if it's a wet weekend, warm up over brunch at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant, where you can watch the rain pour down whilst cradling your steaming cup of coffee. Exquisite.
Walk toThe Domain, Mrs Macquaries Point or Sydney Opera House.
Best For... Amateur botanists, hippy nature lovers & anyone in need of a break from the city
Worst For... Couch potatoes
Tours from10.30am, daily. Free entry.