Mini City Guides: The Best Parks In Sydney

7 March 2016
Read Time: 3.1 mins

Words by Carlie Tucker

We all know how hard it can be to find time to unwind when you're travelling for work. Busy schedules aren't exactly conducive to sightseeing. Though, taking some time to get out and about is always a good idea to help maintain a clear head and stay productive. Rather than trying to fit it all in, you may want to choose one aspect of your destination. It's a more manageable way to add a little personal time to your business travel.  

This Sydney guide does just that, covering the best parks in the city that can easily be explored when a free minute presents itself. Think along the lines of lunch breaks, morning jogs or evening strolls in which you can decompress while exploring the top green spaces in the Harbour City.   

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Royal Botanic Gardens

Macquarie Street

The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1816 and play home to a sweep of incredibly beautiful gardens, eateries and shops. They are free to enter and are located in the heart of the city, which means they can easily be accessed by foot from nearly any hotel or business within the city centre – all of which makes it an ideal spot for a lunchtime jaunt.

There are nine different gardens to explore, ranging from the Herb Garden to the Palace Rose Garden, as well as public art instillations and engaging information points. Simply grab a bench and enjoy a little peace, or seek out some of the top features to learn more about the gardens and the city. This includes the Wollemi pine, the Cadi Jam Ora – First Encounters, Wurrungwuri sculpture by Christ Booth and the Ponds.   

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Hyde Park

Elizabeth Street

Another inner city green space that's within a 15 minute walk of the heart of the central business district, Hyde Park happens to be Australia's oldest park. It's comprised of more than 16 hectares of wide open space with sweeping green lawns, notable monuments and towering trees.

It's split across the middle by Park Street, which has led to naming the two sections Hyde Park North and Hyde Park South.  If  you're looking for a quiet spot to reflect, the northern end will not let you down, with plenty of benches to enjoy the views of the Archibald Fountains. If you'd rather spend your free time exploring a bit more, the southern end is home to a number of statues, the Anzac Memorial and Pool of Reflection. Or, you could strap on your running shoes and do a lap around it's perimeter!

Looking for mini guides? Mini City Guides: Public Art In Melbourne

Or, find out where to stay in Sydney. Mixing Business With Pleasure: Sydney's Best Business Hotels

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Chinese Garden of Friendship

Pier Street

Not far from Darling Harbour, the Chinese Garden of Friendship offers a smaller but no less serene escape amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. This walled garden does come with an admission fee ($6AUD at time of writing), but offers an incredibly ornate escape once inside. This garden was built as a symbol of friendship between Sydney and Guangzhou, China to mark Australia's bicentenary in 1988.

Grab a self-guided map upon entry and set out exploring this traditional Chinese garden. It features waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants, pavilions and hidden pathways. Some of the notable features are the koi carp swimming in the lakes and the Teahouse serving Chinese tea and dim sum. For those that would rather opt for the highlights, daily guided garden tours are available and are free with garden entry.

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Observatory Hill Park

Upper Fort Street

If you want nothing more than a seat from which to enjoy some of Sydney's best views, make a b-line for this park. From the heart of the city, it's a healthy 30 minute walk or opt for transport to cut travel time down to less than 10 minutes. It may be smaller than the city's other green spaces, but what it lacks in size it definitely makes up for in views. In fact, it's these views that keep locals and visitors coming back, with staggeringly beautiful 360 degree panoramas of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge.

Enjoy the outlook and then get to the Sydney Observatory. Built in 1858, it was Australia's first observatory. It has been transformed into a museum that's open daily with free admission. Though, for $10 (at time of writing), you can get a day tour that includes the 3D Space Theatre, Planetarium and telescope tours. Night tours are also available by booking, if you're looking for a unique way to spend your evening in Sydney.