Saturday, 23 April 2016

# 6 - The Opera House to Botanic Gardens Walk

I'm not sure that this walk really has the most appropriate title.  If you take a quick look at Google Maps, you will see that there is about 100 metres between the front of the Opera House and the appropriately titled Opera House Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens.  It is a particularly nice 100 metres, but I'm not sure it is worthy of being considered an attraction in its own right.

Given that this picture is taken from inside the Botanic Gardens, you can see why the walk isn't really just from the Opera House to the Botanic Gardens
I think it would be more accurate to call it the Botanic Gardens walk, starting from the Opera House gate. To add further confusion, as far as I can tell, there is no universally agreed route for the Opera House to Botanic Gardens walk.  Everyone seems to be agreed that you start at the Opera House, then follow the path around the waterfront at Farm Cove.  One option seems to be to cut up into the Royal Botanic Gardens about 500 metres along this path, while the other option is to continue along the waterfront towards Mrs Macquarie's Chair.  

I don't know what kind of bird they keep in that cage, but I don't want to be there when it returns
Whichever route you take, the general consensus is that you then head South into the gardens.  It doesn't really seem to matter exactly which route you take.  There are plenty of paths, so you can choose whichever one you prefer, or take your time and wander around a few different paths.  You can do the entire short version of the walk in less than half an hour, so there is no need to rush.

Some unidentified foliage
It is without doubt an outstanding walk.  The Opera House is an iconic building, and a fantastic starting point for the walk.  As you walk away from the Opera House, you have the water of the harbour on your left, and the Botanic Gardens on your right.  You might want to stop from time to time to enjoy the view back towards the Opera House.  If you continue on to Mrs Macquarie's Chair, you will enjoy the fantastic views on your left hand side.

A big fat tree
As you make your way through the gardens, you can stop off to look at whatever takes your fancy. There are plenty of ponds, trees, plants and flowers.  You can expect to see, and hear, plenty of cockatoos on your way around.  As you get to the southern end of the park, you can choose to head in to the Art Gallery of NSW, head on to Hyde Park, or make your way back to the CBD.  Of course, you can also choose to do it in reverse.  The Botanic Gardens to Opera House walk didn't make it into the top 100, but I'd rate it as every bit as good as the Opera House to Botanic Gardens walk.

Something to look at if you get bored of all the flowers and trees
The walk can get busy at peak times, but there is plenty of space, wide paths, and lots of alternative routes through the gardens, so it rarely feels overcrowded.  The gardens open at 7am, making it a nice option for an early morning walk if you want to appreciate the early morning light and lack of crowds.  It closes around dusk, so although sunset is a nice time to do the walk, you need to be aware of closing time.

I don't see the fuss - it doesn't even recline
In all honesty, the Opera House to Botanic Gardens walk is not really a different attraction to the Royal Botanic Gardens, in my opinion.  Whether or not they deserve to be included as two different entries, they definitely deserve to be rated as one of the best things to do in Sydney.

Do you have a strictly defined route for the Opera House to Botanic Gardens walk?  Do you agree that it is the 6th best thing to do in Sydney?  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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