Royal Botanic Gardens
It’s hard to believe this stunning 30-hectare garden, now one of the most pleasant things to do in Sydney, was basically a veggie patch for Governor Phillip some 200 years ago. Today, the gardens boasts more than one-million plant species. Walking through the gnarled 200-year-old fig trees, ancient Wollemi Pines and flower gardens as hundreds of fruit bats screech is a delight. Plus, there are uninterrupted harbour views and endless manicured grass for picnicking. Make a day of it by starting at the Art Gallery of NSW, strolling through the rolling lawns of The Domain (where Sydney holds a stack of free outdoor film and music festivals during summer) and ambling along the foreshore to Lady Macquarie’s Chair, the site of the St. George OpenAir cinema festival in summer. Films are projected on a massive screen that rises from the harbour at nightfall. Be quick if you want tickets – there are only 1,800 seats and they sell out fast.