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Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Mrs. Macquaries Road
Tel: 61 2 9231 8111's insider take:

This undulating series of gardens wrapped around the southeastern edge of Sydney Harbour was the site of the city's first farm. Today it's an oasis where massive Moreton Bay figs tower over picnicking office workers and joggers, and where the junglelike Palm Grove shelters a colony of fruit bats. Exhibits include the mysterious Wollemi Pine, one of the rarest plants in the world, which was thought to be extinct until its discovery in the Blue Mountains in 1994. On show in the hothouse—otherwise known as the Tropical Centre—is a display that plots the life of an orchid, enticingly entitled "Sex and Death." There are several entrances along Macquarie Street, Mrs. Macquaries Road, and near the Opera House.

Open November to February 7 am to 8 pm, March and October 7 am to 6:30 pm, April and September 7 am to 6 pm, May and August 7 am to 5:30 pm, June and July 7 am to 5 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.