The Royal Botanic Gardens offer *everything* I love about Sydney in a single setting: natural beauty, stunning views of the city, free admission, free Wi-Fi (and delicious coffee at the kiosks if that’s your jam). Really, there is no reason not to go.
Pause and Replenish
While all of that is great, I found the Royal Botanic Gardens to be a nourishing place to pause and meditate. There are numerous benefits of meditation and there is no one way to practice. You can take a quiet seat, walk, or write in a journal, for example. For a really informal approach, you may even just pause and let your senses appreciate all that is happening around you.
Pausing is a necessary part of our mental health self care. It lets our minds and bodies heal, replenish, and process information on their own time. But you don’t have to retreat to the wilderness to pause. Some of the most beautiful places in The Royal Botanic Gardens invite you to pause during your travels in the city.
You cannot miss Lotus Pond! It’s such a serene yet busy little place. At first glance, the water appears calm and still. But just along the surface, under the lily pads and lotus leaves, the pond is teaming with life. The broad leaves are a haven for wildlife at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
You could sit and watch all the activity for hours, reconnecting with the natural flow of things. You could also close your eyes and just let the buzz of dragonflies and the call of birds lull you into a restful state.
Moving Meditation along Farm Cove
At the edge of the gardens, a paved trail traces Farm Cove up to Hyde Park and down to the wharf near Kings Cross. You can join local runners and walkers along this path. The sound of the water gently lapping against the rocks and the steady rhythm of your feet make this a great place for a moving meditation.
There are many beautiful places to pause and admire the beauty of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge.
I will always be a “householder,” someone who practices yoga within the structure of family life (rather than retreating to the caves or a monastery). There is a small wind-blow cave along the Farm Cove trail, though, if you’ve ever wanted to meditate in a cave and get a taste of monk life 😉
The trail will also take you by the Government House. It was designed to look like castle and has served as a home to local dignitaries. I think it’s a bit cheesy but irresistibly photogenic.
The Palace Rose Garden
Metropolitan views as a backdrop to a calming rose garden? Yes, please!
The Palace Rose Garden is a full of seasonal beauty. The breeze lifts the aroma of the roses into the air and bathes the whole area is a sweet, soothing scent. There are several varieties on display. The array of colors and textures is such eye-candy. I recommend taking a meditative walk through the grid pattern of the garden beds.
Near the Palace Roes Garden, there are plenty of shady areas where you can sit in the grass. I encourage you to kick off your shoes and let your toes enjoy the cool grass and nourishing earth. (It’s earthing as practical and easy self care!) I dug my toes into the cool soil and journaled under the trees for a while. It was refreshing!
The rose gardens also offer a few pergolas where you can sit on a park bench. It’s a nice alternative if you have limited mobility. The canopy over the structures are likely exquisite during late spring and summer!
To see one of my favorite features of the Palace Rose Garden, you’ve got to turn around! It’s so easy to keep your eyes in the garden or out to the water. But the rose garden reveals beautiful views of the Sydney skyline up close.
There are several places to see the city from the park, but this was on of my favorite.
Don’t miss the Exhibits
In addition to your moments of reflection, I encourage you to check out what’s available. Sometimes its fun to just chill and be a tourist.
Like a museum, the Royal Botanic Garden exhibits are always changing. Some exhibits are concentrated into one region of the park while others are spread throughout the park. I came during the Hello Koalas exhibit. Participation is like a treasure hunt or geocaching. Tucked throughout the gardens are 20 koala statues. Each is hand painted by an Australian artist with a quick explanation about the work. I was able to find most of them!
Remember: sometimes stillness can also be a part of your fitness travel in Australia. Enjoy!