Wednesday 2 November 2016

Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden

If you enjoy looking at beautiful gardens, Wendy's Secret Garden is a must see on a visit to Sydney. It's free, easy to get to and affords spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, Lavender Bay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden - a must see free place to visit in Sydney.

Built on land belonging to NSW Rail Corp, what is now a magnificent garden, was once disused land filled with rubbish and weeds. With the help of two gardeners, Wendy has transformed the wasteland, funding it all herself.

On a cloudy day last week, we visited the gardens, catching the ferry from Circular Quay to Luna Park (Milsons Point). From there, it's a short walk along the boardwalk to Lavender Bay, through a tunnel and half way up the flight of stairs. 

If you come by train, bus or walk, the approach to the gardens will be from the top of the stairs.

There are no signs, but it's obvious where the gardens are.

Set on steep, sloping land, the hillsides are filled with gardens separated by steps and paths.

Even though the numerous paths run quite close to each other, they are carefully hidden, or semi-hidden while walking along.

There's so much to see at ground level, that it's easy to forget to look up - equally as magical.

With so much shade, leaf size, shape and colour create variety. There are many shades of green...

... with a splash of colour every now and then.

Fallen branches form the railings and keep the rustic look.

Down the bottom, there is quite a large open area...

... with several picnic tables.

Natural materials dominate. This little house was a complete contrast.

Railway sleepers are used throughout, both for steps and retaining walls.

A soft walking surface is created by the use of wood chips.

We spent over two hours wandering around, but still didn't manage to walk down all the paths and see everything.

This won't be our last visit to Wendy's Secret Garden. We'll most definitely be back! This visit was on a cool Spring day. I think next time we might escape the heat for a couple of hours on a Summer's day.

More than twenty years since Wendy began the garden, the State Government has leased the land to North Sydney council on a 30 year renewable lease, ensuring access to the public.

More about Wendy's Secret Garden...

You might like to read - Things to See and Do in Sydney

I was blown away by the enormity of Wendy's garden, even though I'd previously read up about it and looked at many photos. I knew I'd enjoy wandering around, but I couldn't get over the work that was involved in creating a garden on this scale and style.

Needless to say, I've come home with numerous ideas and lots of inspiration for my own garden.

... Pam


  1. What a neat find. I love the Secret Garden. We have something similar - but on a grander scale - in the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. (canada). This garden was built on an abandoned rock quarry pit. Glad you found inspiration.

  2. What a lovely place! Wendy's Secret Garden is surely a treasure.

  3. What a pity i live so far ..... that is my kind of walk !!! thank you for sharing with us this joy mirjam

  4. What a great place to visit Pam, and a wonderful testament to the tenacity of gardeners :)


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