What to Do Around Centennial Park in Sydney – Australian Garden Show Sydney, Parklands Equestrian Centre and Moore Park Golf30 September, 2014
Having done the usual Sydney touristy stuff e.g. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and eating at Sydney’s popular restaurants like CHISWICK, you might want to check out Centennial Park which is one of the world’s largest park in the city – I think it is second only to New York City’s Central Park. You will find children’s play area, a cricket pitch and playing fields, cafés and restaurant and most importantly lots of open spaces – perfect for a picnic in the park or just walking, running or cycling around the park.
Getting to Centennial Park is easy – it is just 5 km from the Sydney CBD and there are regular buses from Circular Quay, Central Station and Bondi Junction Station. If you are visiting Bondi Beach, the Centennial Park might be a good stop in your itinerary for the day after checking out the beach. For more info on Centennial Park, check out http://www.centennialparklands.com.au
Besides recreational activities like cycling, jogging and dog walking around the park, you can also do horse-riding at Centennial Parklands – if you are keen on this activity, then check out the Equestrian Centre within Centennial Park. There is a 3.6km horse track around the park and 3.5 hectares of fenced grounds featuring show jumping and dressage! There are many riding schools at the Equestrian Centre which offer lessons, horse hire, pony camps, pony parties, pony leads and guided park rides.
We checked out Eastside Riding Academy for our horse ride around Centennial Park. A leisure ride around Centennial Park cost AU$90 – about 50 minutes of riding time and 10 minutes of setup and mounting and dismounting the horse. Even if you have little or no riding experience, it does not matter as you will be guided through Centennial Park on horseback with a professional instructor. Riding boots, helmets and other safety equipment are all provided at the riding school – all you have to do is suit up and mount up the horse!
Sydney is one of only three major cities in the world to retain a full-service equestrian centre and horse track in the middle of the city (others are London and New York) so a horse ride around Centennial Park is certainly a unique experience. 🙂
After horse-riding at Centennial Park, you can also check out Moore Park Golf – the closest public access golf course to Sydney CBD. Moore Park Golf boasts a 18-hole public access golf course as well as an all-weather, day-night driving range – I tried a few rounds at Moore Park Golf’s driving range – I did not do too bad considering that this is my first time.
Moore Park Golf Driving Range features a world-first giant LED screen. Don’t worry about hitting the screen as it is protected by nets. Prices for the driving range start from AU$20 for off-peak periods and go up to AU$35 for weekends Twilight.
Every year during early spring in September, Centennial Park plays host to the Australian Garden Show Sydney – this year in 2014, it was held from Thursday 4 September to Sunday 7 September at Centennial Park. The Australian Garden Show Sydney (AGSS) is a stylish event celebrating Australia’s love of gardens and outdoor spaces. The show explores new ideas in gardening techniques and design, showcasing spectacular displays and a wide variety of lifestyle gardening products. Admission fee for adults is AU$35 and there are concession rates for seniors (AU$25) and children (AU$15 – 15 to 18 years old; children below this age range enter free).
As the name suggests – Australian Garden Show Sydney, you can expect a lot of floral displays around the park. You can also expect a lot of free garden talks and workshops and to keep the children occupied – there is also an aMaze setup for them – this is an area where children can explore the growing world, participate in activities that connect them to nature and this is all free!
The highlight of the Australian Garden Show Sydney has to be the Inspiration Gardens. These are show gardens designed by leading Australian and international horticultural and landscape innovators which features an awe-inspiring array of native and exotic plants, as well as new ideas in garden design and architecture. Thus, if you are planning to build a garden in your backyard, this is the place to be to get some inspiration – take lots of pictures since the consultancy part of your garden design is already done up for you – there are 8 show gardens to check out.
The garden pictured below – titled “Tread Lightly” by Christopher Owen is one of my favorites as it is very simple and serene – just what a garden should be like.
This is my favorite garden – “My Island Home” by Phil Withers – this garden is supposed to bring a piece of paradise by featuring a timber beach hut and bridge surrounded by tall palms and colourful succulents. It is not a surprise that it also won the People’s Choice award during the Australian Garden Show Sydney 2014.
For most of us staying in Singapore HDB flats, there is also something in it for those interested in gardening – there are displays of city gardens and balcony gardens which make full use of smaller spaces to create sustainable garden courtyards.
Besides show gardens, I find the exhibitors at the Australian Garden Show Sydney very interesting – there is a wide variety of nurseries, landscape designers, florists, garden accessories, tools and other gardening products. So if you have a knack for gardening and find that gardening equipment in Singapore are too expensive or there isn’t the seeds/plants that you want, the Australian Garden Show Sydney is the place to get great bargains and a huge variety of gardening tools and products.
Within the Grand Floral Pavilion, there are lots of flowers for sale too – what might interest you is the floristry demonstrations and fashion parades of beautiful flowers put up by design students at the respective TAFE institutes and this happens daily at fixed timings!
What caught my attention is the Poultry Pavilion where there is a display of different chickens and even a pink hen that lays blue eggs!
If you can’t get enough of flowers and gardens in Sydney, then you must check out the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domains which is an oasis of 30 hectares in the heart of the city. Around the Gardens, you enjoy spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Established in 1816, the Royal Botanic Gardens is home to a wide variety of Australian and overseas plants. There are free guided tours of the Gardens daily by volunteer guides. We did an Aboriginal Heritage Tour at the Royal Botanic Gardens – the guide shared very interesting info of ancient music, dance and artefacts and the aboriginals made use of seeds, plants and trees for food and as weapons to hunt animals – the Gardens do such tours every Friday at 10.30am (U$36.50 as of 2013).