Best time to visit Sydney

Wendy's Secret Garden in Sydney 2023-2024

A heart-warming space and a story worth sharing

Best time: all year round

Wendy's Secret Garden
Wendy's Secret Garden
Wendy's Secret Garden
Wendy's Secret Garden

A renowned artist, Brett Whiteley, and his wife Wendy set up their family home in Lavender Bay in 1970 and lived there for two decades. Brett painted many of his iconic pictures of Sydney Harbour there. After his death in 1992, Wendy put her grief and love into transforming a derelict, disused yard space.

Over the past 25 years, Wendy’s Secret Garden has been maintained by Whiteley and two gardeners. They have planted exotic and native plants and herbs, and have landscaped the space with winding lanes supported by benches to sit on, raw bush timber balustrades, retaining walls, cobbled stairs, and paths.

Alongside the natural beauty of flowering and towering shady fig trees, curling lilies and ferns, you’ll also find bronze busts, wooden carvings, engraved stone tablets, and other sculptures spread around the garden. As these pieces of art are donated by local artists, they serve as a point of inspiration for Whiteley and the community alike.

The garden also reveals majestic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the gleaming harbour foreshore, and the fringes of the CBD and North Sydney. The garden’s long-term development is now in sustainable balance, as the NSW State Government has granted the North Sydney Council a 30-year lease to secure the garden's future.

The Garden has no official opening hours, it is open seven days a week. However, due to the lack of lightning and pathway design, it is recommended to visit it during the day.

Practical info

What is the best time to visit Wendy's Secret Garden in Sydney?

The garden can be visited daily, as it does not have any fixed opening hours. However, going during the day is suggested for the best experience. The garden wakes up with the sun, and mornings are beautiful, affording you lovely views of Sydney Harbour. The garden is typically crowded on weekends, so weekdays are recommended to avoid crowds and enjoy the tranquility the garden offers. Show more

Where is Wendy's Secret Garden located in Sydney?

Wendy's Secret Garden is situated in Lavender Bay, North Sydney, New South Wales, in Australia. It's located at the end of Lavender Street at the bottom of a slope. Wendy's garden is easily accessible via car, ferry, train or bus. Visitors can also take a pleasantly scenic walk along the trail leading from Luna Park to the garden. Show more

What was the inspiration behind the creation of Wendy's garden?

Faced with the loss of her husband, Brett Whiteley, in 1992, Wendy transformed a disused, derelict yard into the magnificent garden it is now. It was a long project undertaken over a considerable period, with the assistance of two gardeners and her late husband. Her love for the community and the desire to create a peaceful sanctuary for everyone inspired the Secret Garden's creation. Show more

Is there an admission fee to enter the garden?

Wendy's Secret Garden is open to visitors and does not have an entry fee. Wendy created the garden to be a refuge for anyone who needs to escape from the demands of city life. However, any donations visitors choose to make will assist in preserving the vibrancy and sustainability of the garden for every person to enjoy. Show more

How long does it take to explore Wendy's Secret Garden?

The time required to explore the entire garden varies based on an individual's rate and level of interest. However, visitors typically spend one to two hours exploring and admiring the beauty of the garden. It is recommended to move slowly and appreciate the fine art pieces, exotic native plants, and magnificent views of Sydney Harbour, including the CBD and North Sydney. Show more

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