Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Recreation Plan

The original purpose of the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, which opened to the public 3 October 1988, was to be the location for exclusive botanic (taxonomic) displays of Australian Native Plants for the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. The Royal Botanic Garden dates back to 1816, operate under an act of parliament and are administered by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. A major objective of the Trust is to promote public use and enjoyment of its lands while maintaining a primary focus on plants.

The role of Mount Annan Botanic Garden has evolved within the context of the growing population in Sydney’s south-west and the needs of this community. The Trust’s undertaking is to create more of a balance between the botanic collection and visitor experience - by providing excellent quality visual displays and space for recreation. Future trends in recreation and health, combined with the availability and use of 400 plus hectares of green space, will help shape the Garden’s response to future community needs.

This recreation plan is intended as a guide for current and medium-term future recreational activities, and will assist in the assimilation and segregation of passive and active recreational opportunities within the Garden. It is based on clear principles, goals and guidelines:

1. Effective long-term stewardship

As custodian of the Mount Annan Botanic Garden estate, effective, long-term stewardship is founded on the objectives of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, while providing and balancing equity for visitors and ensuring the future conservation and environmental integrity of the Garden are protected. This stewardship will be further guided by:

1.1 Key principles

The key principles on which all Mount Annan Botanic Garden’s operations (including provision of recreation) are based are: sustainable horticulture, environmental protection, community engagement and provision for active and passive recreation.

1.2 Vision

Click here to view the vision for Mount Annan Botanic Garden in the Master Plan Review 2006.

'By 2016 Mount Annan Botanic Garden will be a highly valued botanic garden and sustainable parkland embraced by the community and recognised both locally and internationally for its botanic, cultural and natural landscapes.'

1.3 Mission

The mission of the Botanic Gardens Trust is 'to inspire the appreciation and conservation of plants'.

1.4 Legislative requirements

Click here to view legislative requirements under the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Act 1980.

1.5 NSW State Plan priorities

Click here to view the State Plan

Specific priorities that apply to Mount Annan Botanic Garden include:

  • Priority R4 'Rights, Respect and Responsibility': Increased participation and integration in community activities
  • Priority E8 'Environment for Living': More people using parks, sporting facilities and participating in the arts and cultural activity
  • Priority E4 'Better outcomes for native vegetation, biodiversity, land, rivers and coastal waterways'

2. Current and future passive and active recreational opportunities

Current and future passive and active recreational opportunities that are encouraged in the Garden are listed below. Consideration, with all activities, must be given to ensuring they do not conflict with the Mount Annan Botanic Garden Visitor Code of Conduct and that equity, balanced with responsible, operational management and constraints of the Garden, is ensured.

2.1 Passive recreational pursuits

  • Individual and casual walking groups
  • Organised walking groups including 'not for profit', commercial enterprises and competition
  • Garden group visits
  • Picnics and barbecues
  • Corporate events and functions
  • Celebrations
  • Bird watching
  • Tours - self guided and organised including: historic, cultural, ecological, behind the scenes, individual garden, etc.
  • Community events - Harvest food and wine fair, plant sales, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Carols in the Garden, outdoor films, etc.
  • Educational pursuits including educational holiday activities, school excursions
  • Bushwalking and supervised camping
  • Artistic expression - painting, sketching, drawing, photography, etc.

Note: Fee payment is required to undertake commercial activities.

2.2 Active recreational pursuits

Designated zones exist for:

  • Cycling, mountain bike riding, scooters and skateboards
  • Kite flying
  • School cross country events
  • Ball games
  • Events and competitions
  • Playground activities, structured and non-structured play

3. Proposals for new activities and events

All proposals for new activities and events will be considered on merit following written application. The application must state the intent and purpose of the proposed activity, required facilities and proposed benefits to the Garden and its visitors. It should also consider potential impacts on the Garden, other users, installation needs and safety issues.

This Recreation Plan will be reviewed mid-2009 and every two years beyond to ensure it remains current and reflects any changes in Botanic Gardens Trust, departmental and New South Wales Government priorities.


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Aerial view