Lisgar Gardens is a hidden oasis located not far from Hornsby's CBD, that you will wish you knew about earlier. It consists of a series of tiers down a steep hillside that offers plenty of peaceful places for a picnic, and a beautiful place to go exploring.
I've always found the gazebo area to be one of the best spots
The different levels of the garden have been created by sandstone walls, and closer to the entrance they contain tended gardens, man-made waterfalls, fishponds and other picturesque spots.
The sandstone walls that create the tiers
There's also a small gazebo, a larger pavilion and an open grassy space where you can set up your picnic near the top too.
The formal lawn area
Lower down the hill, the gardens are more natural - and the paths allow you to explore it all at your leisure.
Down near the bottom of the gardens
The space was created by Dr Max Cotton, who bought the site in the 1920s and filled it with flowers, including many camellias. Some of the original plants, of which are well over 60 years old, remain today.
These camellias are the inspiration for Camellia Gala Day in winter, put on by the Friends of Lisgar Gardens volunteer group. This group also holds the Teddy Bear's Day Out picnic event in March.
It is possible to hire the gardens for your own event, such as group excursions, weddings or other special occasions. Bookings can be for no more than three hours and cost $200.
Inside the pavilion, which can be used for special occasions.
An inclinator means those in wheelchairs still have access to the pavilion and lawn area, and can join in all the fun, but prior arrangements with Hornsby Council are necessary.
If you do organise an event here, be aware that there is very limited parking.
Where: Lisgar Road, Hornsby
Why: A peaceful and beautiful place for a picnic or to go exploring.
When: Monday to Friday 8.00am to 3.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm (or 10.00am to 5.00pm DST). Lisgar Gardens is closed on public holidays.