We recently enjoyed our first visit to what has to be one of Sydney’s most magical spots: Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, in Lavender Bay.
The story of the land’s transformation from wasteland to wonderland is familiar to many Sydneysiders; the garden is not such a secret these days but in fact a popular city attraction.
For those who don’t know, Wendy, wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley, set to work on the valley of land outside their home shortly after his death in 1992. She ploughed enormous amounts of time, energy and money into removing the weeds and rubbish until this plot of disused NSW Government land evolved into the patch of paradise we see today. In 2015 its future as a public space was ensured when the NSW government granted North Sydney Council a 30-year renewable lease.
On our trip, we met several canine friends enjoying an on-leash exploration among the winding pathways that zigzag across the hillside.
There are plenty of seats and tables dotted around, so visitors can sit and admire the views of the harbour and bridge, or the sculptures that have been donated to the garden. Brush turkeys pecking around provided some tantalising smells for Harry…
Parts of the hillside can be quite steep and when we took the steps back up it proved too much for Harry’s 14-year-old legs. He performed his (by now familiar) sit-down protest and Him Indoors carried him the rest of the way.
The garden is adjacent to Clark Park, Lavender Bay. For more information about Wendy’s Secret Garden, visit www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au