What to See and Do in Hyde Park, Sydney

Hyde Park is the oldest park in Australia and one of the top attractions in Sydney City. Spanning more than 16 hectares of lush greenery and picturesque scenes, it offers respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Impromptu picnics are the name of the game here, while the walking paths offer pretty trails around trees, benches, and a collection of natural sights.

The park itself is split into north and south sections by Park Street which runs directly through the middle. Each section offers something a little different for visitors, but both are equally as alluring.

The History of the Park

Hyde Park in October

Back in the day, 1792 to be exact, the park region was reserved by Governor Phillip. Claiming it to be freely used by the townspeople of Sydney. During this time, it was mainly used for grazing animals and collecting firewood.

In 1810, Governor Macquarie proclaimed the region a legal park, naming it after the park in England. The Park was first envisioned as a ‘grand quadrangle’ of a neo-classical town plan. However, this soon changed with the Park first starting as a course for horse racing. By the early 1820s, the park’s function changed again, this time for other sporting endeavours. Becoming a popular venue for cricket, rugby, and football matches. This is still done today, hosting a range of sporting events, but on a much more relaxed, and casual level.

Trees and Greenery

There are hundreds of huge, leafy trees dotted around Hyde Park, offering ample shady space for picnics and respite from the warm sun. In total, there are around 580 mature trees, both exotic and native in variety, including the historic central avenue of Hill’s Figs. These trees line the central pedestrian avenue, adding a lush backdrop to the scene.

Monuments and Art

Monuments

In Hyde Park north, you’ll find plenty of monuments standing guard. The Archibald Fountain is perhaps the most prolific, having been donated as a gift by JF Archibald. It’s easy to spot, thanks to its ancient mythological statue of Apollo surrounded by horses, tortoises, and dolphins.

There are multiple statues in the park, each with a significant history and meaning. The bronze statue of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, is located at the front of Hyde Park. Made five years after his death, the first home for this statue was in the Botanical Gardens in 1922. Before being moved to Hyde Park in 1987. Another statue found in the park depicts the famous Captain James Cook. Famous for his explorations and being the first European along with his crew to see and chart the east coast of Australia. The statue was created in 1879 and depicts him standing on a column, holding a chart, with his right hand upraised.

Elsewhere, there are the Sandringham and Nagoya Gardens, which are filled with public art works, impressive monuments, and water features.

Historic Encounters

History buffs will enjoy a trip to Hyde Park, particularly the southern part of it. Here, you’ll find the Anzac Memorial and the Pool of Reflection, both of which commemorate important aspects of Hyde Park Sydney.

Anzac March

One of the main events held at Hyde Park is the Anzac March. With the participating veterans and the public honouring those who served in the defence of Australia.

Pool of Reflection

A long rectangle pool of reflection sits within the north-south axis of Hyde Park. It is serenely still and peaceful, clearly reflecting the buildings and trees surrounding it. The meaning behind the pool is to honour the soldiers of the War, predominantly the Anzac Soldiers. The monument was sanctioned in 1929, with a competition held for the design of the memorial. There were 117 entries were received from all over the world, with the winning design awarded to Mr Charles Bruce Dellit in 1930.

Festivals and Fun

Festival at Hyde Park

As well as monuments and natural beauty, the park also offers year-round fun. Special events take place in the park throughout the year, including the Sydney Food and Wine Fair, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander celebration. In addition, there are numerous pop-up events that appear in every season, from whimsical markets and live performances, to parades and theatrical shows. Many events that are part of the renowned Sydney Festival take place here, too, providing you with tonnes to see and do whenever you decide to visit.

Sydney Food and Wine Fair

Experience all what Sydney has to offer with a day out with your partner or posse. With over 800 different wine varieties and around 250 exhibitors-its guaranteed to satisfy even the fussiest traveller. Featuring some of the best chefs around, with live cooking demonstrations, masterclasses and a whole heap of wine tastings. Enjoy the luscious food before heading inside Hyde Park for a view of the lush greenery hidden within.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are an important community in Sydney and beyond. With a vast history in both the centre region and outer bush areas. Due to the invasion of European, the traditional owners of the land have gone through a massive ordeal, with millions wiped from existence, stolen from their families, and have their homes taken away from them. These days, Australia recognises the importance of connecting the Aboriginal history, customs, and beliefs to the entire country and more.  The Yabun Festival is one of the tools in bringing this about, with the festival an annual celebration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures held on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people in Sydney, Australia. It is a showcase of the best skills and talents the community has, most predominately their music skills. With players performing exciting and graceful moves that have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.

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