Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Lavender Bay, Australia

Wendy's Secret Garden

Built over an abandoned train yard, this hidden gem is full of winding paths and offers gorgeous views of Sydney Harbour. 

After Wendy Whiteley’s husband died in 1992, she realized she needed an outlet for her grief. To distract herself from the pain, she began clearing garbage and weeds from an old abandoned railway yard. She’s spent the past 25 years transforming the patch of land into something incredibly beautiful: a secret, hidden garden.

No one ever told her to stop. Fueled even further by the later grief of the loss of her only daughter, Wendy kept transforming the forgotten lot into what it is today. She doesn’t actually own the land, but in 2015, the New South Wales Government gave a 30-year lease to the city council that will allow the garden to continue evolving and thriving.

The garden is a quiet alternative to the bustling, more touristy parts of Sydney Harbour. It’s a lush, green landscape, full of vivid greenery and a handful of whimsical sculptures. Pathways wind through the maze of flora, leading to various nooks and crannies.

With dozens of secluded benches scattered throughout, and several small tables in strategically private places, this is a great place to come to write, eat, or meet with friends while feeling like you’re the only ones there. Not only is the garden itself gorgeous, it also offers several stunning plant-framed views of Sydney Harbour and the iconic Harbour Bridge.

If you’re looking for a unique, beautiful, and peaceful spot to visit in North Sydney, this is your place. Just a few minutes past Luna Park, you’ll want to keep a close eye out for the entrance under the old train tracks, as the garden entrance itself isn’t well marked (it is, after all, a secret garden!).