Lisgar Gardens

Lisgar Gardens is a wonderful, secret garden hidden in the back streets of Hornsby. Spread across 6 acres, the garden packs a lot in with a little bit of something for everyone.

During a visit here guests will enjoy the Upper Garden, Middle Garden (with fish pond) and the Lower Garden and bush walk.

I happened upon the garden on a sunny March day and even though the famous Camellia’s were not in bloom, the gardens were still beautiful to wander through. If you are keen to see the Camellias then come in Autumn or Winter (from around April to June). There are around ninety varieties in the garden.

Picnic in the Upper Garden

Entry into Lisgar Garden is via a steep staircase which leads you to the terraced gardens. As you wind your way down the stairs past a small pond and waterfall, you will see glimpses of the peaceful picnic ground and the gazebo. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Water Dragons – I was lucky enough to spot a few baby ones and they sure are cute.

This area is full of Camellia’s (of which Lisgar Garden is famous) and is a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch.

There is an inclinator on site, but use of this must be organised prior to your visit via Hornsby Council.

The peaceful upper garden

Spot the baby Water Dragon

Find the fish in the middle garden

Just a few stairs down from the Upper Garden is the small Middle Garden of Lisgar Gardens. The highlight of this area is the shade house which is full of hungry Koi fish. Kids will love how close they can get to them! There is also a lovely picnic area here.

The lower middle has some lovely picnic spots great for relaxing

Go for a bushwalk in the Lower Garden

When visiting Lisgar Gardens make sure to take a look around the Lower Garden. This area is very informal but is full of lovely winding paths, flowering plants and a bush walk which leads to a waterfall.

Don’t miss the lower garden

A bit of history of Lisgar Gardens

The garden was created by Dr Max Cotton who purchased the land from his brother. Max planted the gardens with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, gardenias and other exotic plants. Today Lisgar Gardens is also full of native trees and ferns.  Max created the terraced levels using sandstone block walls.

Hornsby Council purchased the property in 1967 and named it Lisgar Gardens. The gardens now boast more than ninety varieties of camellia with some of the original camellias still flourishing in the gardens.

Five reasons to visit Lisgar Gardens

  1. Enjoy a picnic in the Upper Garden
  2. Spot a Water Dragon
  3. Bushwalk through the Lower Garden
  4. See the fish in the shade house
  5. Admire the ninety varieties of Camellia on display

Freedays summary of Lisgar Gardens

  • Entry: Free
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Wheelchair friendly: Access via stairs or inclinator (must be pre-organised with Hornsby Council)
  • Free carparking: Yes
  • Free BBQ facilities: No
  • Time to spend here: 1 hour (unless you are having lunch)
  • Food available: No
  • Address: Lisgar Road, Hornsby NSW 2077, however due to restricted parking in Lisgar Road visitors may need to park in surrounding streets (such as William Street)
  • Further details:

More free things to do 

After exploring the garden why not:

  • Visit Swain Gardens, another secret Sydney Garden
  • Explore Sydney’s top gardens



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