Australia's oldest public park, Sydney's Hyde Park is a respite from the hectic CBD with historic monuments, scenic spots and plenty of wide, green space spread across 16 hectares of parklands. Governor Phillip declared the area as public land in 1792 when it hosted cricket matches, boxing bouts and horse races before transforming into parklands in 1810.
Divided into Hyde Park north and Hyde Park south by Park Street, the area traverses formal gardens, expansive lawns and tall trees all bound by Elizabeth and College Streets. The northern end contains a giant chess set and the J.F. Archibald Memorial Fountain featuring the Greek mythological figure of Apollo with dolphins, horses' head and tortoises. Central Avenue is a stunning tree-lined path with huge figs that form a canopy over the thoroughfare. Lit with fairy lights at night, it's particularly beautiful. The southern end of Hyde Park contains memorials and statues including the Anzac Memorial and the shallow, rectangular Pool of Reflection. The free memorial contains 120,000 gold stars within the dome for each of the men and women from New South Wales who served in World War I, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
During the day, Hyde Park is a popular place for city workers to enjoy lunch in the sunshine or for visitors to relax with a picnic. There are plenty of benches to sit down and take in the ambience, or stretch your legs around the paths and lawns. Throughout the year, Hyde Park hosts annual events such as the Sydney Food and Wine Fair, Sydney Festival pop-up events and other launches and celebrations. If you are visiting the park during the day with food, watch out for the ubiquitous ibises that aren't shy about sharing your lunch! At night, you could spy possums scampering among the tall trees.
Hyde Park is served by public transport including buses and trains. The subterranean rail stations of St James and Museum respectively service the north and south sections of Hyde Park. If you're walking from Pitt Street Mall, it's a three-minute journey on foot.