Review: Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

Review: Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

By: undefined undefinedPosted: June 21, 2024
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Review: Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

By: undefined undefinedJune 21, 2024

Reviewed by Isla Cox, 19th of June 2024

Today I took a trip to one of Sydney’s best kept secrets; Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. In 1992, Wendy Whiteley lost her husband, the renowned artist, Brett Whiteley. As a result, she threw herself into restoring the unused railroad land at the foot of her house, and began transforming it into what we now know as Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. After her only daughter died in 2001, Wendy threw herself back into the garden, and it eventually became the breathtaking space it is today.

After a commute in the gorgeous Autumn sun, I arrived in Lavender Bay, where I promptly got lost and had to trek back up to the train station to start again. After a bit of a roundabout journey, I found myself inside in a garden, however as I would soon realise, this was not in fact the secret garden, but the small park next door. After a little more walking, I did eventually find my way to the garden, and after a while, settled in to enjoy the environment. There are directions available on the website, which are simple enough to follow, but if you’re planning a visit soon, I would advise not taking the boardwalk if you’re not familiar with the area. There is construction around it which makes it harder to locate.

After the initial confusion, I began my walk around the garden. It truly was like walking into a new world. Everything was beautiful, pristine and perfect imperfect. There were nooks and crannies to be explored, ample seating options and a new path to go down every time you turned around. Down the bottom of the garden is a fabulous open space, and up top is the beautiful fig tree that towers over a wooden bench filled with engravings and carving from the hundreds of people who were previously there. It’s filled with plants of every size, shape and colour and is sure to delight.

Having visited early on a Wednesday morning, I was lucky enough to have the garden to myself for a few minutes. I realised quickly what made the area so special, was the complete safety I felt. The area is completely secluded, but there is an innate sense of safety and comfort in every corner of the garden. I would absolutely recommend taking a trip, not just in a family group or with friends, but by yourself to fully experience the calm and quiet of the garden. It’s a break for the senses, as well as the mind, and if you seek inspiration, this is the place to go.

A view from the top of the garden

After a lovely trip through the garden, I took an immensely refreshing ferry ride back to Circular Quay. I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia as I trekked through Sydney today, and as a result, implore you to get out and see the sights of Sydney. Taking a trip to Wendy’s Secret Garden is definitely worth your while, it’s a gorgeous location, and extraordinarily inspiring. I would recommend going earlier in the day, as well as making use of the surrounding public transport, as there is minimal parking around the garden. The directions can be a little tricky to follow, but if you use any GPS or maps application, you’ll be able to access it without a hitch, and enjoy Wendy’s stunning work.

The Opera House, viewed from the ferry
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