Lavender Bay Walk: Exploring Wendy’s Secret Garden & Milsons Point
This Lavender Bay walk is a nice relaxing stroll that only takes an hour, perhaps longer, if you stop, sit, and soak up the views. Beginning at Milsons Point, you will make your way to Wendy’s not so Secret Garden and enjoy some stunning harbour views. It’s great to combine with a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Luna Park – this classic amusement park was renovated and 9 new rides added in 2021
- Sydney Comic Walk – statues celebrating Australia’s humour
- Wendy’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay, the perfect place for a picnic or even a proposal
- Stunning Sydney Harbour views – you can capture the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the same frame.
So let’s begin.
Start the Lavender Bay Walk at Milsons Point
We will begin at Milson’s Point. You can take the train to Milson’s Point Station and follow the street down to the harbour.
Alternatively, catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point Wharf. Whichever you choose perhaps do the reverse on the way back to the city.
Usually our first stop would be North Sydney Pool, but it was closed for a 2 year renovation back in 2021 and due to reopen in mid 2023.
Check out the North Sydney Olympic Pool
Normally, we would tell you to visit the art déco-inspired complex which opened in 1936. The pool hosted the Empire Games, the predecessor of the Commonwealth games, back in 1938. At least 86 world records were set in this pool, including records by Australian Olympians Shane Gould and Michelle Ford. It is currently being renovated but will reopen next year.
Imagine doing a few laps of backstroke looking up at the Harbour Bridge. It’s certainly an experience to remember.
Try out the rides at Luna Park
It’s tempting to walk into the big smiling mouth to see what he is so happy about. If you have a bit of time, why not? Entry to the park is free although you will need a day pass to ride.
Luna Park opened in 1935; there are been several versions of the iconic face over the decade since. The current one was completed in January 1995 and is based on the face designed by Arthur Barton in the 1960s.
Included in the NSW State Heritage Register, Sydney’s Luna Park is one of only two amusement parks in the world that are protected by government legislation.
There are 17 rides in the park ranging from the hair raising Big Dipper III or Sledgehammer rides to the family friendly Wild Mouse.
Take a ride on the 35m high Ferris wheel for some great photo opportunities or for a look at amusement parks of old, make a stop at Coney Island, one of the original buildings dating back to 1935. Ride the wooden slides and see what fun was like in the 1930s.
A version of the Rotor has been on site since 1951, thankfully this one is a little newer opening in 1995. Locals can purchase an annual pass for $125 or a day pass from $44. Prices vary depending on the day of the week.
Now let’s go find that garden in Lavender Bay
Begin by following the harbour edge past Luna Park and around Lavender Bay. There are a couple of highlights here.
The footpath here, known as Peter Kingston Walkway, is named after a local artist who has lives in Lavender Bay. Kingston created the sculptures that dot the garden bed lining the path.
Also known as the Comic Walk, it features many of Australia’s much loved characters including Bib and Bub, Ginger Meggs, the Magic Pudding, Felix the Cat, Luna Park Face, and Blinky Bill. There is also a memorial statue to those who lost their lives in the Luna Park fire in 1979.
Lots of small boats are moored in this part of the harbour, and there is a great view back to the city. This side of the Bridge is a good place to get a shot with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House together. You can continue right around to Blue’s Point if you like.
Near the water’s edge, you will see a brick tunnel leading to Clark Park on the top of the ridge and the secret garden in the middle.
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy Whiteley and her husband, Australian artist Brett Whiteley, lived in Lavender Bay for twenty years before his death in 1992. She built the garden on abandoned waterfront land as a memorial to both her husband and her daughter Arkie who sadly passed away in 2001.
It is a beautiful place for a picnic, quiet meditation, or just sitting and reading a book. While it can be busy on weekends, if you visit on a weekday, you may find you have the place to yourself.
There are lots of nooks and crannies throughout the garden so that you can find your own little piece of solitude and shade. We are indebted to Wendy for building and maintaining the fantastic garden. In 2009, she was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her work here.
If you would like to see more of Brett’s work, one of his most iconic pieces, and my favourite, The Balcony, is in the NSW Art Gallery.
This short stroll in Lavender Bay will take about an hour and a half if you stop to take photos on the way. If you walked at a decent pace non-stop, you could do it in under an hour.
When you finish exploring the garden, you can head back to Luna Park Wharf; you can catch a ferry to Circular Quay or Darling Harbour. If you have some energy left, I recommend walking back to the city across the bridge.
Note: This Milsons Point to Lavender Bay Walk is dog friendly.
Not ready to go home yet?
- If you fancy a drink to finish your afternoon off, you could try the Kirribilli Club in Harbourview Crescent between the garden and Luna Park.
- Alternatively, continue to the eastern side of the bridge and around Kirribilli for more views of the Opera House.
- If you want a longer walk, make your way to Cremorne Point for a more challenging track.
- If the dates coincide, you might like to visit the twice-monthly Kirribilli Markets held just outside the station.