This is a gorgeous spot hidden away in Hornsby that’s well worth a visit. Lisgar Gardens is a stunning hillside garden with a rich history and bordering this is Florence Cotton Reserve, a valuable piece of remnant urban bushland offering a lovely bushwalk for families.
Opened to the public in 1968, Lisgar Gardens is a terraced garden renowned for its array of camelias, which have been internationally recognised. It boasts many other flowers also, as well as other areas to explore like a shade house containing fish ponds, a gazebo, small waterfalls, informal lawn areas and more. There’s wildlife too – we saw several bush turkeys scratching around and also a water dragon sunbaking by one of the water features.
Once privately owned by Dr Max Cotton who created the gardens, they are now owned and maintained by Hornsby Council.
The adjacent bushland of approximately 17 hectares was once owned by Dr Cotton’s brother Leo. This area is named after Leo’s wife, Florence Cotton. The bush here is filled with blackbutts, blue gums, turpentine trees, allocasuarina and ferns. You’ll cross over Jimmy Bancks Creek, named after local resident and creator of the Ginger Meggs comic strip.
You can enter the bush at different points in the loop including off Hornsby streets Pretoria Parade, Frederick Street and Pinera Close. If you visit when the gardens are busy, this may help with parking. (i.e. parking AWAY from the gardens.) If you plan to access the bushwalk directly from the gardens you’d park on Lisgar Road and walk in and down through the gardens. This is the way we did the walk.
Lisgar Gardens – Lisgar Road, Hornsby.
Parking is on residential streets nearby. Note, Lisgar Road can be busy and is quite narrow.
Open hours: Weekdays 8am-3.30pm, Weekends 10am to 4pm (5pm during daylight savings). Closed public holidays and during adverse weather conditions.
Florence Cotton Reserve bush loop
Access via various points along the loop – Lisgar Gardens, Pretoria Parade, Frederick Street and Pinera Close.