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Frequently Asked Questions

Booking a Picnic or Garden Site
No, visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic without making a booking, however this does not guarantee you exclusive use of the site.

Groups of all sizes (up to 300 people) can book a picnic spot. By booking a picnic site you are able to bring into the Garden additional infrastructure. Please check out the information listed under each picnic shelter.
Booking a designated picnic site in the Garden means:
  • You will have exclusive use of your preferred picnic shelter on your booked date and time.
  • There is no need to arrive at the Garden hours in advance to save a spot.
  • You have exclusive use of reserved picnic table(s).
  • All sites offer shade and amenities within 200m.
  • You can communicate exact details of your picnic with certainty to friends and family in advance of the day.
Please see the listing of each picnic shelter for this information.
Booking fees vary depending on the size of your location of the site and whether you are a member of the public, school or business. For prices please see each individual picnic listing.
This depends on what you are bringing in with your booking. To be sure, please speak with our visitor service team.
Once you have selected your chosen shelter and completed some details (after clicking book now), you will be directed through to an online payment gateway. After payment has been made you will receive a confirmation email as well as a receipt email for payment. You now have the peace of mind that your shelter is booked and will be ready for your function.
You should be aware that the Australian Botanic Garden is a community venue and that other non-related activities may be occurring throughout the Garden at the time of your booking. This may include concerts and large community events that are booked throughout the year. We will endeavour to limit bookings on the day of a major event. If a confirmed event booking exists, we will make the potential impacts known to you at the time of booking. For bookings made well in advance, notification may not be possible at the time of booking.

The Garden reserves the right to cancel bookings up to six months in advance of the booking date or relocate a booking up to three months in advance of a booking and will refund any payments in full upon cancellation. No further compensation will be payable.

If you wish to cancel your booking, it must be made in writing to

In the event of cancellation, the following fees will be retained by the Trust:
  • Cancellations received more than one month prior to your booking will be given a 50% refund of the total fee received.
  • Cancellations received less than one month prior to your booking will not be given a refund.

Cancellation due to inclement weather:

A 50% refund of the venue hire fee will be given if you have notified the Visitor Centre on 02 4634 7935 before 9:00 am on the day of your booking, a message must be left on the voicemail. To process your refund we require a written cancellation (as above) which must be received by the Visitor Centre no more than 14 days after your booking date.
The Garden is a partly self-funded public asset that receives over 400,000 visits a year. All revenue we raise is invested back into the maintenance and improvement of Garden facilities including new picnic tables.
Using the Picnic and Garden Areas
Once we have confirmed your booking, you will receive a booking confirmation email which will include a map with your location.

Each bookable picnic site has a signage identifying the site. This will help you ensure you are in the right place.
The size of the area varies from site to site and is appropriate for the maximum capacity of that site.
Free car parking is available throughout the Garden and is available to all garden visitors on a first come first service basis.

A coach parking bay is available around the central loop area as well as Wattle Garden.
No. Vehicles are only permitted on public roads within the Garden.

Special permission may be granted for off-road access for drop-off and pick-up of equipment at designated picnic sites only if approved in advance as part of the booking application process and only under Ranger escort. Please arrange through the visitor service team.
There are three tiers of bookable the Garden. Regardless of which site you book you can bring the following items with you for no additional cost:
  • Your own portable gas BBQ.
  • Up to two tables.
  • Up to 30 chairs (wide based feet).
  • One 3m x 3m pop-up shade structure (must be weighted not pegged).

Depending on what tier of site you book you can bring additional items with you for an additional cost. For more information please contact us.
Yes, the use of portable gas BBQs that have legs preventing them from sitting directly on the grass are permitted as part of your booking (except during periods of total fire ban).

Hot oil, hot or frozen liquid from the BBQs must not be dumped anywhere with the Garden, they must be taken with you when you leave.

The lighting of fires in the Gardens is prohibited. Mobile wood-fired pizza ovens are also not allowed.
Yes, on Tier 1 sites you may have a caterer serving food (with no food to be cooked on site). At Tier 2-4 sites you can have a caterer that cooks food on-site. Charges and conditions apply.
Yes, but only with approval from the Garden.

Party streamers, confetti, sparklers and fireworks are also not permitted in the Gardens.

The Australian Botanic Garden provides an important and sensitive ecosystem for plants and wildlife within the Sydney metropolitan region. Please respect this environment when holding your picnic.
An acoustic ensemble of up to four persons is welcome as part of your picnic booking for an additional fee.

To comply with Gardens regulations and out of respect for other garden visitors, sound must not exceed what is considered to be ambient background levels. Bagpipes, drums, electronic music equipment or other amplified systems are not permitted.

NB: Only the Lakeside Pavilion has power. There is no access to power at any other bookable picnic site within the Garden, and portable generators cannot be used for music amplification.
No, Gardens regulations forbid the retailing of products or overt use of promotional signage in the Gardens without the prior approval from the Garden.
You are not permitted to sell tickets as part of a picnic site booking. However the Garden does have areas that are available for commercial hire for such events.
General Questions
Please politely advise the people that you have a booking for that site and ask them to move to a different location. Signage at the picnic site will help you clarify the area you have booked. If they do not oblige, please call a Gardens Ranger on 0409 122 953 and they will enforce this for you.

Please make sure you have your picnic booking confirmation with you at all times on the day of your booking as you may be required to show this to a Gardens Ranger.
Please report this immediately to a Gardens Ranger by calling 0409 122 953.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you leave the site clean and tidy on the day of your booking.
Please take your rubbish with you and dispose of it responsibly. As a sustainably focused, self-funded public asset we ask for your help to reduce waste within the Gardens. Picnics can generate significant amounts of rubbish and whilst general and recycling waste bins are provided throughout the Gardens, we ask that you please take your rubbish with you when you leave.

This not only reduces the potential danger waste poses to Gardens wildlife, it enables us to keep waste disposal costs to a minimum and instead invest precious funds into tree conservation and planting and other essential maintenance of heritage features, amenities and other Gardens facilities.
Our opening times vary, depending on the season.

Summer: 8.00 am - 7.00 pm.
Autumn, Winter and Spring: 8.00 am - 5.00 pm.
No, the Australian Botanic Garden closes to all vehicles each night.

If your car has broken down, or cannot otherwise be moved due to mechanical fault, please notify a Gardens Ranger on 0409 122 953 in order to avoid a fine.
In case of an emergency please call 000 immediately.

As a secondary measure, Gardens Rangers are qualified first aid providers and can be contacted on 0409 122 953.
Please contact the visitor centre on (02) 4634 7935 or email with the following details:
  • Your name.
  • Your contact details.
  • A description of the item.
  • The approximate time you may have lost the item.
  • The approximate place you may have lost the item.