Paddington Reservoir Gardens - Atlas Obscura

Paddington Reservoir Gardens

A former drinking water storage reservoir transformed into a sunken garden. 

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These manicured gardens in the Sydney suburb of Paddington include a pool, benches, tree ferns and other vegetation, and a flat grassy area. Paddington Reservoir was once used to store drinking water for part of the city of Sydney. Designed in 1857 and completed in 1866, the reservoir could store a maximum of 2 million gallons at its close in 1899.

The reservoir then served as storage, a garage, a workspace, and a petrol station until part of the roof collapsed in 1990. The gardens were opened in 2009 and are administered by the city of Sydney.

From the street, the gardens aren’t visible, but once you climb the stairs or walk up the sloping sidewalk, you can see them down below. Paddington Gardens is state heritage listed and won the Australian Award for Urban Design in 2009, as well as the seal of approval from ABC’s Art Nation and Gardening Australia.

Know Before You Go

There's no parking lot, but there is street parking, and the site is close to bus lines on Oxford Street.  


The sidewalks are wide and flat. There's a lift and an easy-to-access sloping walkway from the street, making this suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.  The upper level is open 24 hours, but the lower, garden level is open only during daylight hours.  

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March 13, 2024

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