10 Best Places to Elope in Sydney
10 of the Best Elopement Locations in Sydney
Are you planning an elopement or small wedding and looking for the best places to elope in Sydney? Well, you have come to the right place. We will give you expert advice on the best locations for you to have your elopement in Sydney.
Sydney is a big and busy city. It is the capital city of New South Wales and it is the city with the largest population in Australia with over five million people. Sydney is also a massive sprawling city that extends over 658 suburbs, out towards the Blue Mountains, south to Macarthur and north just below the Central Coast. For this article on the best places to elope in Sydney, I am just going to concentrate on areas around the Sydney CBD and Sydney Harbour. Sydney Harbour is the most beautiful and one of the most iconic locations in Australia and I think it is worth exploring your options for elopements in this amazing city.
Because it is Sydney, you can pretty much guarantee that every location will need a booking, a permit, insurance details from all your suppliers and in most cases there will be a fee. Hey… it’s Sydney so you have to expect this. My tip is to make sure you get everything in writing and bring the details to you for your elopement. The last thing you want is for a security guard or council ranger asking you if you have permission.
So here is our list of the best places to elope in Sydney.
1. Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is our current top choice for one of the best places to elope in Sydney. Why? Because it is a huge beautiful park, with lots of big gorgeous trees and plants. And it has Sydney Harbour as its backdrop. It doesn’t get much better than this.
This heritage list, 30-hectare botanical garden is located in the very heart of the city at Farm Cove and was established in 1816. It is located on the eastern fringe of the Sydney CBD and begins from the Sydney Opera House, around Farm Cove, and finishes around towards Mrs Macquaries Steps.
It is perfect for elopements because it is centrally located in a beautiful location and there are a number of choices for your elopement ceremony. All depending on your taste and preference. It is also a great location for your wedding and elopement photography, as there is a huge variety of locations and backdrops.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, you can choose to have all or part of your day there. Your ceremony, wedding photos and even your reception. The gardens are owned by the NSW Government, but it is run by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain trust. Therefore you must book and get a permit for everything. This includes wedding photos. If you have your ceremony in the gardens then there is no extra charge. But if you are just wanting to have some photos taken in the Royal Botanic Gardens then you must pay a fee.
For your elopement ceremony, there are 12 garden locations available to book. If you are considering the Royal Botanic Gardens, it is worth spending a day walking around and seeing which ones appeal to you. I have photographed weddings and elopements at most of these locations and if I had to choose one, I would choose Bennelong Lawn. These are your options:
- Australian Rockery
- Eucalypt Lawn
- Fig Tree Lawn
- Flower Bed Lawn
- Herb Garde & Pavilion
- Harbour View Lawn
- Mare & Foal Lawn
- Palm House & Lawn
- Rose Garden Pavilion & Lawn
- Tarpeian Lawn
- Bennelong Lawn
- Lion Gate Lodge
They do offer you the option to have your reception dinner or lunch at the gardens as well. But you will have to organise your own caterers, furniture etc Elopement reception options at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
- Bennelong Lawn
- Lion Gate Lodge
- Palm House & Lawn
- Rose Garden & Pavillion
- Fleet Steps
Address: Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW
2. Observatory Hill
Observatory Hill is one of the best and most popular public park locations for a wedding or elopement ceremony in Sydney. The park sits on top of a hill with sweeping panoramic views of Sydney. The historic Rocks area is located below the park. And there is a tunnel near the park where you can access the entrance to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Most people use the large Rotunda located at the park to hold their wedding ceremony. But photographically speaking, I think it is much better to have the ceremony under one of the huge trees around the park which overlook the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As the handrail, the roof and the shade of the rotunda will restrict the views for photos.
You will definitely need to book the park and pay a fee, with the City of Sydney Council, to have a wedding or elopement ceremony. It is a very popular location and you can guarantee there will be a wedding ceremony there most Saturdays.
Observatory Hill is a public park and the City of Sydney allows couples to take their wedding photos without charging a fee, even if you are not having a ceremony there. They do charge a fee for other commercial photography. There is quite a good variety of looks and locations within this small park. And it is a great place for photos.
A quick word about photo etiquette. If someone had booked the area for a wedding ceremony it is very bad etiquette for another wedding couple to walk around them and take photos near them while they are having their ceremony. Take photos in other parts of the park away from their ceremony. It is common sense, but it sometimes needs to be said.
Pros of location:
- It is located in a beautiful part of Sydney with lots of local and photographic attractions within walking distance.
- Huge big trees, which are great for photos and for shade from the harsh Australian sun.
- Fantastic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Cons of location:
- It is a very popular spot for locals and tourists on weekends. You may find families with picnic blankets in some of the prime places.
- It is an extremely popular location for wedding photos, particularly on a Saturday afternoon. But also on Friday or Sunday afternoons. It is not unusual to have five or more wedding couples walking around the park getting photos.
- The Sydney Opera House can’t be seen from this park.
Address: 1001 Upper Fort St, Millers Point
3. Sydney Harbour Bridge (Bridge Climb Sydney)
Most people would get married somewhere around Sydney Harbour with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. Did you know, you can actually get married at the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The wedding ceremony takes place on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with your celebrant and you must book well in advance. Climbing the Harbour Bridge is run by a private company called Bridge Climb. You would need to go through all their safety briefings and get changed into their safety gear. Climbing the Harbour Bridge takes much longer than you think. It is about a two hour round trip.
You can bring your own wedding photographer, they will just be limited in their equipment and it will need to be safely secured to them.
There aren’t too many negative aspects of this location. The main one would be that you can’t wear a big long wedding dress. You have to wear their gorgeous grey and blue jumpsuit with safety ropes attached.
But if you are not into big long, white wedding dresses, then you will have a totally unique experience and you will have an amazing story to tell your kids.
Address: 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW
4. Hickson Road Reserve
Hickson Road Reserve is a small park on Hickson Road which has some of the most spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. It is a small park between a hotel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So on one side, you have The Bridge and behind you, over the water, you have the Sydney Opera House.
Bookings are essential through the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority for all wedding ceremonies. The ceremony is generally held on the grass with the Opera House in the background.
Hickson Rd Reserve is a very small park managed by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. And it is a prime location for beautiful photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. They allow couples to take their wedding photos at this location without charging a fee, even if you are not having a ceremony there. They do charge a fee for other commercial photography.
Because it is located in The Rocks area of Sydney, there are a lot of other photographic locations within walking distance.
Just be aware that there is no wet weather alternative or shelter at this location for your wedding ceremony. And it is a very busy location. There is a footpath, in front of the grass, along the foreshore and it is a fairly busy thoroughfare. So there may be people walking behind you as you say your wedding vows, but it not too much of an issue.
Address: Hickson Road Reserve, The Rocks NSW
5. Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, Mosman
On the north side of the Harbour Bridge in Mosman is one of the best locations for an elopement. Bradleys Head Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre itself is not the attraction, it is the old sandstone pier in front of the amphitheatre and outlook over Sydney Harbour that are the drawcards here.
Imagine saying your vows at the end of this stone pier with the city in the background. It could be an amazing elopement location!
Bradleys Head is run by the National Parks, so it is vital you make a booking to use this area. And there are a couple of things to keep in mind with this location.
Firstly, it is very popular on weekends with families and fishermen. And booking this location doesn’t give you exclusive access. It is still a National Park, so people are allowed to be in and walk around the area. So I would recommend considering using this location at off-peak times. Meaning mid-week and not during school holidays. There are a lot of good reasons to consider a mid-week elopement.
The other thing to consider is that it is not a great location in bad weather. Being on the water’s edge, it can get windy and water can spray up onto the stone pier. So it is worth having a good backup location in case of bad weather. But otherwise Bradleys Head is pretty awesome and definitely one of the best places to elope in Sydney.
Address: Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW
6. Lavender Bay
I love Lavender Bay for weddings and elopements. You get such a variety of locations, backdrops and beautiful scenery, right on Sydney Harbour. It is away from the main tourist parts of North Sydney, but is still very popular with locals. And there are a few beautiful locations for an elopement, making it one of the best places to elope in Sydney. All these parks except for Wendy Whiteleys Secret Garden can be used for free as well!! Although free, bookings must be places and done through North Sydney Council.
Watt Park – This is an ideal location for an intimate elopement. It is a much quieter area of Lavender Bay because it is not right on the foreshore, but still very close. The Park has some significant and some rare trees which look beautiful in photos. Some huge fig trees and some rare pine trees. The wonderful thing also with this park is that you can have a quiet and special ceremony there without any crowds and then walk around the rest of lavender Bay and the foreshore for photos afterwards.
Quibaree Park – This park is located right on the water’s edge and is in a prime location. It is a busy, popular location and there is zero shade. On weekends the foreshore is totally packed so I would only consider an elopement here if you choose an off-peak time.
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden – This garden area is the only park that doesn’t allow free elopements. It’s a tricky location to find as it is tucked away in a secluded spot. Located between Clarke Park and Quibaree Park and it is a gorgeous little park with lush gardens. It can get busy with families and couples picnicking as all the locals know about it. Off-peak times would be best for any elopements here.
Clarke Park – Clark Park is part of a few adjoining parks located around Lavender Bay. It is the highest park in the area featuring some stunning views over Sydney Harbour with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city. Very popular wedding & elopement location. Just something to think about…. the local apartments surrounding the park get very angry if microphones and music are loudly played. And have been known to come down to weddings and complain. Yes, I have seen it happen.
Address: Railway Ave, Lavender Bay NSW
7 – Kirribilli Foreshore
This whole Kirribilli foreshore area is an ideal location for a beautiful elopement. Every single part of it has scenic views over Sydney Harbour and the cityscape. It is a really popular location for small weddings And it is not unusual to see a couple of small weddings happening here. This area provides a lovely choice for boat or water taxi arrivals and departures and pretty much every part of this foreshore it is possible to have a small wedding. They are broken up into parks and reserves and bookings should be made through North Sydney council. Within this area there are:
- Captain Henry Waterhouse Reserve
- Copes Lookout (Also known by some as Jeffrey Street Wharf)
- Terraced Lawns
- Bradfield Park
- Mary Booth Lookout Reserve
8. Macquarie Lightstation
Macquarie Lightstation is located in Vaucluse and is a beautiful location for an elopement. The lighthouse is a dramatic backdrop for an elopement or small wedding ceremony.
Macquarie Lightstation, perched on the Vaucluse clifftop, is the base of Australia’s original lighthouse. This amazing lighthouse, completed in 1818 and was designed by a convict architect. Governor Lachlan Macquarie commissioned the lighthouse, so it was named after him.
It is run by the Harbour Trust and can be booked through them. As with all government departments, there are lots of forms and fees involved. At the time of writing, it cost $800 for a 2-hour block for a ceremony. Macquarie Lightstation can also just be booked for wedding and elopement photography at a cost of $275. All your elopement suppliers will also need Public Liability insurance of at least $10 million.
Address: Old South Head Rd, Vaucluse NSW
9. Cremorne Reserve, Cremorne Point
Known only to locals in the area, Cremorne Reserve is a beautiful park on the northern side of Sydney Harbour with beautiful views over the harbour and city. And is one of best places to elope in Sydney.
This a 100 foot reserve that continues 3 kilometres around the Cremorne Point Peninsular. I would recommend that you go explore the area on foot first to pick your ideal location. There is a small lighthouse located at Robertsons Point and there are public toilets available. If you are interested in this location, get in contact with North Sydney council to book it in.
Address: Milson Rd, Cremorne Point NSW
10. Blackburn Gardens, Double Bay
Located in the beautiful suburb of Double Bay is the beautifully restored heritage gardens called Blackburn Gardens. These gardens are wonderfully maintained and provide lovely views out over Sydney Harbour.
Ample street parking is available as well as a council car park. And there are toilet facilities. The gardens connect to St Brigids building, the Murray Rose Pool and Seven Shillings Beach, which are all wonderful locations for your elopement photos. The whole area is very busy on weekends, especially during the warmer months. But your garden ceremony location will be reserved for you. So you can still have a relatively private ceremony even on busy days.
You can contact Woollahra Council to book this location.
Address: 548 New South Head Road, Double Bay NSW
There you have it. Ten of the best places to elope in Sydney. And they are awesome locations. However, if these locations didn’t quite work for you, here is a list of some other locations that might also be lovely for your small wedding or elopement.
Clarkes Point Reserve, Woolwich
Cabarita Park, Cabarita
Riverglade Reserve, Huntleys Cove
Darling Point Reserve, Darling Point
Q Station, North Head
Diamond Bay Reserve, Vaucluse
Clarke Reserve, Vaucluse
West Head Lookout, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Centennial Parklands, Queens Park
Hyde Park, Sydney CBD