Chinese Garden of Friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is nestled at the south end of Darling Harbour and a short walk from Chinatown. From Rydges Sydney Central just head past Central Railway and cross George Street at the Haymarket End.
Entering the garden is like walking backwards in time into the quiet solitude of ancient Chinese architecture and its relationship with nature. The garden combines plants with stone and architecture. Guarding the entrance to the garden are two Foo-dogs (Chinese lions), which have been carved from rare Chinese granite. A hybrid of dog, lion and dragon they represent loyalty, strength and prosperity.
Running water, towering trees, cool lagoons with lotus plants and large colourful fish all make this an idyllic spot to read a book or just relax, reflect and recharge your batteries. Escape the city bustle, breathe deeply and feel the sun on your face. It really is a special place. The garden features waterfalls, lakes, pavilions, sculptures, hidden pathways, exotic plants and local wildlife such as the water dragon, koi carp and several species of birds. Willows weep in the breeze and there’s a Teahouse that serves Chinese Tea and dim sum. Highlights include the Dragon Wall, Twin Pavilion, Dragon Rock and the Penjing Courtyard. Don’t forget to grab your self-guided map from the Garden’s front desk for info on the Garden Highlights.
This walled garden of solace respectfully recreates the philosophy and harmony of a traditional Chinese garden. The garden is open every day apart from Good Friday and Christmas Day from 9:30am to 5:00pm (5:30pm during Daylight Saving). Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12 years – it is $15 for two adults and two children, $3 for concession and $4.50 for seniors. An annual pass for adults is $50, which is great value if you can visit regularly for some stress-free R&R.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built as a symbol of friendship between Sydney and Guangzhuo in China to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988. It was designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners following the Taoist principles of ‘Tin-Yang’ and the five opposite elements – earth fire, water, metal and wood. Yin-Yang plays such a vital role that just one missing element would disrupt the garden’s harmony and balance. Unlike western-style gardens there are no planted flowerbeds or manicured lawns. Instead, wild aspects of nature are recreated in landscapes that feature waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests. The art of Chinese Garden design began in imperial parks 3,000 years ago and later flourished in private gardens of the rich and powerful. This garden is a small-scale version of a typical garden from this time.
The pathways in the lower garden are accessible for wheelchairs and prams but the upper part of the garden has steps and rocky pathways. There is a fully upgraded accessible toilet and baby change facilities. Free public programs and other events, including school holiday programs, are offered throughout the year. Check the Chinese Garden of Friendship website to find out what’s on.