A Complete Guide to the Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney

By thetravelvine | Mar 25, 2021
Oceania > Australia > New South Wales > Sydney

The Pavilion

The Pavilion

This is, by far, is my most favourite attraction in Sydney. For a brief moment, you could almost be convinced you are in the middle of the Chinese countryside, that is, until you look up and see the high-rise buildings in the background.

Inside the beautiful gardens

Inside the beautiful gardens

To seek out this little gem, head to the south end of Darling Harbour. Surrounded by high walls, you can walk amongst nature, hear the flowing water from the lakes and appreciate the pavilions and statues. The gardens were designed by Chinese gardeners and architects using the Feng Shui philosophy. While walking around, I promise you will feel a lovely sense of calm.

Myself in the gardens

Myself in the gardens

Framed by tall wooden doors, you enter through the Hall of Clear Shade and into the Courtyard of Welcoming Fragrance, where they have a display of bonsai trees. Surrounding the carp-filled lakes are beautiful lotus flowers, weeping willow trees and exquisite statues and pavilions for you to enjoy or escape the sun on a hot day.

The Dragon Wall

The Dragon Wall

The gardens opened in 1988 and represented Sydney's friendship with its sister city Guangzhou in China. Through the magnificent Dragon Wall, you can see a gift from the region, depicting a blue dragon representing New South Wales and a brown dragon for Guangdong. The two dragons are playing with a pearl said to represent the pearl of friendship. In Chinese culture, flying dragons symbolise majesty and perfection.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinese Garden of Friendship

If you follow the Zig-Zag Bridge over to Tortoise Rock and around the beautiful paths to the top of the hill, you will reach The Gurr (Clear View Pavilion), giving you one of the best vantage points in the gardens to take in the magnificent views. Be sure also to check out The Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance for incredible views.

The Clear View Pavilion

The Clear View Pavilion

If you are looking for a more authentic experience, consider renting some traditional Chinese outfits, as I did myself when I first visited here. They were so beautiful that I didn't want to take mine off! You can float through the gardens in your costume and get some cracking photos.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship

The Chinese Garden of Friendship

If you are in need of refreshments, be sure to visit the Pavilion Tea Gardens, a traditional tea house where you can absorb your surroundings. It really is not a bad spot to sit and chill.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship

The Chinese Garden of Friendship

Oh, and make sure you keep a lookout for the large lizards that live in the gardens. Don't nearly stand on one of them, like I almost did, which would be a shame as they are too cute!

Lizards in the Gardens

Lizards in the Gardens

New South Wales Australia Gardens Sydney Oceania

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Written by thetravelvine
Hi, I'm Lindsay, a UK ex-pat currently living on the beautiful south coast of Australia! I am addicted to travel and exploring new places. I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list. My travel bug has now started to rub off on my little girl, who loves having adventures with Mummy, and she really wants to go on a camping adventure, watch this space!

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