Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
To celebrate Chinese New Year last weekend, I headed to the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour. It’s nestled in the heart of bustling Sydney, almost hidden from view. I’ve walked past it numerous times, never imagining that behind its walls lie a beautiful, tranquil oasis.
Unlike a Western garden, where nature is corralled within boxy flowerbeds with carefully manicured borders, entering the Chinese Garden was like stepping into a typical Chinese landscape. There were mountains and lakes, forest land and streams, and even a waterfall in this delightfully surprising garden.
I spent an hour wandering around the garden, discovering its little treasures. I loved how the garden was artfully designed to include little windows and moon doors to frame the beautiful view.
There were plenty of places to sit and enjoy the gardens, including The Gurr or Clear View Pavillion on top of the little mountain, where you could sit with the entire garden at your feet.
Standing at the top of the mountain, I couldn’t help but notice the multiple cranes that sprouted out of the treetops like gangly giraffes. It made me appreciate the Sydney government’s foresight in planning such a peaceful spot in the middle of the city.
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, people were writing down their wishes for the new year and hanging it in the Hall of Longevity in the hopes that their dreams would come true.
Children will enjoy the garden too. The twelve animals of the zodiac are hidden throughout the garden. Make it a game and see how many you can find!
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is located at the South End of Darling Harbour, near to Chinatown and opposite the Entertainment Centre. If you’re taking the train, Town Hall would be the best stop, and if you’re travelling by light rail, stop at Haymarket.
The garden opens daily from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and to 5.30 p.m. during daylight saving months from October to April).
Adults have to pay an admission fee of $6, while children enter for half price. Families (2 adults and 2 kids) enjoy a special rate of $15.
For more information, find their website here.
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