There are always plenty of things to do in Sydney, but sometimes as locals, we forget about some of the tourist attractions that make this city so unique. So today, when I woke up to another stunning Sydney winter's day, I thought I'd take myself down to Darling Harbour and visit the Sydney Chinese Garden of Friendship. I'm a huge admirer of gardens and nature, and knowing that there is this beautiful Oasis in the city is a good place to go when I need to escape my inner city living.
But first things first, I wanted a cup of tea and something to eat so I headed straight to the Chinese Tea Rooms and ordered Pork Buns $5.50 and a pot of Pai Mu Tan Tea $4.00. In fact I loved this tea so much I asked the waitress where did they get it from; it turns out from the The Tea Centre in Pitt Street, so after my tour I walked up there and bought a bag for home.
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As I sat in the sun, sipping my tea and eating my pork buns I soaked up the atmosphere and loved the peace and charm of this place, and I was very much looking forward to exploring what the gardens had to offer. Please note there are a lot of steps in the Garden so could be a little difficult for those with a disability, however there is much to see on the flat areas.
The gardens have lots of places to explore, with beautiful ponds full of fish, willow trees and plenty of places to sit and contemplate the beauty. In the background you can see the tall city buildings, and strangely enough, they don't look out of place.
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The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built as a beautiful symbol of friendship between Sydney in the State of New South Wales and Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, China (sister cities of sister states), to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988. It was built by following the Taoist principles of "Yin_Yang" and the five elements; earth, fire, water, metal and wood by Chinese landscape architects.
These principles also stress the importance of Qi, the central force of life and energy. Every item has been handpicked and placed precisely to capture the Qi energy and five elements. You won't find manicured gardens here but you will discover an abundance of water, waterfalls, rocks and cascading trees.
I noticed some people dressed in beautiful Chinese garments and soon discovered a little store where you can hire costumes for photos.
I also discovered a family of ducks! I had already spotted one lonely duck earlier in my walk (see below) but as it turned out there was actually more than one duck! These little ducklings are actually right on the edge of a waterfall and how they didn't slip down the fast cascading water I'll never know!
And if you look closely at another angle I took, where I captured the cascading water further down the track I also captured the same sleeping duck - look closely up the top of the photo.
There is something about sitting still and listening to running water in a beautiful garden and to have such a delightful area so close to the CBD really is special.
As you would expect in a Chinese garden, there are beautiful Magnolia trees and Camellias. My visit at the end of July, on a very unseasonal and warm winter, meant the flowers on the trees were just budding and about to boost into bloom.
Speaking of plants, of course there is a bamboo garden.
You can spend as much time as you like wandering around the Sydney Chinese Garden of Friendship and I certainly took my time, sitting down to soak up the tranquility and beauty.
On my way out I admired the beautiful Bonsai. I'm looking forward to coming back to the Sydney Chinese Garden of Friendship in Spring.
Adult: $6 Child: $3 (under 12 years) Family: $15 (two adults and two children) Concession: $3(Australian pensioners and students only) Senior: $4.50 (Australian seniors only)
Annual pass (available at the Chinese Garden ticket office, conditions apply) Adult: $50 Family: $125 (two adults and two children)