You can read hundreds of Sydney City guides and not many will talk about the Chinese Garden of Friendship. I wrote one of those city guides myself, shame on me!
I have been living in Sydney for 7 years now, and I had never been to these gardens. And boy do I regret it. These gardens are absolutely stunning, tranquil and are cheap to enter.
In this post, I will show you what you can expect when going to these gardens, which I suggest you do when you are in Sydney, cause they are pretty amazing!
TRADITIONAL MEETS HIGH RISERS
When you enter the garden you can see the mixture of the old and new. A stunning traditional Water Pavilion with Sydney modern highrises in its background is a pretty cool site to walk into. You will immediately feel a sense of calm coming over you. You feel like you are in a little green sanctuary, slap bang middle of Sydney.
My favorite building in the garden is The Gurr (Clear View Pavilion) at the top of the garden, which is a hexagonal pagoda. It offers wonderful views in all directions and features golden roof tiles and detailed wood carving inside that was gifted from the province of Guangdong in China.
There are many other special structures in the garden. From covered walkways which will guide you from the entrance to several garden rooms, including the Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance with its panoramic view across the lake and garden.
The most striking aspect of these gardens are the ponds and I’d estimate that at least 50% of the space is taken with water features including ponds, rivers, cascades, and pretty neat waterfalls.
The largest is the ‘Lake of Brightness’ and the lotus pond outside the tea pavilion. Both are filled with massive koi carpers. They are very impressive and stunning fish!
WHEN TO GO
The best time to go is probably during summer. This is when the sacred lotus flowers are in bloom. The sweet heady fragrance of the frangipani and gardenia surrounds you (imagine the smells) and the dramatic weeping willows put on a beautiful showing around the edges of the many ponds. The garden then is absolutely stunning and will offer you some shade on a hot day.
The garden is however designed for year-round appeal.
In springtime, you’ll see the azaleas, peony, and magnolia in bloom. During autumn the prince of orange lends it’s autumnal colors to the grounds along with the camellias. And even in winter, the garden will have something to show you, the waratah and early flowering plum and cherry blossom brighten things up.
The garden contains several areas to sit and rest along the way. There are clean toilets and accessible friendly restroom facilities available, although the gardens are not well suited to wheelchairs due to the steep site and uneven ground.
Overlooking the ponds there’s an attractive traditional tea pavilion. A great selection of Chinese teas is available along with western refreshment options. You can also enjoy dumplings, pastries and other treats from the cafe menu overlooking the gardens for a perfect vantage point.
The garden is located in Darling Harbor, Sydney.
Getting to, from and around Darling Harbour is a breeze. You can travel by train, bus or stroll from Sydney’s CBD.
There are also several secure car parks in and around Darling Harbour.
HOURS OF OPERATION
9.30am – 5pm (Apr–Sep)
9.30am – 5.30pm (Oct–Mar)
Last entry to the Garden 15 minutes prior to closing.
The Garden is closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
|Child* (Under 12 years)||$ 3|
|Family ( two adults and 2 childeren)||$ 15|
|Annual Adult Pass||$ 50|
|Annual Family Pass||$ 125|
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