The Avoca Chinese Garden is located on the floodplain of the banks of the Avoca River, in the central Victorian town of the same name, Avoca. There is walking access from the Main Street of Avoca through Cambridge street or you can park the car at the Dundas Street entrance.
Named the Garden of Fire and Water, it not only represents the contribution of Chinese migrants during the gold rush days of the 1850's but also symbolises two integral parts of the Australian bush landscape – bushfire and flood. It officially opened in October 2014, after much hard work and dedication of many of the members of the local community.
At the top of the gentle incline sits the Chinese pavilion representing the 'fire' element of the Garden with a crest of flames decorating the roof line and its charred looking timber uprights frame the 'water' element, which is a pond situated at the bottom of the garden as you look towards Dundas Street.
Environmentally conscious, the garden has been designed so that any water collected on the roof of the pavilion flows down into the pond, where it is filtered by the reeds and if the pond is at capacity, the excess water flows into the Avoca River.
Surrounded by reeds, the resident frogs serenade visitors and if you look carefully, you will see tiny minnows zipping through the pond's waters. Even though the pond is not overly deep, parents with small children will have to supervise them around the water as there is nothing to stop them from wandering straight in. Also, be on the lookout for the presence of snakes which may frequent the reeds around the pond for their food and water.
The Garden offers a tranquil space to sit and relax, with large rocks placed around the garden to offer a variety of seating positions to view the space from different perspectives. And if the urge grabs you or your children, the rocks are able to be climbed upon - just be aware that if they are wet they will be slippery.
There is an information board on Cambridge Street that details the history of Chinese migrants, recognising the individuals involved in the garden creation and lists the name and location of the plants which are a mix of Chinese and Australian species.
For those who are limited with their mobility, using either a wheelchair, mobility scooter or walking frame, the gravel paths are wide enough to get around the whole garden reasonably easily. Although in some areas the path consists of stepping stones placed in the spongey green grass which may pose a challenge for wheelchair users if the ground is wet. The Garden does have a gentle incline to it and some manual wheelchair users may find they need a little boost to get up to the Chinese Pavilion.
Yummo, fresh jam donut from Shear Delight on Main St.