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Explore the Chinese Garden of Friendship

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Published November 13th 2015
Secret garden of peace and relaxation
Hidden from view behind solid concrete walls you will find this exotic oasis trapped in the middle of the city. Enclosed by the city buildings this stunning garden has thrived in this location for 27 years. If you've never visited before it is definitely one to add to your To Do list.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour
Discover an oasis in the middle of the city


Stepping in to the Chinese Garden of Friendship is like entering another world. It is a garden of stunning design based on the principles of Yin- Yang and the elements of earth, fire, water, metal and wood.

From the views across the Lake of Brightness, to the waterfalls amongst the lush gardens, to the sculptures and pavilions that inhabit the grounds, there is so much to admire in this garden.

Trees such as the Weeping Willow and the Chinese Elm feature as well as bamboo forests and flowers such as the Sacred Lotus and Orange Blossom. The plants in the garden have been chosen to reflect the seasons due to when they flower.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour
There are so many features to admire in the Chinese Garden of Friendship


As you explore all the stone pathways, corridors and alcoves you can really feel yourself relax in the tranquil surroundings. Perhaps it is the effect of all the greenery, being the colour of growth green is thought to renew and restore energy and promote a sense of well being. I could certainly feel the stresses of modern life floating away as I explored the gardens.

In the ponds you can see and feed the colourful Koi carp, considered almost sacred in China as they represent wealth and prosperity. You may also find some lizards in the gardens and there are plenty of water birds too.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour
Feeding the Koi and spotting some lizards


For children there is a free adventure hunt called The Emperor's Quest, where they can search for the animals of the Chinese zodiac hidden amongst the gardens. There is a brochure available with instructions on entry. I would also recommend picking up the self-guided tour brochure which provides information about the garden and its features.

For a more interactive experience it is possible to dress up and explore the gardens as an emperor, princess or warrior. For a nominal fee at the Costume Hire Shop (only $5 for children and $10 for adults) you can put on a traditional ornate silk gown based on designs from the Ming and Ching dynasties. There are costumes to fit both adults and children. While my children and I did not take up this option we did see a lot of children dressed up and they looked amazing.

The Teahouse is an ideal place for peaceful contemplation and to sample some authentic Chinese tea , dumplings or steamed buns.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour
Refresh the body & mind in The Teahouse


The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built for Sydney's Bicentenary and is the result of co-operation between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, China. The bond between the two cities is symbolised in the Dragon Wall, which was given to the garden as a gift from Guangdong. The blue dragon represents NSW while the gold/brown dragon represents Guangdong. Between the dragons is the Pearl of Prosperity representing the bond between the two states.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour
The Dragon Wall


The Chinese Garden of Friendship is open from 9.30am - 5.30pm daily, except for Christmas Day and Good Friday. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children (under 12). A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children is $15 and there are discounts for concessions and seniors.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is the perfect place for some quiet contemplation, colour therapy or relaxation and to escape the stresses of city living and everyday life.
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Why? Relax & explore a hidden garden
When: Every day, except Good Friday and Christmas Day
Phone: 02 9240 8888
Where: Pier St Darling Harbour
Cost: Cheap as chips
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