The Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong is the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. Spread across 55 sprawling acres of land the temple is popular among Buddhists and attracts a few hundred thousand tourists and visitors each year. The temple is situated in Berkeley, a suburb in Woollongong around 85 kms from Sydney city.
The temple has a number of attractions including innumerous Buddha statues, rose gardens, 2 shrines and a lotus pond. It has evolved into a major tourist attraction and it plays an important role of propagating the Buddha Dharma.
The temple premises starts with a front shrine that houses the statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, known as Kuan Yin in Chinese. The statue stands tall in the front shrine with its 1000 hands and 1000 eyes. The front shrine leads to the main temple courtyard. Apart from the main shrine the courtyard provides access to the meditation rooms, auditorium, dining hall, museum and reception room. The main shrine consists of 5 huge statues of Buddhas and 10,000 smaller statues embedded into the walls all around.
The museum near the main shrine has some unique Buddha statues and a gift shop that sells some of them. The dining halls sells delicious vegetarian food and there are many other smaller vendors selling different varieties.
To one side of the temple premises in the beautiful lotus pond with the statue of Sankyamuni Buddha placed in the middle and
many smaller statues all around the pond. The temple also houses a 7 level pagoda that stands tall near the huge temple bell.
There are guided tours arranged for visitors who want to know more about the temple's significance and architecture. The temple is one of Wollongong's major tourist attractions, and conducts regular weekend retreats for visitors interested in Buddhism in general, and Chinese culture in particular. Retreats can involve classes in tai chi, calligraphy and meditation.
To reach the temple by public transport visitors can take a train to Woollongong station and catch bus 34 that will drop you at the back entrance of the temple. The other ways of reaching the temple are listed here.