Freelance writer and copywriter living in Sydney.
Visit Duffys blog at www.duffythewriter.wordpress.com
Published January 27th 2012
January is nearly over and most of us are well and truly caught back up in the rat race. Working late, catching up on projects and paying those last Christmas bills. New Year's resolutions are long forgotten. It's time to stop for a moment, be calm and relax at the Nan Tien Temple and gardens.
Take the pleasant hour and a half drive from the city and head out towards Wollongong. It's a great drive with plenty of cafes and vantage points to stop along the way. In no time the grey tarmac and built up towns turn to dark green forests. As you take the turn off for the temple, you are taken through an industrial park, you may wonder what you were thinking until you see the beautiful Pagoda jutting out of the hills in the distance. Serenity is a little nearer.
There's plenty of parking and entrance to the temple grounds is free. You can stretch your legs after the drive around the perfectly manicured gardens which are home to many cheeky little Buddha statues all in different poses. Take refreshment at the teahouse where there's a great reasonably priced menu of dumplings, curry puffs and noodle dishes. The tea is divine and I would definitely recommend the kumquat tea - its citrus hit is really refreshing after the drive. Sip away whilst watching the lizards hop in and out of the bamboo reeds, while the tourists stroll in and pose with the Buddha statues.
Once you're refreshed you can head up to the temples, amazing Buddha statues and thousands of gold plates line the walls. Whether you're Buddhist or not it's well worth a peek inside to enjoy a moment or two of quiet reflection and meditation. There is also a large, quite stunning lily pad covered lake which is home to happy and fat koi fish in gold, white and yellow tones. These guys aren't shy and if they think they are getting a feed they will pop right out of the water.
If it's hot or raining you can seek shade in the little museum and gift shop which sells beads, books cds and other Buddha trinkets If you find yourself intrigued by the temple or Buddhism you can even book in and stay at the lodge. To find out more visit www.nantien.org.au/