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The Chinese Garden of Friendship: An Oasis of tranquillity in Darling Harbour

Step inside a traditional Cantonese style garden and allow yourself to be transported back to ancient China. Built according to the Taoist principles of yin-yang & steeped in natural beauty, The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a must visit on any Sydney itinerary.

In the heart of Darling Harbour lies a hidden garden sanctuary known as the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Built in 1988 to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary by architects from Sydney’s sister city, Guangzhou. The garden was developed cooperatively between Sydney’s Chinese community and public authorities in both Guangdong and New South Wales. 

Credit: Chinese Garden of Friendship

The gardens are located a few minutes away from Sydney’s lively China town area and a short walk from the Darling Harbour waterfront precinct. This is an ideal spot as you are able to combine a visit to the gardens with exploring the surrounding areas. This means that if the hustle and bustle of city life gets too much you can easily slip away into a peaceful garden paradise. It is also a perfect option for families staying in the nearby precincts to reconnect in a nature setting whilst still being able to have an urban style holiday. 

Unique Elements of the Garden 

The Chinese garden of friendship recreates the harmony of a traditional Chinese garden setting. Modelled on the private garden estates of households during the time of the Ming Dynasty, it features the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Walking through the gates into the walled garden you will find waterfalls, exotic plants, pavilions, lakes and hidden pathways. The gardens are shaded by willow trees and a beautiful focal point is the lake filled with Koi fish. 

Credit: Chinese Garden of Friendship

The Gardens by Lotus 

Housed in a heritage-listed teahouse you can indulge in a yum-cha style menu with a large selection of Chinese tea at The Gardens by Lotus. The menu focuses on providing traditional Sichuan delicacies in a modern Australian style restaurant. Throughout the year various events are also scheduled such as “Make your own dumpling classes” and a separate room is available for functions, events and special occasions. The restaurant sources all of it’s food items from local suppliers and vegetarians and vegan options are available. 

Credit: Chinese Garden of Friendship

Importance of green space 

Whilst Sydney is world renowned for its iconic buildings such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, it is also a city that understands the importance of green space. In-fact the City of Sydney has introduced a Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy which commits to green living practices and also the physical greening of the urban environment. The project was implemented to filter and improve air quality, reduce urban run off and storm water pollution, improve the liveability of the city and to provide a connection to nature whilst in the city. This understanding of the importance of green space in an urban environment makes Sydney an ideal city to visit for visitors. 

Credit: Chinese Garden of Friendship

So if you are holidaying in Sydney or perhaps playing tourist in your own city don’t forget to put the Chinese Garden of Friendship on your must visit list. Once inside you will be swept away in the garden’s natural beauty and already be making plans to return!

Where?

Address: Pier Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW 

When?

Monday – Sunday | 10am – 4pm

Covid-19

For the health and safety of guests, signs have been installed, floor markings are in place and sanitisation stations can be found in the gardens. Additional cleaning of hard surfaces and the toilets has also been implemented. 

Prior to Covid-19 the Garden also offered tours and fish feeding demonstrations however these have been stopped for the time being to limit the amount of people gathering. 

Angelica-Hazel Toutounji
Angelica-Hazel is a nutritionist & freelance writer that loves eating her way around the globe, one healthy cafe at a time. When she is not planning her next sustainable getaway you can find her either in the kitchen creating wholesome meals for her family or going on nature walks.