The Chinese Garden of Friendship was a gift to Sydney from its sister city, Guangzhou, in southern China. It was designed and built in the 1980s in recognition of the large Chinese community living in Australia and also as a celebration of Australia's bicentenary. It is a glorious oasis of peace, calm and beauty.
|The dragon wall depicts Guangdong, the brown dragon and New South Wales, the blue dragon|
They are playing with the pearl of friendship.
Covering one hectare the garden has been laid out using the Taoist principles of Yin and Yang and the five elements of earth, fire, water, wood and metal. The idea behind these principles is to emphasise Qi, that is the force of life and energy. Everything in the garden has been chosen to reflect the five elements and the life force which, when combined together, create harmony .
Surrounding a large central lake, fed by a gushing waterfall, the garden provides everything from a tranquil black bamboo grove, a bonsai corner, carefully placed rocks and sculptures, to several pavilions for viewing the lake, the koi carp and the lotus blossoms. At the highest point of the garden is The Gurr, or Pavilion of Clear View which provides a panoramic view of the garden and is embellished with intricate wood carvings, a golden roof and an ornate lantern, a symbol of prosperity.
I love this garden. It is a perfectly formed, serene, corner in a big and bustling city. At $6 admission, little more than the cost of a coffee, you can spend a quiet hour soaking up the beauty of nature and enjoying refreshments (for an extra charge) in the large traditional tea pavilion on the edge of the lake. It is the perfect place to just pause a while. The afternoon I was there I saw only a few other people, apart from a Chinese wedding party having photos taken against a background which, no doubt, made them feel at home. I have visited these gardens twice and intend to make them an essential part of any trip I make to Sydney.