There were many famous sights of Sydney that I was hoping and expecting to see on my recent trip – the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, etc – but these did not include the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour, of which I knew very little before my trip. The gardens were designed to look like a traditional Ming Dynasty Garden, and were opened in 1988 as part of the bicentennial celebrations. The name symbolises the relationship between China and Australia, and between the twinned cities of Sydney and Guangzhuo.
The gardens are rather pleasant, and we spent an afternoon walking through them. They were quiet and peaceful, with various water features and the sound of running water through much of the garden, and where koi carp are swimming. There is even a tea shop, where visitors can stop and have some Chinese tea , dim sum, and other refreshments as part of their time in the garden.
I am told that the garden was designed to followed the Taoist principles of Yin Yang, reflecting earth, fire, water, metal and wood, and highlight the importance of the central force of life and energy, qi.
It was an unexpected but welcome opportunity to spend some time in a rather tranquil setting in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a large city. Definitely recommended if you find yourself in Darling Harbour.