Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a beautiful and intricately designed garden in Darling Harbour.
I had seen all the signs pointing to the Chinese Friendship Gardens and had read up a little bit on it. It took overseas visitors wanting to see it for me to actually go and I am so glad I did. The Chinese Friendship Garden will now be on my list of places to take tourists when visiting Sydney, its a beautiful oasis within Sydney that you would never expect.
Where is the Chinese Garden of Friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is in the Darling Harbour precint. It’s on the opposite end to the water on the corner of Day and Pier.
The official address is Pier Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney, 2000.
What is the Chinese Garden of Friendship
In 1988 Sydney opened the Chinese Garden of Friendship as part of its bicentennial celebrations. The Gardens were designed by the city of Guangzhou, Sydney’s sister City in China.
The garden was built using materials from the Guangdong, Shanghai and regional New South Wales.
Chinese Garden of Friendship Features
Make sure to collect a map from the front desk so you know what you are looking at and how to get to where you want to go.
There are plenty of meandering pathways that wind through the garden. If you’d prefer to stay and relax for a while take a book and sit at Reading Brook Pavilion.
A large lake, the Lake of Brightness, is spread out throughout the garden. It is the enter of the gardens and there are various vantage points throughout. The lake is populated with some really big koi carp.
On your walk through the garden you will see:
- Waterfalls flowing into a big lake which is called the Lake of Brightness.
- Exotic plants, big beautiful weeping willows and a Bamboo Forest.
- Moorgate through which you can view the Twin Pavilion and the Gurr Pavilion.
- Elaborate sculptures and chinese art.
- The Dragon Tower
- The Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance which is the first experience of the water as you walk through the garden.
- A commemorative pavilion which hosts an engraved green grant tablet commemorating the creation of the garden.
- Twin Pavillion.
Make sure you head up to Clear View Pavillion which is the focus of the Chinese Garden of Friendship and an all round viewing platform.
There are sign posts throughout the garden which explain what you’re looking at, in case you’re not sure, and the reason for the particular design.
Do you know that the whole garden can not be seen from any single vantage point.
The Emperor’s Quest – A Chinese Zodiac Adventure
Hidden around the garden are the 12 animals of the Chinese Lunar calendar. You can grab a map or download the Emperors Quest App and look for the animals.
The Highlights Tour
There are three highlights tours starting from the Entrance. These are run at 10:30am, 11:45am and 2:30pm. The highlights tour talks to the history, design principles of the garden as well as the architectural and natural features of the garden.
We are yet to do this so I’m not sure it’s really child friendly as the children may lose interest.
Imperial Costume Hire
You can dress up in Imperial Costumes for an additional fee of $10 for adults an $5 for children.
I love that there is a Children’s Comment Book at the entrance that asks children to write down or draw their favourite part of the garden.
Chinese Garden of Friendship Facilities
The entire garden is walled.
There is a Tea House in the gardens which serves Chinese tea and dim sum. You can visit the Tea House for Teatime or Lunch, the former includes a pot of tea and dim sums or scones. If you’d like to stay in the tranquility a bit longer lunch includes tea or coffee, a gourmet baguette or savoury tart and a cupcake or chinese pastry.
The website says that the lower half of the Garden is wheelchair friendly and I tend to agree however there is not that much to look at on this level. The really great vantage points are up higher. We left our pram at the entrance and it was perfectly fine.
The Chinese Garden has an accessible toilet and baby change facilities on site
Admission and Ticketing Information
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is open every day of the year except Good Friday and Christmas Day.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship opens every day at 09:30am.
Closing hours vary from the Summer to Winter months.
- In April to September the garden closes at 5pm.
- In October to March the garden closes at 5:30pm
You can buy tickets at the entrance and children under the age of 5 are free.
As at March 2017 tickets cost the following:
- Children under 12 – $3
- Adult – $6
- Family (2 adults and 2 children) – $15
- Concession: (Australian pensioners and students only) – $3
- Senior (Australian seniors only) – $4.50
You can buy an annual pass if you intend visiting a few times.