The Chinese Garden of Friendship, located at the south end of Darling Harbour, is a symbol of friendship between Sydney and Guangzhou in China.

A walk in the garden is akin to stepping back in time.

Admire the Chinese architecture and balance of natural elements.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship features no lawns or planted flowerbeds, but rather a recreation of wild landscapes like mountains, waterfalls and forests in a controlled space.

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Things to see and do at Chinese Garden of Friendship

Garden Tour 

Tours through the Chinese Garden of Friendship run on a schedule throughout the day.

This is included with your ticket cost.

They tour runs for 35 minutes and is a great way to learn about the history, landscape and cultural heritage of the garden space.

The Emperor’s Quest 

This is a free activity to keep the kids occupied, although adults can tag along too.

Stroll through the garden and see if you can find sculptures depicting the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Afterwards, kids can enjoy a visit to the Teahouse for The Emperor’s Feast for a selection of food and drinks.

Fish Feeding 

At 11:30am every day visitors can join the horticulture team at the Lenient Jade Pavilion to feed the koi fish.

The koi will respond to clapping your hands, and thanks to the special care they receive, can live up to 35 years.

Photography Centre

There is a photography centre on site where visitors can dress up in Imperial Chinese costumes.

Take part in a photography session and pretend to be an Emperor or Empress.

Audio Tour 

There is an audio tour available at the front desk (in both English and Mandarin) for additional charge.

Garden Information 

There is a lot of information around the garden making obvious to visitors the small details of the site, but brochures and a map with more details are also available from the ticket office.

Traditional Teahouse 

The Chinese Garden of Friendship has a teahouse perfect for a relaxing cup of traditional tea

Grab a light snack or meal, while looking out at the beautiful gardens.

How to get to Chinese Garden of Friendship

  • Walk – A short walk from the main Darling Harbour area, which in turn is accessible from most places in the city with a walk of no more than 20-30 minutes.
  • Train – Get off at either Town Hall or Central Stations for a short walk to the garden.
  • Light Rail – Get off at Haymarket Station.
  • Bus – The 443 Bus runs from Circular Quay to the Darling Harbour area.

History

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was designed by Sydney’s Chinese sister city, Guangzhou in China.

It was developed to complement the rich Chinatown area of Sydney.

They were opened as a gift to celebrate Sydney’s bicentennial in 1988.

It was named the Garden of Friendship to symbolise the standing bond between the two countries.

Interesting Facts

  • The Chinese garden is modelled on typical private gardens of the Ming Dynasty.
  • It was designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners. The garden followed the Taoist philosophy of Yin-Yang and the five opposite elements: earth, fire, water, metal, wood.
  • Part of the Chinese Garden of Friendship was used in the 1995 Power Rangers film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.

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For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!