Escape from the hustle and bustle to a serene, secluded garden—Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Have you ever imagined your own secret garden? A place to escape, to breathe deeply and feel the sun on your face? The Chinese Garden of Friendship is that place.
Much more than just a city garden, the walled Chinese Garden respectfully recreates the philosophy and harmony of a traditional Chinese garden in its waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants, pavilions and hidden pathways. With koi carp swimming in the lakes, willows weeping in the breeze and a teahouse serving Chinese tea and dim sum, take care… once you’ve discovered Darling Harbour’s secret garden, you’ll never want to leave!
The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built to symbolise the friendship between Sydney, New South Wales and the city of Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, China (sister cities of sister states), to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988. The Dragon Wall, featuring two flying dragons—a symbol of majesty and perfection in Chinese culture—was a gift from Guangdong; the brown dragon represents Guangdong, and the blue dragon New South Wales.
Designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners, the garden follows the Taoist principles of 'Yin-Yang', the opposing yet complementary and balanced forces, and ‘Wu-Xing’, the five elements or phases—wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These principles also stress the importance of Qi, the central force of life and energy.
Yin-Yang and Wu-Xing play such a vital role that just one missing element would disrupt the garden's harmony and balance. However, when combined perfectly, the five elements form a fluid and nurturing environment. Everything you encounter in the garden has been carefully chosen and meticulously placed in order to incorporate the five elements, achieve a balance of Yin and Yang, and promote the flow of Qi.
Unlike western-style gardens, there are no formally laid out flowerbeds or manicured lawns; instead, wild aspects of nature are recreated in landscapes that feature waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests.
The art of Chinese garden design began in imperial parks during the Shang Dynasty, around 3,000 years ago. Later it flourished on a smaller scale in the private gardens of China's rich and powerful, and Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship is a small-scale version of a typical private garden from this era.