The Chinese Garden of Friendship is an oasis on the edge of buzzy and busy Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour. This completely revamped part of Sydney has a sprawling convention centre, cinemas and performance venues, a shopping mall, restaurants, commercial and leisure marinas, possibly the world’s largest children’s playground, art installations and museums. But it also includes this one beautiful place in which to restore your equilibrium after the onslaught of contemporary business activities and mass tourism, the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship celebrates the friendship between Sydney and its sister city Guangzhou. Chinese landscape architects designed the garden along Taoist principles of the opposing yet complementary Yin-Yang forces of the five elements Earth, Fire, Water, Metal, Wood. These elements must be carefully balanced to achieve harmony to energise our central life force Qi. The garden’s layout mimics the imperial garden design developed during the Shang Dynasty [1600 – 1046 BCE!] which was refined during the Han Empire of the Great Ming [1368 – 1644 CE] when powerful families established their own if smaller private gardens.
I would like to dedicate my post of the Chinese Garden of Friendship to Liu Ju Tsong [aka Juan] and Liu Wen Shiuan [aka Andrea] our daughter-in-law’s parents. When we explored this delightful space, I sensed they were walking with us.
For the past year, the Garden offered a game they called “The Emperor’s Quest” to children ages 5 to 12. The children searched for the zodiac animals of the lunar calendar hidden within the garden’s features to learn more about the Sheng Xiao or birth signs.
We enjoyed our walk through this tranquil garden very much and left only reluctantly.