May 6th, 2006:
I have a handy guide book of Sydney and it seems there are thirteen major things to do at Darling Harbor. I have only done three of them, so today I took a look at the fourth thing-to-do there: the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Darling Harbor itself had a very Asian theme to it today as it was Budda's birthday and there were many celebrations taking place including a Buddhist wedding, all of which set the stage nicely for entering the Asian gardens.
The Gardens themselves were a gift from the Guandong Province of China and were created in 1988 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the European settlement of Australia. It is the largest garden of its type outside China and provides a soothing haven from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city.
Despite being relatively new, the gardens look timeless with mature weeping-willows hanging over tranquil lakes and the only sound being the gurgle of small waterfalls. The gardens and the architecture of the buildings look so authentic that its hard to believe that you have not traveled to China itself. The final addition to the convincing illusion is that you can put on traditional Chinese garments and it is mesmerizing to be standing in a traditional Chinese garden, looking at traditional Chinese buildings and then to see someone in traditional clothes emerge from the building.
The gardens cost six dollars to enter and are a pleasant, relaxing way to spend a couple of hours.