Chinese Garden of Friendship

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was a gift to the people of
New South Wales, Australia from its Chinese sister province, Guangdong. I fell deeply in love with this garden, which I visited with my grandmother.

friendship garden map

Areas within the Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden at Darling Harbour is divided into five distinct areas. The plants, buildings, design features and structures such as gates and bridges help to define these areas. They include the following:

  1. Main Entrance Hall and Hall of Clear Shade
  2. Water Pavilion to the Wandering Gallery, including the Seven Sages in the Bamboo Forest
  3. Mountain area
  4. Pine and Rock Forest including the rocks symbolising ‘Ashima and the Landlord’
  5. Teahouse and surrounds.



Within the five distinct areas of the garden there are a number of specific spaces including:

• The Entry Pavilion: guards the garden entry with two foo-dogs (Chinese lions) carved from rare Chinese granite. The female with her cub guards the left side and the male guards the right.


• Commemorative Pavilion: houses the granite tablet that describes the creation of the garden in both English and Chinese.

• The Hall of Longevity: provides a view of the dragon wall, which features two coloured dragons—the gold represents Guangdong and the blue represents New South Wales. The pearl between them symbolizes the bond between the two.


• The Lenient Jade Pavilion: surrounded by water and named for the quality of lenience attributed to jade.

• The Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance: reveals the panorama of the lake and is traditionally used for banqueting or as a place to watch and feed the fish.


• Round Pavilion: connects the inside world to the outside, providing the balance of Yin and Yang. The Yin and Yang symbol is carved into the granite floor.

• The Chamber of Clear Rhythm: located in a quiet, secluded spot, the chamber is a peaceful space for playing music.

• The Reading Brook Pavilion: designed for viewing the waterfall, it encourages contemplation and reading.


• The Wandering Gallery: a protected pathway leading to the pine covered mountain.

• The Rinsing Jade Pavilion: a resting place near the top of the mountain located over the Jade Rock Spring. A Chinese story tells of the elixir of eternal life coming from the spring water of Jade bearing rocks after 10,000 years of continuous flow.

• The Twin Pavilion: a gift from the people of Guangdong, these interconnected buildings are a symbol of friendship and cooperation. The surrounding plants of Chinese origin (lychees and flowering peaches) alongside the NSW waratah, further illustrate the bond between the two places.


• The Gurr or Pavilion of Clear View: is the peak of the mountain. An imposing hexagonal building, its roof covered with golden glazed tiles sits at the top of the garden, offering great views of the garden and city beyond.


• The Mountain Gate: guarded by a ‘lion’ and a ‘horse’ rock to prevent the passage of mythical evil spirits to the Gurr, the mountain gate creates a transition from the mountain to the scenic plains.

• The original Teahouse (Blue Room): built over stacked and mortared rocks, it appears to grow from the stone.



• The Peace Boat Pavilion: water on three sides creates the illusion of being in a large boat on the lake. The granite floor is dressed to resemble the flooring of a boat.


• The Aquatic Pavilion: water flowing through the pavilion is designed to integrate water and buildings. The sunken floor brings visitors closer to the water.



Botanical highlights

Spring Chinese Peony, Azalea, Red Silk Cotton Tree, Port Wine Magnolia, Pomegranate

Summer Sacred Lotus, Orange Jasmine,  Osmanthus, Gardenia, Weeping Willow, Frangipani

Autumn Prince Of Orange,  Camellia,  Persimmon,  Buddhist Pine

Winter  Waratah,  Hong Kong Rose,  Flowering Apricot, Cherry Plum, Black Pine


Dramatic rock forms rise from the Lake of Brightness symbolizing mythical creatures.

Phoenix & Unicorn RocksDragon & Tortoise Rocks



My Grandmother and me on the Australia trip.




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