Saturday, 16 April 2016

# 25 - Chinese Gardens

If you've read a few of these posts by now, you probably expected me to say something along the lines of 'the Chinese Gardens are gardens that happen to be Chinese'.  Well, that is exactly what I was going to say, but I didn't want to become predictable, so I won't.  Glad I sidestepped that one.  

The entrance to the Chinese Gardens - don't let the scary lions put you off
The Chinese Gardens, or Chinese Gardens of Friendship to give them their full name, are a small walled area to the South of Darling Harbour.  From the outside, it looks a bit like a temple, but as you step inside, you are greeted by a surprisingly large and diverse garden.  It has a big pond, with water lilies on the surface, and large koi swimming underneath.  There are a wide variety of plants and trees, all nicely decorated with rocks and paths winding their way through the foliage.

I really need to learn how to photoshop backgrounds

There are a few pavilions dotted throughout the gardens.  Some have nice views over the garden, some are hidden away and peaceful, and others contain stories and displays of Chinese artefacts.  There is also a tea house that serves Chinese tea and dim sum.  We didn't try any, so can't comment on how good it is.  As well as the man made elements and plant life, there is also some additional wildlife.  We saw a wide range of birds and a few lizards during our visit.  Entry to the gardens was about 6 dollars when we were there, but may have changed.

I'm pretty sure this is probably offensive to someone
It's amazing how quiet and peaceful the gardens can be when you are so close to the hustle and bustle of Darling Harbour.  In saying that, there was a lot of high rise construction around the area when we visited, and I think that is due to continue until around 2017 at least.  It didn't intrude too much on the tranquility of the place, but it was noticeable and brought some noise, as well as spoiling the view a bit in one direction.  I guess the simple solution to that is just to look a bit lower down though.

Some of the local wildlife
Overall, the Chinese Gardens are a great place to take a break, and to relax in relative peace and quiet.  It's great to have such a space so central to everything else.  I would recommend dropping in for a quiet stroll if you get a bit stressed out by the crowds around Darling Harbour.

Do you find the construction impacted on your enjoyment of the Chinese Gardens?  Want to point out the flaws in my crane kick technique?  Or the fact that Mr Miyagi was Japanese American, and nothing to do with China?  Unleash your innermost thoughts and questions in the comments below.

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