When I spent 3 days exploring Sydney with my friend Sarah, the Chinese Garden of Friendship was the only attraction that we paid for.
Everything else had been free, and we’d been frugal with our food and accommodation spending as well, so we nearly didn’t pay the $3 student entry fee to go into the Chinese Garden of Friendship. In the end, the only thing that convinced us was the fact that it had ‘Friendship’ in the title, and that this might be a nice way to round off a fortnight of travelling together.
It was $3 well spent.
Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship feels like somewhere that shouldn’t exist.
If someone had dropped me, blindfolded, into the Chinese Garden of Friendship, I would never have guessed that it was bang smack in the middle of Australia’s biggest city. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of city life, the garden is a moment of peaceful calm. The walls seem to block out the noise of the outside world, and with it, they keep its stresses and worries at bay, too. The trees and surrounding buildings shelter it from the wind, and even the children playing seemed to make less noise that expected!
Everywhere you look, flat ponds mirror the elegant bridges and buildings that are dotted around the garden. The whole place is overflowing with green and vibrant colours.
Australian Water Dragons sun themselves on the rocks, with a disapproving expression that suggests you’re taking life too fast.
It’s a place to relax in. It’s a place to sit and watch the world go by. It’s somewhere to focus on being in the moment. If you’re into mindfulness, this would be a great place to immerse yourself in it. Even if you’re not, I think we could all do with stopping sometimes, and really noticing our surroundings.
In today’s world, we spend so much time and energy ‘doing’. We very rarely give any thought to ‘being’.
I’m as guilty of this as anybody. I spend my life making to-do lists and crossing things off them. I’m always running through a list of tasks in my head.
Sometimes, I just need a little oasis of calm and quiet, where I can just rest. It may not have the majestic span of the Harbour Bridge, or the imposing majesty of the Opera House, but the Chinese Garden of Friendship is somewhere I would recommend to anyone visiting Sydney.
After all, when you’re travelling, it’s always good to take a little quiet time to reflect.