Monday 14th of December was a sunny and warm day, so I decided to wander around Sydney a little bit. I wanted to check out this place I read about somewhere, very close to Town Hall called “The Chinese garden of friendship” (The Paradise’s address is: Pier St, Sydney NSW 2000). The name already stimulated my curiosity, as it is quite an unusual name for a garden.
The entrance to Paradise is not free though, but I decided that $6.00 was the right amount to pay and that only increased my curiosity about the place. Surely it is something worth seeing? I love gardens and parks!
This little gem is really central and while approaching, you can see the top of a Chinese temple and while walking around the walls (yes, it is a walled garden) you can have a sneak peak of lots of green inside. I couldn’t wait!
I got there quite early in the morning, so there was no queue. The entrance is already beautiful, with two lions guarding it. After paying the fee, the guy gave me a guide with a map for the garden, which was extremely helpful because it is packed with information and important facts.
So I learnt that the garden was built to “celebrate Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary and it is the result of the close friendship and cooperation between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, China”. All around the garden there are lots of elements that symbolize and remind you of this union, but I wouldn’t have noticed without the leaflet. It is definitely worth having a look at it.
The garden is simply stunning. It is not big (it takes 30-40 min to see it all), but it is so relaxing and well maintained that it encourages you to stay longer, resting on a bench or inside one of the many little temples.
The garden features weeping willows, Chinese lanterns, waterfalls, ponds, exotic plants, a bamboo forest, gates, pavilions, a tiny bridge…many elements have evocative names such as “Hall of Longevity”, “Dragon Tower”, “Water Pavillion of Lotus Fragrance”, that send you right to a different, mysterious and fascinating world. And the smell! I don’t know if it was jasmine or lotus flower, but there was something in the air smelling very sweet and delicious, mixed with the fresh, mountain-like smell of black pine (love, love!!)…all those elements combined give you such a calm and relaxed feeling that you’ll wish to stay there a long, long time.
And scattered here and there, half hidden in the green, there are wooden small animals, from the Chinese zodiac. If you look close enough, not so far from each animal, you will find a small round plaque explaining the characteristics of that particular animal and the symbolic meanings connected to it according to the Chinese tradition.
Let’s go inside this peaceful and wonderful place, a small oasis of calm and refreshing shade in the heat and chaos of Sydney…
Elements that symbolize and celebrate the union of the two states are:
Elements of magic..
Chinese zodiacal signs are all around the park..look for yours!
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