The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built to symbolise the friendship between Sydney, New South Wales and the city of Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, China (sister cities of sister states), to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988. The Dragon Wall, featuring two flying dragons—a symbol of majesty and perfection in Chinese culture—was a gift from Guangdong; the brown dragon represents Guangdong, and the blue dragon New South Wales.
Designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners, the garden follows the Taoist principles of 'Yin-Yang', the opposing yet complementary and balanced forces, and ‘Wu-Xing’, the five elements or phases—wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These principles also stress the importance of Qi, the central force of life and energy.
Yin-Yang and Wu-Xing play such a vital role that just one missing element would disrupt the garden's harmony and balance. However, when combined perfectly, the five elements form a fluid and nurturing environment. Everything you encounter in the garden has been carefully chosen and meticulously placed in order to incorporate the five elements, achieve a balance of Yin and Yang, and promote the flow of Qi.
Unlike western-style gardens, there are no formally laid out flowerbeds or manicured lawns; instead, wild aspects of nature are recreated in landscapes that feature waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests.
The art of Chinese garden design began in imperial parks during the Shang Dynasty, around 3,000 years ago. Later it flourished on a smaller scale in the private gardens of China's rich and powerful, and Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship is a small-scale version of a typical private garden from this era.
The Chinese Garden loves nothing more than a big day. Say “I do” in a sheltered pavilion, make an entrance over a graceful bridge or make some big decisions in a beautiful landscape.
The garden’s pavilions are perfect for daytime wedding ceremonies for up to 120 guests. For evening functions, the lower levels of the Chinese Garden are available exclusively from 5.30pm to midnight with catering provided by your preferred (gold licensed) supplier.
For daytime functions, the Blue Room is available for hire from 9.30am to 5pm and is ideal for meetings or small conferences of up to 50 people.
Blue Room Functions
Filming and Photography
T (02) 9240 8665
Enrich your students’ cultural knowledge with a visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Sydney Learning Adventures offers an engaging and interactive education program for primary students (Stages 2 and 3).
Chinese Whispers program
For years: 3–6 (Stages 2 and 3 History and Geography)
Location: Chinese Garden and Chinatown
In the heart of Chinatown, students experience contemporary Chinese–Australian culture while learning why and when Chinese people first came to Australia, and how they have adapted and flourished as a community.
By opening a window on Chinese culture and its ongoing contribution to Australia society and identity, the program helps students explore the role that people of diverse backgrounds play in the development and character of local communities.
For more information visit Sydney Learning Adventures.
Primary and secondary student groups can also enjoy a self-guided visit to the Chinese Garden. To book, please complete and return the Self-Guided Education Group booking form.
Chinese Garden Risk Assessment
Venue and Safety Information
Catering packages are available for school groups. For information and to book, please refer to the Self-Guided Education Group booking form.