Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour - Sydney - Review

This week, we headed to the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour to explore this little secret garden. This secluded garden nestled amongst the city and the harbour is a tranquil place to visit with family and friends. The garden is a unique symbol of friendship between the people of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and Sydney - two sister cities. Little Miss was pretty excited when I told her we were going to explore the garden and jumped with joy!

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

After picking up an info sheet on the Koi fish that can be found in the Chinese Garden of Friendship and grabbing our copy of The Emperor's Quest - A Chinese Zodiac Adventure (great for kids 5 to 12 yrs), we started our walk around the Garden looking for Koi fish and Chinese Zodiac signs. Little Miss 5 and her brother were pretty happy to see the different types of Koi fish in the ponds around the Garden. There's daily fish feeding at 11:30 am in the Lenient Jade Pavilion which is a cool experience for kids. The ponds are not fenced so I had to make sure I held Master 2's hand at all times, he tends to run off on his little adventures! 

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

We stopped by the Water Pavilion to admire the view, take a few photos and little Miss & Master 2 took part in the school holiday activities. This week's school holiday activities focused on this year's Chinese year of the Dog. Kids were invited to decorate their dog mask with colour and stick-on materials to take home. Next week's school holiday activities will be held Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday 11am to 1pm as Wednesday 25th for Anzac Day public holiday. Next week's activities will be Chinese paper folding where kids can craft a butterfly, a boat, or hat, to keep or gift to a loved one. The activities are free with entry and were a welcome surprise for us, the kids loved them.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

After some crafts, we continued our quest around the Chinese Garden of Friendship and found each of 12 animal sculptures of the Chinese lunar calendar that were hidden in the garden including some real water dragons that were a bonus find ha!

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

While the lower gardens are accessible by wheelchair or by pram, it is best to leave the pram at the entrance to explore the upper gardens. We loved the nice walk around the garden amongst the rocks, the forests of bamboo, the waterfalls and looking at the lotus flowers across the lake.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

The kids loved the Emperor's quest around the garden, it made it really interesting for them, their favourite Chinese Lunar calendar animal was the monkey by far. They also enjoyed looking at the Koi fish in the lake and ponds amongst the weeping willows. 

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

The peaceful pavilions, trees, limestone rocks and colourful koi fish make the Chinese Garden of Friendship a beautiful place to visit. Kids and adults can dress up in traditional Chinese costumes and take their own photos in the garden for an extra fee. There is also a range of range of Chinese tea and refreshments in the traditional Chinese teahouse for visitors to enjoy.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

After a relaxing walk around the Chinese Garden, Master 2 admired the Bonsai trees while little Miss drew in the children's feedback book. We had a fantastic time and will be sure to visit again in the future. 

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

Our tips:

  • The Chinese Garden of Friendship is open daily except on Christmas Day and Good Friday 9:30 to 5pm (April to Sept) and 9:30 am to 5:30pm (October to March). The garden can be accessed via Pier Street in Darling Harbour.
  • Entry fees are as follows: Adult: $6, Child: $3 (under 12 years), Family: $15 (two adults and two children), Concession: $3 (Australian pensioners and students only) and Senior: $4.50 (Australian seniors only).
  • Lower garden is accessible for wheelchairs and prams however the upper garden is best travelled by foot. You can leave your pram near the Children's feedback corner.
  • There are no fencing around the lake and ponds so children supervision is advised at all times.
  • Accessible toilets and a baby change toilets are available onsite.
  • School holiday activities are available Monday to Friday during the holidays (except when a day falls on public holiday), they are free and run from 11am to 1pm.
  • Traditional Chinese dress-ups is available daily 11am to 5pm charged at $10 for an Adult and $5 for a child.
  • There is a free daily tour of the garden available 11:45am (1 Oct – 31 Mar) and 2pm (1 Apr – 30 Sep).
  • Bring some water and snacks if you wish to sit down and have a snack on your visit, there is a bench near the lake that visitors can use.
 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

Busy City Kids were invited to the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour for the purposes of a review. All opinions & feedback are genuine & truthful. Travel and fee paying activities were self funded. 

For more information on the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour, head to their website.

For more ideas on what to do with the kids in Sydney, head to our blog, our daily spots list or pools & beaches or playgrounds list. And for a full list of parents rooms around Sydney, head to our parents room page.