The Grand Pacific Drive is a 140km coastal drive from south of Sydney, winding past glittering beaches and small coastal towns, crossing the Sea Cliff Bridge on its way to Wollongong.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is nestled at the south end of Darling Harbour and a short walk from Chinatown. At the end of Winter the gardens are not at their best although still lovely and blissfully quiet. Enjoy the serenity of the traditional Chinese Teahouse and spare some time to spoil ones self with scones, jam, cream and jasmine tea whilst taking in the surrounding views of the gardens. The gardens occupy several acres combining waterfalls, lakes, pavilions, sculpture and animals; the fish and the ibis.
Located approximately 40km west of the Sydney CBD within Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside is the Chang Lai Yuan Chinese gardens whose name was derived by adopting one character from each of the names Dongchang, which is the former name of the City of Liaocheng and Blacktown, when translated from Chinese (Bu Lai Ke Cheng). Yuan is the Chinese translation for ‘garden’. The garden is based on the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty in China.
The garden was cooperatively designed and constructed by Blacktown Council and Liaocheng Municipal Government in China as a symbolic gesture of friendship between the two sister cities.
The garden features Seven Arch Stone Bridge, Waterfall Gazebo, Light Mountain Pavilion and a grand Gateway.
Nurragingy Reserve is a sprawling natural bushland reserve which offers picnic and BBQ areas, playgrounds for children, bush walking tracks, picturesque lake with water spray. It contains historically significant areas, including areas of Aboriginal significance.
All in all a great place for family gatherings, weddings or just relax in the glorious surroundings and entry is free. See Blacktown Council for details getting there.
Jump out of bed early to discover that the weather is overcast and looking like rain any minute. Pretty daunting as the day before had been perfect autumn weather. We join the bus with our fellow travelers and start our journey to the dam. I have not been there for many years (won’t say how long!).
We have our stopover at MacDonalds where we partake of the usual skinny flat white and blueberry muffin. Back on the bus all are in a good mood and so far the rain has held off.
On arriving at the dam the change is phenomenal nothing like I remember. There is this large Visitors Centre with three platforms allowing for great views of the dam and surroundings. Inside there is a large photographic exhibition of the history of the dam.
Warragamba Dam construction began in 1948 and was completed in 1960.The dam is the largest concrete dam in Australia and one of the largest domestic water supply dams in the world. With the damming of the Burragorang Valley the lake behind the dam was created and is said to be four times the size of Sydney Harbour.
The dam was closed for the dam wall to be strengthened and was raised by five metres. Early 2000s an auxiliary spillway was build to divert floodwaters to protect the dam in case of floods. In 2006 a deep water pumping station was built to allow access to water lower down in the lake during times of drought. The dam re-opened to the public in 2009.
Facilities at Warragamba include picnic shelters, drinking water, toilets and electric barbeques. No wood, charcoal or solid fuel barbecues can be used.
Time to get back on the bus. The dam was not as I remembered all those long years ago, renovations are a great improvement to the dam and the views are spectacular. On leaving the rain starts.
Lunch was at the Warragamba Workers & Sporting Club Ltd. Great food!
The rain continues all the way back to Sydney.