The Chinese Gardens3
Why locals love it
First opened in 1988, they appeared to be a sparse and curious gimmick. But in the past decade they've grown on us all, blossoming into a fecund set-piece - a stage where Sydneysiders can project themselves into 14th century Nanjing during their lunch break, or Peking with the kids on Saturday afternoon, or [insert your Chinese fantasy here].
Why you should visit it
Modelled on traditional gardens from the Ming Dynasty - with koi carp frolicking in the lakes, willows luxuriating in the sun, a Dragon Wall, a Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance and even a teahouse - you can pretend you're in the People's Republic for under $10. So take a break from ye old Sydney town and visit 中国 - no passport required.