When we talk about the Chinese area in Brisbane, Chinatown, the street in Fortitude Valley, comes first in mind. Sunnybank, for great food and a less touristy experience, comes second. But no one mentions the Chung Tian Temple. Hidden in the forest between Brisbane and Logan, we felt like we travelled to Asia for a couple of hours. How surprising!
I had no idea such a temple existed near Brisbane. Considering the diversity of cultures and the Asian influence in Brisbane, it doesn’t come out of the blue to find interesting places of worship like this.
For those who never had the chance to travel in Asia to do so, it is a peaceful place where you can get the opportunity to learn more about the Buddhist culture.
The seven-level Temple Pagoda is an excellent example of traditional Chinese design. The gardens are also typical with many small statues and beautiful bonsai. Bonus: you also get the kangaroos, as a reminder that you are still in Australia!
We went there the day before the Chinese New Year’s Eve. That’s most probably what caused the photo of the temple to appear in my social media timeline. They were preparing the place for the festivities on the next day. It was good to experience the temple in a quiet atmosphere, as Buddhism is so focused on meditation.
The temples are fascinating to visit, but, unfortunately, there is not much information available during the tour. They organise guided tours, but for large groups only. Check their website to learn more about the place.
You can try Chinese Calligraphy in the Temple Pagoda. They also have a tea room for degustation or the Tea Ceremony.
We decided to go back on the next day for the event.
It felt like we were far away from Brisbane, from Australia.
I loved the sensation; it was perfect for the occasion. The temple was a lot more lively, of course. They decorated the temple and prepared food and some activities to celebrate the New Year of the Monkey. We made a wish for “good health and longevity” and rang the Blessing Bell. The other options we had for the wish: Excel in Studies, Harmonious Family, Blissful Marriage, and High Achievement. I just thought that without the good health, we’d enjoy all the others a bit less. We also participated in writing the Chinese word “Auspiciousness” using different Chinese Calligraphy styles of the word “Monkey”. We left after a concert from an orchestra playing only traditional Chinese instruments.
I like how welcome we felt there. They have great plans to develop the temple and although they do promote fundraising with boxes here and there and opportunities to “buy a wish”, you never feel that you have to give. It makes it such a better experience.
It is also great to see how much they try to promote an environmental-friendly lifestyle. Little flaw: the plastic cutlery and plates during the event, and the air-con in a room with opened doors… this is not very well aligned!
Visitors are welcome from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Tips: you must take off your shoes to enter the temples, so thongs will make your visit easier! They have a tea house where you can have light food, tea and coffee. Picnics are not allowed in the gardens but, if you want to have your own food, there is a nice park not too far from the temple.
Do you know other places of interest around Brisbane to discover another culture? I’d love to hear about it! Please give me some ideas in the comments below!
Where is Chung Tian Temple?
The temple is about half an hour drive from the centre of Brisbane in Queensland. It is not far from Logan, in Priestdale.
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