Last visited April 2013
Nan Tien Temple is the largest temple in the Southern Hemisphere and is located just 10 minutes south of Wollongong. We like to expose the kids to different cultures and beliefs and a trip to Asia isn’t on the near horizon so Nan Tien Temple was the next best thing. If you squint when you stand at the top of the temple and look out to the green pastures you can almost imagine yourself in Asia, I stress almost!
We had driven past this temple a few times on trips to the South Coast and a couple of years ago decided to stop and visit. Our daughter, AJ, couldn’t remember ever being there so we decided on a recent day trip to the South Coast to revisit it. The day coincided with Buddha’s birthday celebrations. On our visit to the Temple a few years ago everything was very peaceful to the point where I think I whispered my way around our tour. By contrast this trip it was vibrant and busy with entertainment and even drumming. You can choose whether you want to visit on an ordinary day or a special occasion.
The Temple has much to see and is wheelchair accessible. If you are visiting at lunchtime and enjoy vegetarian food stop off in either the café downstairs or the dining hall upstairs for an inexpensive traditional meal.
The architecture of the Temples is something to admire but there are also the gardens and museum to look at. The museum has a 1000 year old wood carving which is so intricately carved it is simply hard to believe anyone having that patience. We also spent time wondering how anyone could do the microscopic sutra writings (you look through a magnifier to see the tiniest writing you ever did see).
Incense burns outside the Temple and an array of shoes are lined up outside the door. The ornate decorations inside the Temple are beautiful. There is a second Temple also with disabled access but it is much steeper. If you can manage the steeper incline it is worth looking at, it is a totally different style.
If you are looking for something different to do this is a good day trip out of Sydney. We would have liked to combine it with the Wollongong Botanic Gardens but they were closed the day we were there. I believe the gardens have an all abilities playground which we will check out next trip.
Nan Tien Temple has disabled parking, lift from the ground floor to the 1st level (the lift is hidden up a corridor behind the café), ramps to the next level and entry into the Temple itself are located to the left hand side of the Temple as you look at it. Stand alone disabled toilet facility is located on the way up from the 1st level to the Temple itself. It is outside the main building area but obvious when using the ramps to get to the Temple.
For more information check out their website
Getting to the Temple from Sydney we drove via Mt Keira lookout which we felt was well worth the stop for its extensive views up and down the coastline. On the return we went via the coast road stopping at Bald Hill Lookout to watch the Hang-gliding and Para-gliding. It’s another beautiful lookout with the bonus of watching people that are certainly gamer than me!
If you are looking for somewhere for a drink, snack or meal stop just before Bald Hill at The Scarborough Hotel. Delicious food and being located on a cliff top it’s a relaxing spot to enjoy our coastline. Wheelchair access is to the right of the building through a door.
This is the view from the indoor eating area at the Scarborough Hotel.
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