Down near Wollongong is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Buddhist temple, Nan Tien, of the Fo Guang Shan order of Buddhism. The temple is a hub for tourists and visitors – you can take a tour, have a meal, learn cooking, calligraphy or meditation, or simply wander the grounds and admire the main shrine with its 10,000 Buddhas. Nan Tien Temple has been a fixture of the drive down from Sydney to Wollongong since the 1990s, with its spectacular eight-storey pagoda transforming both the Wollongong skyline and the Princes Highway into something magical and unexpected.
After Wollongong City Council donated 26 hectares of land to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, charging a hefty annual rent of $1 for 100 years (yes, you read that right), Nan Tien was built in 1993.
Ever since it opened its doors in 1997, the temple has acted as a 50-hectare oasis of sacred grounds, spirituality and greenery for people, with it being a particularly important space for Asian Australians to connect with Buddhist culture and one another.
You can stay overnight at the Nan Tien Temple's impressive on-site accomodation, attend numerous workshops, and connect with a plethora of communities, all in one very special place.