Australia's iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge are set to be joined by a new landmark after a council approved a ￡330 million, 15-hectare Chinese-themed park including a full-sized replica of the gates to Beijing's Forbidden City.
The sprawling park, to be built in Wyong Shire, about 50 miles north of Sydney, will also feature a nine-story temple housing a giant Buddha and a mini-city modelled on Chinese water towns.
The local mayor, Doug Eaton, said the park, to be finished by 2020, is set to become one of the country's main tourist attractions.
"Outside the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this has the potential to be among the biggest tourist attractions in the state," he said.
"What this proposal will do is turn the Wyong shire into a tourist mecca and bring millions of dollars worth of tourism into the area, which will have a flow-on effect to the entire region's economy."
The council has agreed to sell the land to the Australian Chinese Theme Park Pty Ltd, the private company behind the project. Construction will begin with the building of the Forbidden City gates in 2015.
The park will also include a section in the architectural style of the Tang and Song dynasties and another in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
It will feature a 1000-seat theatre, restaurants and function halls, a royal villa, and a children's section devoted to pandas (which will not have any pandas).
"It is going to be a unique $500 million tourist attraction, employing more than a thousand people and bringing economic prosperity to Wyong Shire," said Bruce Zhong, chairman of the ACTP.
The project is designed to help tap into the lucrative Chinese tourist market. More than 400,000 Chinese tourists visit the state of New South Wales each year.
(Read by Brian Salter. Brian Salter is a journalist at the China Daily Website.)