Shortly after I got back here I remembered something. I was running round Sydney’s Centennial Park and I recalled that somewhere in that park was a labyrinth. No, not a mythical land populated by Goblin Kings in tight trousers, or anything with scary bull like creatures running round it, but a relaxing labyrinth; a place to walk and contemplate your navel. Considering that at this point my navel was considerably more rounded than normal (yes, I gained the ‘Sydney Stone’ when I got back) it was therefore relatively easy to gaze at and so, one sunny afternoon, I took myself off into the park to find said place of peace.
Admittedly locating it isn’t tricky as a) it’s on google maps b) there’s pointy signs saying Labyrinth all over the place and after about a 20-minute wander into the depths of the park I found it. It was smaller than I expected. In my head I’d built it up into something the size of the maze at Hampton Court, which considering I went there when I was about seven seemed enormous, This is a 36ft round circle on the ground, but no matter, it looked calming and so on I stepped.
First up, despite my analogy above, walking a labyrinth is not like a maze. There’s no place you have to get to, you don’t win a prize if you do it quickly. Instead the idea is that you follow the meandering paths in any way you see fit, focusing on the feel of your feet on the ground. the sounds and smells around you and yes, your thoughts. Many people use labyrinth walking as a way to destress, a place to solve problems or decide a new path in life. You walk from the entry point to the middle, then back out again taking as long as you like in the middle. I was more focused on having a nice walk in the sunshine than anything too contemplative, but I can see why it works. They’re something hypnotic about focusing on the circles, lines, twists and turns – and, having birds tweeting and trees all around you doesn’t exactly hinder the relaxing elements of the place.
The Labyrinth has been there since 2014 and the park offers guided meditations around it some weekends. To find details of the next one visit the Sydney Labyrinth webpage. If you want to wander it alone, it’s clearly marked on google maps and the park maps, but the closest description I can give you is that it’s in Centennial Park which is in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney close to Paddington/Moore Park. Once you enter the park you’ll find it on Dickens Drive, just past the junction of Loch Ave. It’s on the right hand side in a large clearing behind some trees.
As an added bonus right now, if, after your walk you head up Loch Avenue towards the Oxford Street side of the park you’ll come across the film set for the new Peter Rabbit movie that’s starting filming next week, They’ve built a tiny British village in the middle of Sydney complete with it’s own veggie patch in case any visiting bunny types wander past. If you’re not in Sydney (Hi UK and US readers, stay with me, I’m trying to be international with stuff) you’ll find a list of labyrinths around the world here.
So, have you every tried walking a labyrinth, if so, did it work for you? Or have you walked anywhere else unusual like the Barefoot Walking trail I tried in Seoul? There’s a whole lovely comment section below just waiting for you to chat to me.