Parramatta, is the second oldest city in Australia. Parramatta was founded in 1788 – the same year as Sydney.
A delightful way to travel to Parramatta is by ferry from Circular Quay, gliding under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and along pretty Parramatta River past Sydney Olympic Park to Parramatta Wharf. The scenic trip is about 85 minutes. By train from Central Station the journey is about 25 minutes. There are heaps of reasons to visit Parramatta, it’s got so much to see and do and it’s compact.Parramatta is a city which is easy to explore with many of the best highlights within walking distance.
Walk up Church Street to discover its vibrant, multicultural food scene, or walk along the river to discover the city’s rich history. You can hop on the free city shuttle that runs every 10 minutes, every day to travel around the city and get your bearings. Parramatta is home to some major historic sites, including the Old Government House, built in 1799, Experiment Farm cottage, the site of the first land grant, and the rustic Hambledon Cottage on the Elizabeth Farm Estate. Elizabeth Farm runs year-round family tours and programs to engage kids in the history of the property and introduce them to what life was like during the early 19th century. Kids will get a kick out of trying to do the laundry in a tub, throwing quoits or doing some craft.
Lovely riverbank picnic spots are dotted along the Parramatta River, which winds past Old Government House in Parramatta Park. Bring your bicycle and enjoy the riverside cycle ways to historical sites. Parramatta’s Eat Street is wall to wall cafes and restaurants. Just have a wander along Church Street between Phillip Street and the Parramatta River and you’ll be bowled over with the choice.
Parramatta’s most loved outdoor space is sprawling Parramatta Park. Enjoy the loop track, explore historic buildings or amble through the Aboriginal Landscape Trail. With delightful flower gardens, water play areas and three playgrounds. In the Domain Creek playground, you can bounce on cleverly disguised trampolines, climb an enormous rope ladder to access the very exciting slide, use a digger to dig in the sandpit, play with a lovely water feature or enjoy the wooden xylophone. From the road you can barely see this playground, so beautifully does it blend with its bushy surroundings.
Generally speaking, Parramatta Park does not ever have an overcrowded feel to it. Its broad expanses of grass and gum trees can accommodate a huge number of visitors! For a touch of wilderness in the city, Lake Parramatta Reserve has beautiful bushland teeming with native species. Hike one of the three bush-walking trails, bring bikes for an off-road adventure and be sure to check out the dam. In summer the lake is patrolled by lifeguards and a swimmers delight, also popular with for-hire stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and paddle boats. Bring a picnic, spark up a BBQ or grab a cheeky snack at the café. Parramatta has plenty of activities that will suit families, there’s history, nature, sports – all that is missing is you!