Parramatta has been a place where people come together since the pioneering days of Australian settlement. Experience its exciting mix of cultures, cuisines and colonial heritage and enjoy spacious riverside parks.
The Darug people have inhabited the Parramatta area for over 40,000 years. They fished for eels in the Parramatta River. Upon arrival of Europe's First Fleet in Sydney Cove, this fertile area was chosen for the convicts colony's first farm.
Follow Parramatta's 200-year colonial history as you stroll the shady gardens of Elizabeth Farm and admire the Georgian architecture and 19th-century furniture of Hambledon Cottage. In the nearby Experiment Farm, learn about the ex-convict James Ruse, who sowed the first seeds for the crops to feed the colony.
As a modern, developing city, Parramatta also has high-rise offices and a huge shopping mall with cinema. Rugby league fans can cheer on the Parramatta Eels and football fans the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club during home games at the Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta.
Cycle, jog or play on the paths and lawns of Parramatta Park, a UNESCO heritage site that includes the historic Government House. To spot wildlife, explore the bushland at Lake Parramatta Reserve.
Every Friday, Centenary Square (formerly Church Street Mall)is home to the bustling Farmers Market. At night this main street (Church Street) lives up to its nickname “Eat Street”, when the restaurants serve up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes for al fresco dining. For Indian curries and spice shops, head to charming Harris Park. Granville, another multicultural suburb, offers excellent Lebanese-style charcoal chicken.
Watch a performance at the Riverside Theatres or visit one of Parramatta’s eclectic food, film and seasonal festivals. A popular event is Parramatta Lanes, held each October. The pop-up festival breathes new life into otherwise quiet lanes with street performers, music and food trucks.
The most scenic way to reach Parramatta from Sydney’s CBD is the 50-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, but it is faster to go by train or bus. You can also rent a car to drive the 24 kilometres (15 miles) yourself. Once in Parramatta, jump on the free shuttle bus that circles the bustling city centre.
Dining, Shopping and Rivers
The bold lines of the Sydney Opera House speak more about Sydney than any other part of this cosmopolitan city of four million.
Locals and travelers from all over the world come to worship the sun, sand and clear blue waters of Australia’s most famous beach.
A colossus of engineering, the Harbour Bridge brings the pieces of Sydney together, and offers you a different perspective on the city's wide-angle drama.
Trains, buses and boats all make a bee-line for Circular Quay, a place at the heart of Sydney's journeying – and so should you.
The bush-land Zoo-in-the-city that is home to an amazing Australian wildlife experience
Lying just a ferry-ride away, on the north shore of Sydney's harbour, Manly will soon have you surfing and swimming – or just watching others getting all-manly.
Discover the history and magic of the world-renowned Sydney Opera House with this Guided Tour that takes you beneath the world-famous sails. Go behind the scenes and hear the controversial story of the building's construction, as emotional and dramatic as any opera plot.
Treat yourself to a feast for the eyes, mouth, and stomach with admission to the unforgettable buffet at the iconic Sydney Tower. Dine on a selection of more than 60 dishes ranging in style from Australian to Italian to Thai while basking in 360-degree views of the city as the restaurant revolves.
Explore all of Sydney's famous sights in 1 day! From the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the famous Bondi Beach and bustling Kings Cross. Your guide will show you the highlights around every corner! You'll be picked up from your hotel and head north towards Manly, crossing over the incredible Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Climb to the arched peak of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for unforgettable panoramic views of the city skyline and harbor. With a professional climber to lead the way, scale catwalks and ladders to reach the 440-foot (134-m) top and soak up bird's-eye views of the Sydney Opera House and beyond.
See all that Sydney has to offer with the convenience of a single pass that lets you choose between 2 or 3 of the Harbour City's most popular and well-loved attractions. Start with admission to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and then choose other attractions to enjoy on your own schedule.
Discover the streets of Sydney and the sandy shores of Bondi Beach as you cruise around town on an open-air, double-decker bus. Experience all the excitement of Australia's famous harbour city, hopping on and off at more than 30 stops near great attractions.