Discover the cultural diversity, rich heritage and scenic river parks of the second-oldest settlement in Australia, in the heart of the greater Sydney region.
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.