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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 03, 2019
Headline for Best Things to Do in Parramatta - Best kept secrets of Sydney’s riverside city
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Things to Do in Parramatta - Best kept secrets of Sydney’s riverside city

This vibrant and cosmopolitan riverside city has much to offer – from some of the best fine dining to quirky cafes, a rich aboriginal history and bursting contemporary art scene.


Arts and Film

Parramatta is a great place to feel the pulse of Australia’s best musicians, stage artists and visionaries; there’s always an interesting event on – be it a TEDx session, a music festival, experimental theatre or an international act. For something more easy-going, a museum or gallery visit is highly recommended.


A visit to the Old Government House

Parramatta happens to be the second oldest city in all of Australia, and the first European settlement in the country, having been established in 1788. The city’s most visited and iconic colonial structure is the Old Government House, found in Parramatta Park, which is also home to many remains of aboriginal people which can be seen within the park to this day. It’s also a popular stop for lunch.


Heritage and Architecture Tours

With a history that runs as deep as Parramatta’s, a guided walk with a historian or a bike ride is a great way to take in the key sites of interest in the span of a few hours. These tours tie in cathedrals, museums, colonial cottages and the Parramatta Town Hall among others. There are several local tour guides available that can take you around the city and won’t cost a fortune. In addition, there are a few Paramatta hotels that are centrally located to several landmarks, such as the Park Royal Paramatta, so walking around on your own with a map is an option as well.


Ferry Journeys and Cockatoo Island

You wouldn’t want to leave this historic city without experiencing its top attraction; an incredibly scenic ferry ride which takes you beneath the Harbour Bridge and all the way up the Parramatta River. On route, make a stop at Cockatoo Island, which gives you a deeper understanding of this fascinating city layers of past and present. The island has been home to convicts, an industrial school and a reformatory. Most notably, it was an onsite shipbuilding hub during Australia’s industrial and maritime history in the 18th century. In 1913, the island became the official dockyard of the Royal Australian Navy.


Amazing bars

Parramatta produces some tasty local brew, and you’ll be spoilt for choice in settings; take your pick from casual riverside pubs, sleep underground bars and even inside a beautiful restored historic church. If you’ve got the time to spare, bar hopping should definitely include Nick and Nora’s rooftop bar for a selection of over 900 spirits and an unbeatable view of the city and a sampling of locally crafted beer at the Riverside Brewing Company. The well-established micro-brewery is homely and offers some of Australia’s finest brews.


Cross continental cuisine

For a relatively small city, Parramatta has embraced a diverse culture of global cuisines that suit every budget. Whether you’re after an intimate evening for two, or traveling with friends and family, the city presents an eclectic offering of cafes, restaurants, bistros, pubs and patisseries that are from breakfast to late night.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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