APX Apartments Parramatta
Parramatta is more than just a good neighbour to Australia’s main metropolis of Sydney. Located in Sydney’s western suburbs, Parramatta was founded by the British in 1788 and is Australia’s second-oldest city. Travellers come to explore its historic sites and to experience its visitor attractions plus shopping, dining and sporting hotspots. Basking in New South Wales’s frequently warm and sunny climate, Parramatta makes a perfect springboard for visiting the superb national parks surrounding Sydney. Offering a wide choice of hotels, Parramatta is conveniently about 30 minutes from the delights of downtown Sydney by road or rail.
Parramatta enjoys a packed events calendar. Usually held in March, the Parramasala festival celebrates pan-Asian culture by bringing the Parramatta Riverbank to life with dance, music and food. Meanwhile, Lunar New Year festivities are held in Centenary Square with a focus on all things South East Asian. Culture vultures will appreciate the Riverside Theatre performing arts centre beside the Parramatta River for drama, comedy, dance and live music performances.
Besides being a popular haunt for walking, jogging, cycling and picnics, sprawling Parramatta Park is one of 11 nationwide locations comprising a World Heritage Site dedicated to telling the story of forced convict migration. Now a top tourist attraction and occasional live outdoor performance venue, the park was once the governor’s farmland. The former New South Wales colony was ruled from the elegant Old Government House. Dating back to 1799, this attractive Georgian structure is Australia’s oldest surviving public building. Inside is an excellent museum showcasing original period furniture. Heading into Parramatta’s eastern districts, there are more notable colonial buildings like Elizabeth Farm. Built in 1793, this living history museum is Australia’s oldest surviving European dwelling. If you yearn for a higher-octane alternative to Parramatta’s historic sites then you can make a splash at Wet'n'Wild Sydney. Located about 15 minutes’ drive west of downtown and its many hotels, this aquatic amusement park brimming with waterslides and wave-pools usually opens between September and April.
With a growing reputation as a commercial and local government hub, Parramatta has become a magnet for shopping and dining in Greater Sydney. The compact city centre is a hotspot for eating out, especially along Church Street where there are Chinese and Japanese restaurants plus a cluster of al fresco options like Middle Eastern, Italian, Greek and modern Australian eateries near Lennox Bridge. If spicy Indian food tickles your fancy, authentic curry houses reside in Wigram Street.
Shopaholics who choose a hotel in downtown Parramatta will be near one of Australia’s biggest shopping centres. Positioned at the southern end of Church Street, Westfield Parramatta contains hundreds of retailers like fashion outlets, department stores and speciality shops plus a fresh food market and a cinema. This downtown shopping paradise is easily reached wherever your hotel is because it adjoins a public transport interchange for local bus and rail services.
Australia’s love of sport is well-known and Parramatta is no different. Not only did the influential Australian cricketer and commentator Richie Benaud attend school and hone his skills as an all-rounder in the city, but also it has become a sporting hub in Western Sydney. Visitors can sample the Aussie passion for spectator sports at the Parramatta Stadium in Parramatta Park. It hosts professional teams like the Parramatta Eels of rugby league, the Western Sydney Wanderers football club and the Western Sydney Rams rugby union outfit. If you fancy a flutter on the horses, the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse is situated in James Ruse Drive, hosting regular thoroughbred races.
Having hosted the Summer Olympics in 2000, Sydney maintains a legacy of excellent sporting facilities. The Sydney Olympic Park, located a short drive east of Parramatta, remains in use for sporting and cultural occasions. Among the most impressive venues is the vast Stadium Australia. Enjoying a vibrant atmosphere, this Olympics centrepiece still hosts rugby union and football internationals plus frequent Australian rules football clashes. Stadium tours are also available, including guided walks along the gantry high above the pitch.
Sydney is ringed by many of Australia’s best-loved national parks, and several are within easy reach from your hotel in Parramatta. The spellbinding Blue Mountains National Park - a World Heritage Site - is less than two hours’ drive west of Parramatta. The protected landscape occupies an elevated sandstone plateau divided by deep river gorges. Walking trails let visitors get a closer look at its astonishing biodiversity. Beautiful Marramarra National Park lies about 30 miles north of Parramatta. It showcases rivers, creeks, ridges and bushwalking territory. Just 30 minutes’ drive north-east of Parramatta is the historic and scenic Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park where sandstone ridges hug Broken Bay’s coastline. Named after its original inhabitants, the park retains examples of aboriginal rock engravings and cave paintings.
Savvy travellers can take advantage of Parramatta’s proximity to Sydney. Not only does Parramatta feature several competitively-priced hotels, but also it’s well-connected to downtown Sydney by road, rail and even a scenic ferry service along the Parramatta River. Therefore, the city’s location in multicultural Sydney’s backyard makes it easy to get to top attractions such as the World Heritage Site Sydney Opera House, world-famous Bondi Beach and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.