Parramatta, Penrith, Homebush and surrounding areas make up Sydney’s cultural melting pot. Here, you’ll find pockets of unique cultures and an affordable lifestyle.
There’s a never-ending supply of things to do in Sydney’s western suburbs. Western Sydney University hosts an Out and About program, which sets up regular activities and adventures for students at discounted rates. You can go sightseeing, bushwalking or opt for an adrenaline-pumping experience like a climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge or canyoning and abseiling in the Blue Mountains. It’s a great way to get to know other people on campus and make new friends. The University’s Penrith campus is home to the Penrith Observatory, where astronomy lovers can gaze at the stars through telescopes, attend public workshops, or listen to experts speak for around $12.
For all your shopping needs, head to Direct Factory Outlets (DFO) in Homebush near Sydney Olympic Park. If you’re a bargain-hunter, this is the shopping centre for you; DFO houses many well-known brands selling stock at discount prices. Once you’ve tired yourself from shopping, enjoy a snack at the international food court.
The west is where you’ll find the best selection of international food in the whole city. For delicious Malaysian food, look no further than Temasek in Parramatta. The laksa and beef rendang are the champions of the menu. If you’re on a budget and looking for a lunch under $10, head to Parramatta’s Destination Roll for delicious banh mi, or try the plant-based menu at Soul Burger.
There’s a great selection of authentic northern Indian dishes available at Homebush’s Rasika Indian Restaurant. It’s best-known for some of its vegetarian dishes, like the vegetable manchurian and Aloo Baingan. In Homebush you’ll also find several South Indian and Sri Lankan restaurants, including Blue Moon, New Shakthi Takeaway and Ram’s Food.
If you’d rather cook yourself, Homebush has several international supermarkets, like the Indian & Pacific Market or the Tan Hung Long Asian Groceries, which are both located on The Crescent.
Not only is the food great in Western Sydney, but there’s also a huge selection of entertainment on offer. Sydney Olympic Park hosts many big name singers – like popular South Korean boy band GOT7 – and big sporting events throughout the year. In summer, embrace your inner child at Raging Waters Sydney in Prospect. With over 30 rides and attractions, it’s Sydney’s biggest waterpark and a guaranteed good time. The Japanese-inspired Auburn Botanic Gardens is a beautiful spot to explore all year round, but it’s particularly stunning in August during the nine-day Cherry Blossom Festival.
The City of Parramatta Library has a central location as well as six branches around the Western Sydney area. You’ll find a great selection of books, plus English conversation classes and various workshops and events, both in English and other languages.
Over 60 percent of NSW’s Islamic places of worship are located in the western suburbs. Australia’s largest mosque, and the first purpose-built mosque in Sydney, is the Lakemba Mosque. It offers worship services and an Islamic counselling service. If you’re not part of the Muslim community but want to learn more about it, the mosque provides tours and education sessions.
If you’re looking for a Hindu place of worship, the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Blacktown hosts daily Darshan sessions as well as weekly Satsang Sabha every Sunday evening, followed by Mahaprasad.
To get in touch with nature, take a walk around the beautiful Parramatta River and visit one of the many cafes along the way. Or, get your fitness fix by taking your bike along the 20-kilometre cycle path between Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park.
Western Sydney has plenty of unique experiences on offer. Step back in time at the Blacktown Skyline Drive In. This colourful 1950s-themed diner and drive-in cinema is perfect for enjoying a movie the good old-fashioned way or trying one of the many snacks on offer in the cosy diner booths.
Take a step even further back in time by visiting the historic Old Government House, a 19th-century governors’ residence built by convicts, which now houses a collection of colonial furniture. The House, which sits in over 200 acres of land, is the oldest surviving public building in Australia. The main part of the building was built in 1799 by Governor John Hunter, but Governor Macquarie and his wife spent the most time in this residence.
Adventure-seekers should head to TreeTops Western Sydney to monkey around 15 metres above the forest floor on one of the 108 climbing challenges or flying foxes (the longest one is 250 metres). This adventure park offers courses of varying difficulties and has barbeque and picnic facilities for you to enjoy after a long day of climbing and zipping your way through the trees.