Head west of Sydney to discover a melting pot of cultures, heart-thumping adventure and global eats that will transport you to far-flung places. Western Sydney is filled with many surprises.
From the shimmering lights of Parramatta’s CBD to Penrith along the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Western Sydney is made up of easy-going neighbourhoods, each with their own vibe. Sprinkled throughout are foodie hangouts to late-night bars to thriving art spaces, and a sporting culture that’s more than a pastime, it’s a way of life.
A destination that’s filled with many surprises and packed full of family fun, the list of things to do in Western Sydney is endless. And what’s more, the region comes complete with every possible convenience. So, when you’re next in Western Sydney, this is the only guide you’ll need for a jam-packed day that will leave you begging for more.
Playtime to the Extreme
If there is one thing that Western Sydney does well, it’s adventure sports. And boy, does the region have it in spades. In Penrith alone, you can shoot up into the air at Sydney Regatta Centre on either a board or strapped to a pack; all propelled by water-powered jets. Get the thrill of skydiving without having to jump out of a plane at iFLY Indoor Skydiving, or hit the mark at axe throwing.
Luddenham Raceway is jam-packed with heart-pumping activities, from outdoor go-karting (pro-circuit and a rookie circuit), outdoor paintball and a motorsport park with a 1.4km loop for cars and motorbikes. And Eastern Creek is home to Sydney Motor Sport Park – cars and motorbikes on track – and Sydney Premier Karting Park has long been the go-to go-karting circuit.
It’s a well-known fact; in summer, Western Sydney can get hot. Really hot! And that’s why water play tops every list of things to do in Western Sydney. Raging Waters Sydney is a large waterpark with long waterslides, a lazy river with tubes and a man-made beach and waves. At Penrith’s Cable Wake Park, you can wakeboard, kneeboard or water ski, or for something a little more subdue, Aqua Park has inflatable slides, runways, jumping pillows and structures. The icing on the cake, though, is Penrith’s Whitewater Stadium – made for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it’s now a whitewater rafting and kayaking wonderland.
A Foodie Trail
Global eats with authentic dishes have put Western Sydney on every foodie’s radar. From eateries in Parramatta spinning out juicy burgers stacked high with layers of meat, salad and dressing to Granville, a gastronomic standout, even if it’s for El Jannah alone. Yet, it is Abla’s Pastries & Café that has solidified this neighbourhood as the go-to for Lebanese food in all of Sydney. Then add into the mix BYO eateries and neighbourhood restaurants with menus that hail from all over the globe, and you have one enviable foodie scene.
Sprinkled throughout Western Sydney are cultural hubs – Riverside Parramatta and Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith deliver a line-up of musical theatre, performing arts, and gigs. Art is
showcased at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, and Penrith’s sports culture is immortalised in street art. And for movie buffs, the Skyline Drive-in Cinema showcases the latest blockbusters and enduring favourites.
Gardens and Parklands
Arguably one of Western Sydney’s most versatile hangouts, the picturesque Western Sydney Parklands offer everything from walks and picnic spots, to lookouts and animal encounters across an impressive 5,280-hectare site. Featherdale Wildlife Park takes it a step further with a safari-like experience and animal encounters. Yet, it’s the newcomer, Sydney Zoo, that garners a lot of attention for its native and exotic wildlife and aquarium. For something a little more low-key, Auburn Botanic Gardens is serene and beautiful, and it’s the perfect backdrop to many family picnics and gatherings.
Shop ‘til You Drop
A list of things to do in Western Sydney would be incomplete without a mention of the shopping that abounds. Sprawling shopping malls of Parramatta and Penrith are packed full of storefronts, from big name brands to high-end designer labels to smaller boutiques. All of which sits alongside eateries and entertainment precincts.
Day Trip to the Blue Mountains
From the world heritage Blue Mountains National Park to the rustic elegance of colonial homes and villages, the Blue Mountains has a way of drawing the crowds. Take some time to explore the region, from its charming shopfronts, art galleries and a burgeoning foodie scene that plays on the very essence of home-style cooking.
A cultural melting pot with a thriving foodie, arts and events scene, Western Sydney is so much more than an extreme sports playground. Yet, that alone is what makes this region a standout.