There are so many things to do in Western Sydney that if you have not been west for a while, it’s about time you do; you are seriously missing out on some of the city’s best attractions! Today Western Sydney local.
Visitors and locals alike tend to flock to the Sydney icons that usually take centre-stage in international marketing, movies and T.V. and magazines. On any given gorgeous summer day, the likes of the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour would find themselves littered with sightseers.
However, unknown to many tourists (and many Sydney locals) are the hidden gems of Western Sydney, absolutely brimming with rich culture, gorgeous environments, and thrilling adventure. From the incredible events held at the Sydney Olympic Park to the serene Martin’s Lookout overlooking the entire city, Western Sydney caters for just about everyone, looking for just about anything.
The Great River Walk
One of the most beautiful and mind-altering things to do in Western Sydney is free. Who knew? The Great River Walk, located by the Nepean River in Penrith, promises both a super workout and brilliant eye candy.
Spanning approximately 6.5kms, the Great River Walk is a bridge to bridge loop connected by the M4 Motorway and the Victoria Bridge. Along the way, you’ll be able to check out a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese and water monitors.
If you’re feeling peckish, the East Bank offers a wide range of eats ranging from easy fish and chips to something a little more substantial, like Italian restaurants and steakhouses. With plenty of parking, eating options, scenic views, and picnic spots, the Great River Walk is a perfect, free afternoon for all ages.
Similarly, if you’re looking for more of an isolated walk through the bush, the gorgeous hikes near Mount Riverview are conveniently located just 10 minutes from the city of Penrith and have the advantage of being situated just at the edge of the Blue Mountain incline offering stunning views overlooking the entire city.
Where: Bruce Neale Dr, Penrith
Public transport: about a 20-minute walk from Penrith Station although several buses will drop you minutes away from the official starting point.
Western Sydney Parklands
One of the best places to head for a hike or a picnic in Western Sydney is the Western Sydney Parklands. Covering an area of 5,280 hectares, the parklands take in parts of Blacktown, Fairfield and Liverpool.
The highlights include:
- The Dairy: a fabulous place for a picnic, plenty of space for gathering with family and friends.
- Lizard Log: This nature-themed playground is a fantastic place for active kids.
- Sugarloaf ridge and Moonrise Lookout: If you are keen for some epic views these two spots are a must with views to Sydney’s CBD and of Western Sydney
- 60km of tracks and trails: whether you like to walk, run or cycle you will find some great options here. They are all dog-friendly too as long as dogs are kept on a leash!
Where: Check their website for the various locations
Public transport: There are options for various parts of the parklands, but a car is best.
Blacktown Station and the route 728/9 to Bungarribee Park and playground
Doonside Station is within walking distance to Nurragingy Reserve and the Chinese Garden
Cabramatta Station and then route 807 to Plough and Harrow.
Fairfield Station and route 813 for Lizard Log.
If you’re not satisfied with the ‘chilled-out vibes of the walk and are itching to literally have your hair blown back, nearby is iFLY Downunder, the indoor skydiving experience for kids as young as three and older.
Sitting as part of the Panthers Penrith precinct, iFLY Downunder offers a unique and safe indoor skydiving experience that you won’t soon forget. Dine and Discover vouchers are being accepted for a variety of iFly packages.
While you’re at it, why not check out Panthers Penrith?
Panthers Penrith is part of the Panthers Precinct and boasts 11 restaurants, 6 bars and multiple meeting, event and functions rooms. Dedicated to the NRL team (whose home stadium, BlueBet Stadium, is within walking distance), Panthers Penrith serves the Penrith community.
Where: 123 Mulgoa Rd, Penrith
Public transport: Train to Penrith where at least six bus services will drop you almost at the door!
Sydney International Regatta Centre
While we’ve got our eye on Penrith, the Sydney International Regatta Centre is a gorgeous event venue that hosts a number of events all year round.
From sporting activities like canoeing, swimming and cycling to more novelty events such as model car events, boat shows, and festivals (including the incredible Lakeside Long Lunch for picnic and wine lovers out there). Be sure to check out what’s on at the Sydney International Regatta Centre before visiting Penrith so you can make the most of your trip out to Western Sydney.
Where: Gate A, Old Castlereagh Rd, Castlereagh
Public transport: a car is your best bet.
Film lovers can also look forward to the recently announced Lakeside Film Studio planned for opening nearby in 2023, which will soon host massive Hollywood movie productions.
Let’s take a quick break from the serene and quiet stuff, shall we?
The Sydney Motorsport Park
Petrolheads, start your engines! The Sydney Motorsport Park is Sydney’s only permanent race track. It features several unforgettable experiences, including on-track and off-track events, getting the chance to get behind the wheel of a powerful V8 racecar and an opportunity to bring your own car to the track.
Formerly recognised internationally as the Eastern Creek International Raceway or ‘The Creek’, the track is known worldwide as one of the most prestigious Grand Prix circuits of all time. Now, thanks to a $70 million NSW Government investment, a new international speedway is set to launch in late October 2020.
Where: Gate A, Ferrers Rd Eastern Creek NSW 2766
Continuing our journey through Western Sydney’s more thrilling offerings, here’s a perfect destination for the upcoming summer months.
Raging Waters Sydney
Raging Waters Sydney (formerly Wet n’ Wild Sydney) is a fantastic option for families looking for a thrilling experience or a moment to chill out by the wave pool. There are plenty of options for all ages. With its friendly staff, affordable entry fees and giant slides, Raging Waters Sydney is an excellent replacement for the gone-but-never-forgotten Wonderland theme park, which closed in 2004.
Ideally situated just off the M4 Motorway near the Atura Hotel (if you’re planning on multiple Raging Waters Sydney visits) and the iconic Skyline Drive-In cinema, a visit to Raging Waters Sydney could end up being your entire weekend. DIne and Discover vouchers are being accepted until June 2022.
Where: 427 Reservoir Rd, Prospect
Public transport: Blacktown is the closest station, but you would need a taxi or rideshare from there.
Opening hours and prices here
The Blacktown International Sportspark
There’s absolutely no doubt that sports fans will fall in love with Western Sydney’s dedication to staying active. The Blacktown International Sportspark (formally known as Blacktown Olympic Park) is a vast interconnected complex home to the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL team and sees a wide variety of sports, including soccer, baseball, cricket and AFL, being played.
Going hand-in-hand with the Blacktown International Sportspark is the newly-built home of the Western Sydney Wanderers A-League soccer team and the Parramatta Eels NRL football team, Bankwest Stadium. Playing host to thrilling sporting contests, vibrant music festivals and decadent food and wine festivals, Bankwest Stadium is a state of the art new stadium that is well worth the visit.
Where: Eastern Rd, Rooty Hill
Public transport: 2km walk from Rooty Hill train station
The Riverside Theatre
Keeping the love focused on Parramatta, the Riverside Theatre is a fantastic performing arts centre for those looking for dramatic entertainment.
Conveniently located within a five-minute walk from Parramatta’s dining hub (which includes everything ranging from gourmet steakhouses to takeaway Mexican restaurants), the Riverside Theatre is a fantastic escape that hosts over 1,000 events a year ranging from Shakespeare performances, comedy shows, ballet events, contemporary dance shows and offers something for audiences of all ages.
Where: Corner Market &, Church St, Parramatta
Public transport: 10-minute walk from Parramatta Station, or a short walk from the ferry.
We have shared 25 things to do in Parramatta here
Sydney Olympic Park
Quite simply, the grandest icon of Western Sydney has been left until last. The beating heart of Western Sydney, the Sydney Olympic Park is Sydney’s iconic sporting precinct. It hosts the city’s most significant events, including the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Sydney Festival, music events featuring the world’s most prominent artists and world-class sporting fixtures.
However, the Olympic Park isn’t just about events – you can also book basketball courts, hockey and soccer fields and take a swim in an Olympic-sized pool yourself. To say that the Sydney Olympic Park is not Sydney’s primary hub for sport and entertainment would be doing it a major disservice.
Where: Australia Ave, Sydney Olympic Park is the epicentre.
Public transport: Olympic Park station is on the T7 line – Olympic Park. Concord West train station is the closest to Bicentennial Park.
Access via bus or ferry, depending on the venue you are visiting, may be preferable. Plenty of parking outside key event dates.
Western Sydney is without a doubt the multicultural melting pot that makes Sydney such a diverse and uniquely rich city. While these fantastic locations and venues have shined a spotlight on some of the more popular (and not so popular) things to do in Western Sydney, we’ve only barely scratched the surface of the riches that Western Sydney has to offer.
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About the Author: Western Sydney based, Zoheb Ali is a Lawyer, Photographer and Film/TV Podcaster. His passion for travel and discovering new things is unrivalled. More than anything, he loves recommending new experiences to people and has a deep love for all things Australia.
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