Taking the Parramatta River Cruise

The area surrounding the Blue Mountains and Sydney is home to some spectacular scenery. Boasting lush waterways and greenery that seems to spread endlessly for miles, the Parramatta River Cruise is one of the best ways to experience everything the area has to offer.

Parramatta River

This particular ferry route was the very first one that took passengers from iconic Sydney Harbour all the way up the Parramatta River. Back when it first started, the journey took a whole week to complete – now, it takes just under an hour, taking in some of the river’s most picturesque spots along the way.

There are actually two different routes that visitors can take down the river. The first one is the inner river option, which goes past Woolwich and the lush heights of Cockatoo Island. The second runs via Drummoyne and the Sydney Olympic Park before finishing up at the end of the Parramatta River.

Most visitors plan to stop off a few times on the route to take in some of the landmarks and attractions, so allow plenty of time to explore the area.

The Parramatta River Cruise Route

River Cruise

This unique ferry ride is like no other in Sydney or its surrounding regions. Starting off at the Harbour Bridge, it gives passengers the chance to soak up the incredible, iconic architecture of the area, as well as the vibrant lights of Luna Park.

It then cruises up the river to Balmain and Cockatoo Island, where plenty of passengers disembark to take a wander through the beautiful flora and fauna that characterises this part of Australia. At this point the route becomes very calm and sails past a number of charming waterside suburbs that are hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Then all hints of civilization disappear and are instead replaced by pretty mangroves that are filled with even more stunning wildlife. Here, it’s difficult to believe you were in the heart of lively Sydney less than an hour before. Taking in the glitzy heights of Sydney Harbour, the lesser-known outskirts of the city, and the natural landscape that surrounds it is one of the reasons the Parramatta River Cruise is so popular. It’s a quick, easy, and beautiful way to get an overview of everything Sydney and its flanking landscape has to offer.

You can then cruise all the way back to Sydney Harbour or take some time in Parramatta to enjoy the local lifestyle.

The City of Parramatta

Just 24 kilometres outside of Sydney’s Central Business District lies the oldest inland European settlement in Australia; Parramatta. The city, which has seen a multitude of growth alongside Sydney, is quickly becoming the new art and film scene in New South Whales due to its rising population. It’s said that in the next 20 years Parramatta will see half of all Sydneysiders making the move to Sydney’s second city.

The Rich History of Parramatta

Carbon dating conducted in the area has discovered that the area has been inhabited for at least 30,000 years. The Darug people are the traditional owners of the land, and before the European settlement, lived on the land using the rich natural foods available to the them on the banks of the river and forest. They called the area ‘Baramada’ which is the earliest form of what the city’s named after today.

Attractions and Things to do in Parramatta

Once the pioneering city of the Australian wool industry, there are a range of attractions and activities that will keep you occupied during your time in Parramatta. The first is to discover the liveliest location of the city- Church Street. This street is where you’ll find all the premier dining and entertainment such as the Bavarian Bier Café where you can enjoy some German cuisine and see if you can finish a stein!

Visit the Old Government House, a world heritage listed site once the home of the first ten Governors of the newly settled colony. You can tour this estate with a guide and be amazed at the colonial furniture and homeware on display in this illustrious property.

The arts and culture vibe in Parramatta is quite strong, with exhibitions in the Artist Studio for contemporary artists and film festivals. You can visit the local farmers market every Friday at Centenary Square and purchase the very best of homemade honey, spreads, meat, cheese and vegetables.

Just 10 minutes away from the heart of Parramatta is Elizabeth Farm, the oldest standing European building in Australia. It was first built in 1793 for a Mr John and Elizabeth McArthur, and now can be visited by members of the general public who have a curiosity for what life in the young colony would have been like. A part of the Sydney Living Museums collection, this colonial bungalow turned museum is as interactive as it gets. No doors are locked, there are no artefacts protected by barriers, instead, you can reach out and get a feel for Australia’s oldest homestead.

Where to eat in Parramatta?

There are countless options for eating out in Parramatta no matter what cuisine you’re after. A real standout in the city is Lebanese restaurant El Phoenician. This fine dining restaurant features the very best of fresh local produce preparing dishes in a traditional Lebanese fashion. The restaurant resides in the aptly named ‘Eat Street’ and is an award winning eatery that should be visited on your next trip to Parramatta.

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