Tucked in the middle of a growing city, the Parramatta River walk offers an oasis within a busy life.
Sydney’s Second CBD
‘Parramatta’ derived from the title of the Aboriginal tribe of the Burramattagal Darug people who occupied the land of Parramatta for a long time. Founded by the European settlement in 1788, and now home to the economic capital of Greater Western Sydney, Parramatta today is rising quickly to become Sydney’s second CBD, and despite being a large commercial and business area, is also home to many points of interest that attract both residents who live nearby, and visitors from all over the world.
If you’ve never heard of the Parramatta River before, it may be best that you know that it is Sydney Harbour’s main river system. With a well-made walkway along the side of the river, and great attractions such as bustling shops, chilled cafes and fun play areas just beside it, the Parramatta River walk is something for people of all ages to come along and enjoy.
Located just on the side of the Parramatta River, right before the Lennox Bridge restaurant area, sits a little cafe called ‘River Cafe’, that takes pride in finding the freshest possible ingredients for their cooking.
As we entered the store, we were greeted by the lovely staff who showed us to our seats and made sure we felt at home. Having arrived in the earlier hours of the day, we were offered the breakfast menu, and upon scanning through it decided on the ‘Big Breakfast’ and ‘Recovery’, as well as a ‘Iced Lemon Tea’ and ‘Iced Matcha Latte’ for the drinks. (It should be noted that River Cafe does offer a variety of dishes that suit vegetarians and those seeking glutton free foods).
The food was overall quite good, but the Matcha latte was unlike any other I had tried or even seen before and was a little less sweet than I was used to, which I was surprisingly okay with. River cafe left a good impression overall and I can see myself going back again.
Old Governor House
A 10-15 minute walk from the end of Parramatta River, sitting in the middle of Parramatta Park, is the ‘Old Governor House’. The oldest surviving public building in Australia, this Georgian house was constructed in 1799-1829 and was once home to the first 10 governors of New South Wales.
With an entrance fee of $15 for adults, and $10 for a child/concession, you’ll be guided through the house by a volunteer guide who will explain the home’s significance and importance in Australian history, and although not the most popular experience, as an Australian is something that I was able to appreciate and see how our current building and homes have been built from.
Pros and Cons
Living in a world that keeps us busy and pushes us to continuously keep connected, it is difficult for individuals and groups to find a time of healing. While spending my day alongside the Parramatta River, I found that the major pro of this river was the fact that such an ecology exists within such a populated and continuously growing city. Furthermore, as it isn’t too far from means of parking or public transport, it is easy to access, making it all the more attractive.
The only con I felt on this walk was that I felt the shops and restaurants were all bundled too close to each other, and hence made parts of the walk seem barren and other parts a little clustered.
Parramatta is a unique Sydney suburb in the sense that despite is one of the most populated suburbs in Sydney, it still holds onto the short Australian history through its buildings as well as natural surroundings. It shows us the roots of our modern society, and the cultures that formed the country of Australia. I can definitely see myself returning to the Parramatta River walk for future meet ups with friends and family.