Parramatta is on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River, that flows into Sydney Harbour. It was inhabited by the Barramatugal Aboriginal people. Originally called Rose Hill by the Europeans, the name was changed in line with a colonial policy of using Aboriginal names for places already named by Aboriginal people. Parramatta is likely a variation on Barramatugal.
Parramatta was the earliest vice-regal home of colonial Sydney. An agricultural settlement was established there within weeks of the first fleet arriving from Britain. The present day Sydney CBD was established as the colony's port settlement to service the more desirable Parramatta which became the preferred home of governors and the privileged free settlers in the early years of the colony. Sydney soon began to eclipse Parramatta in both size and importance over the next century, however it was the establishment of Parramatta that allowed the future global city to survive and then thrive.
Fast forward to the 20th Century.Parramatta became less of a discrete town or city following post-WWII suburban development, and as such became the centre of Western Sydney.
It is now recognised as Sydney's "Second CBD" with many companies and state government departments having their headquarters exclusively in the rapidly consolidating city.
In the 21st Century, Parramatta again serves the whole of Sydney as an economic powerhouse constituting a large percentage of Sydney's economic output and workforce.
Parramatta is again looking to its waterfront as a centre of community activity, with the tourist information centre itself located next to the Lennox Bridge on the river. The city celebrates its vibrant multicultural community, and the eat street along Church Street at night makes it one of the best places to dine in Sydney. Most of Australia's earliest colonial buildings remain standing and open for visitation. In fact, there are more heritage listed buildings in Parramatta than Sydney's historic Rocks quarter.
Parramatta has elegant parks, the world class Riverside Theatres, and other attractions that make it a must-see destination within Greater Sydney. The ferry trip under the Harbour Bridge and up the Parramatta River makes the trip to Parramatta worthwhile simply for the journey itself.
There are many more attractions for the visitor to discover, and Parramatta is indeed one of Australia's best kept tourism secrets.
The climate of Parramatta is very similar to Sydney, but the cooling effect of the Sydney seabreeze on hot summer days has its limit at around Homebush Bay. There is only a 1-2C degree difference in summer. In extreme cases, Parramatta can be 10C warmer. In winter, nights are cooler.
Parramatta is located next to the M4 motorway (Metroad 4). Parramatta is well signposted from the motorway. Surrounding suburbs also have signposted exits from the city.
If you are in no hurry you can use Victoria Rd or Parramatta Rd. Traffic between Sydney City and Parramatta during peak hours can be extremely slow. Easily twice as long as the time taken for the trip during off-peak times.
Parramatta is well served by Western Line trains  to Central Sydney & the North Shore. Trains run at least every 10 minutes and take 30 minutes for the trip. From the City, fares cost $4.00 one way for an adult, with Opal cards costing $3.37 off-peak and $4.82 during peak; alternatively, a MyMulti-2 will cover train trips to and from Parramatta.
Penrith, Blacktown, Richmond and Strathfield are also on the Western Line, making trips to these centres quick and simple. Trains to and from the Blue Mountains on the Blue Mountains Line also stop at Parramatta.
Connections to Campbelltown and Liverpool can be made by changing at Granville outside peak times. In peak hours, there are three services on the Cumberland Line which travels directly to Campbelltown and Liverpool. Sydney Olympic Park can be reached by changing at Lidcombe for the "Olympic Sprint" train.
Parramatta is a hub for many buses, which operate from a bus interchange near the station. If you are coming from the city, or near a train station, the train will usually be quicker than the bus. Any MyMulti ticket (including a MyMulti-1) will cover a bus trip to and from Parramatta (although a train trip requires a MyMulti-2).
Metrobus M52  operate every 10-20 from Circular Quay via George St and Victoria Road. The trip takes over an hour end-to-end.
The 545 bus  offers a frequent service to Chatswood via North Ryde, but again, if you are doing the entire trip from Chatswood, probably quicker to get the train.
The North-West T-Way links Parramatta to Rouse Hill, and the Liverpool-Parramatta T-Way links Parramatta with Liverpool via Bonnyrigg.
The Rivercat ferry service  runs between Circular Quay to the Charles Street Wharf. It's a very pretty and relaxing way for a traveller to visit.
At $7.20 for a one way trip (Opal $7.18), it is an expensive trip or a cheap 55 minute harbour cruise, depending on which way you look at it. From September 2013, a MyMuti-3 (or MyFerry-2) is required travelling to and from Parramatta, though a MyMulti-2 would cover the trip by train.
The Parramatta Valley cycleway offers off-road and quiet road cycling to Parramatta from Sydney Olympic Park and Putney. It is quite well signposted, and should be possible to cycle without a map. It has pretty sections following the Parramatta river from Putney and Sydney Olympic Park as far as Rydalmere, before passing over a ridiculously steep footbridge and an industrial areas to the outskirts of Parramatta. It would be quite possible to hire bicycles from Sydney Olympic Park and cycle to Parramatta if you would like a bit of a ride. The bicycle will come in handy to see the sights of Parramatta as well.
Following the route through Putney it is also possible to cycle from the City to Parramatta on off-road or on quiet roads, the circuitous route is nearly 30km, but you miss the a couple of hairy sections around Concord that the more direct route encounters.
Although not as scenic, the Parramatta to Liverpool Railtrail links Parramatta with Liverpool on largely off-road paths.
The Loop is the City Council's free bus. The bus runs every ten minutes around a loop that covers most areas of the city, indicator boards on the bus make it easy to find your stop. Operates 7AM till 6:30PM Mon-Fri, 8AM till 4PM Sat., and stops at:
Parramatta Station (Darcy Street, other side of the station from Westfield).
Westfield (Argyle Street) Westfield shopping Centre, Church Street Mall/
Law Courts (Marsden Street - south) Parramatta Park
Cathedral (Marsden Street - north) St Patricks Cathedral, Prince Alfred Park, Riverside Theatres
Leagues Club (OConnell Street) Parramatta Swimming Centre, Parramatta Stadium and Leagues Club, Parramatta Park
Church Street North (Church Street - north)
Prince Alfred Park (Church Street - mid) Prince Alfred Park, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta Heritage and Visitors Centre
Lennox Bridge (Church Street - south) Eat Street, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta Heritage and Visitors Centre, River Walk
Phillip Street (Phillip Street - west) Retail, Eat Street and Dining
The Wharf (Phillip Street - east) Parramatta Wharf -Rivercat Terminal, River Walk, Harris Park Heritage Walk
Charles Street, Commercial Offices
Macquarie Street, Post Office, Commercial Services and Retail, Lancer Barracks and Military Museum
Parramatta has one main railway station. Its suburbs of Harris Park, Granville, Rosehill and Westmead also have railway stations.
Westmead station is on the Western Line and can be accessed by taking a train west from Parramatta (towards Blacktown, Penrith, or Richmond). Harris Park and Granville are also on the Western Line and can be accessed by taking a train east from Parramatta (towards the city). Rosehill is on the Carlingford Line and requires taking a train east from Parramatta to Clyde station and then changing trains one stop to Rosehill. Note that although Rosehill is closer to some attractions like the Rosehill Racecourse, the Carlingford Line is only served hourly by trains outside of peak times due to extremely low usage and it's single track bottleneck. You can walk to Rosehill from Parramatta in less than half an hour, and to Harris Park in around 15 minutes.
There is a general shortage on on-street and free parking in Parramatta. Expect to have difficulty parking in the CBD on weekdays, and near the shops on weekends. Paid parking is usually available and is considerably cheaper than in the Sydney CBD. Westfield has free parking for the first three hours.
As Parramatta was the first site of European settlement outside Sydney it contains many historical landmarks. How interesting this is to you, will depend on your historical perspectives. The oldest buildings here date to the colonial settlement in the early to mid 1800's. Old Government House, and Elizabeth Farm are the two primary historical sites.
(Topp Tours conduct guided tours of Parramatta landmarks as does Past Times Tours)
Old Government House, ☎ (02) 9635 8149, . 10AM-4PM. The site of the residence of early colonial governors. It was especially important during the term of office of Governor Lachlan Macquarie.adult $8. edit. On the third Friday of each month, ghost tours of Old Government House are available
Elizabeth Farm, 70 Alice Street, Rosehill, ☎ 02 9635 9488, . Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9.30 – 4PM. Commenced in 1793, Elizabeth Farm contains part of the oldest surviving European building in Australia, built as the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur. As such, it was the birthplace of the Australian wool industry and was an important social, political and cultural centre of the early colony. Elizabeth Farm's deep shady verandahs (inspired by colonial homes in India) became the prototype for the Australian homestead. The interiors contain reproductions of furniture, portraits and objects belonging to the Macarthurs, allowing a 'hands-on' experience of early 19th century life. Elizabeth Farm is situated in a recreated 1830s garden and contains early plants from the Macarthurs' time.adult $8. edit
Hambledon Cottage, on the Harris Park Heritage Walk
Experiment Farm, 9 Ruse Street Harris Park, ☎ 02 9635 9488, . 11AM-3.30PM, closed Mondays.. First private farm in Australia, set up as an experiment to see if the colony could become self sufficient.adult $6. edit
Hambledon Cottage, 63 Hassall Street (corner Gregory Place), ☎ 02 9635 6924, . Thurs to Sun 11AM until 4PM.. Hambledon Cottage, a Colonial Georgian cottage "cottage ornee", was built by John Macarthur in 1824 and formed part of the Elizabeth Farm estate. Furnished to depict 19th century lifestyles.adult $4. edit
Brislington House, (George Street on the corner of Marsden Street), ☎ 02 9635 9488, . Open 2nd & last Thursday of every month. Closed during December & January. formerly a residence built in 1821. It is now a museum of the medical and nursing history of Parramatta, with photographs and memorabilia. Opposite stands the Court House Tower all that remains of Parramatta's first court house, built in 1890.edit
The Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street Parramatta (On the north side of Parramatta station), . Historic army barracks, home of the Royal NSW Lancers and contains The Linden House Museumedit
Parramatta Town Hall, 182 Church Street Mall, . Built in 1883. The town hall is still used by council and includes the Charles Byrnes Room 
There are also historical sites at Queens Wharf, and Parramatta Park. See the Parks listings below.
Historical Properties Now Used for Commercial Purposes
Perth House, 85 George Street, Parramatta . Built in 1831, and now a cafe. Have a coffee, and a slice of history.
Harrisford, George Street. Original site of the Kings School
Murphy House, located at Marist Place, Parramatta 
Kia Ora House, located at 64 Macquarie Street. This house was built by James Houison in the 1840s
Former Cumberland Building, Land and Investment Company (now a restaurant). Built in the year 1889 to resemble the famous… “ Santa Maria Del Fiore” (The Florence Cathedral – Our lady of the Flower) in Florence Italy. It is now Liana's Restaurant ( see EAT below)
Deskford, located on Hawkesbury Rd, Westmead , now a retirement village.
Woolpack Hotel, located at the corner of George & Marsdens Streets, Parramatta  The hotel was licensed and founded in 1796 and is the oldest hotel in Australia still functioning.
Historical Properties Now Used for Public Purposes
Female Orphan School, located within the Parramatta Campus (Cnr James Ruse Drive & Victoria Rd) of the University of Western Sydney (UWS). It was the first purpose-built charitable institution in Australia, and is Australia’s oldest three-storey masonry building. . The UWS campus also contains the Whitlam Institute and Whitlam Reading Room. You can catch the train getting off at Rydalmere station or via bus from Parramatta City - Sydney Bus Routes M52, 523 and 524 operate between Parramatta railway station and the campus.
Female Factory- Australia's first convict establishment for women and children, completed in 1821. By public transport the best way to get there is by the loop bus getting off at stop 5.
Parramatta Gaol - Parramatta Correctional Centre is Australia's oldest serving Correctional Centre. Parramatta Gaol was formally proclaimed on 2 January 1842 with progressive opening of wings up until approximately 1910. It is located on the Cnr of Dunlop and New Streets North Parramatta. As a functioning jail it is not open to the public.
Old Kings School - dating from 1836 these Georgian buildings on the Bank's of the Parramatta River are now used by the NSW Heritage Office.. The buildings are located between Marsden Street and Marist Place and include a walk along the river front.
Cumberland Hospital - this is a vast site of historic buildings. Next to the Female Factory, it is divided into a east and west precinct. It is located at Fleet St Parramatta, though the main entrance is off Hawkesbury Rd Westmead (Near the Children's Hospital). Look particularly at Glengariff House, Formerly the hospital superintendent’s residence, this grand building now houses the museum of the Cumberland Hospital. The hospital grounds also contain the Wisteria Gardens which adjoin Parramatta Park. West Campus and East campus maps are here
Parramatta Park, Cnr Macquarie & Pitt Streets, (02) 8833-5000,  including the Tudor Gatehouses on Macquarie St and George St, Governor's Bath House, Old Dairy and Boer War Memorial. There is also a substantial cycling track, and walks. The park has two restaurants, the upmarket Lachlans , located within Old Government House and the less Expensive Parramatta Park cafe, located right on the river . As well as a number of historical buildings the park includes the Rumsey Rose Garden, which has a significant heritage rose display, Wisteria Gardens, which are part of Cumberland Hospital (and are only open to the public for the last 2 weeks in September and may be entered either through the park or the hospital), and Murray Gardens, a small garden next to O'Connell Street and the Tudor Gate House.
HMAS Parramatta memorial in Queens Wharf Reserve
Queens Wharf Reserve, . This is the first place that Governor Phillip landed in Parramatta and is included on the Harris Farm Heritage walk. It also incorporates the memorials to all the ships from the Royal Austrlian Navy that have borne the name HMAS Parramatta  and has the stern of the first HMAS Parramatta. The bow is at Garden Island, around 30km towards the heads. Catch the ferry to see both ends in one day.edit
Prince Alfred Park, (located opposite St Patrick's Cathedral and bounded by Church Street, Market Street, Victoria Rd and Marist Place), . It was named after Prince Alfred who visited the colony in 1867. It was the site of the colony's first gaol. Today it is an shaded, open space taking up one city block close to the centre of Parramatta. Community events are held hereedit
Lake Parramatta, (Slightly further afield, accessible via Church Street, Barney St, Iron St, Bourke St, Lackey St & Illawong Drive - A car is best to visit the park, as the entrance is about 2km north of Parramatta CBD. A 549 bus will take you to the corner of Church St and Barney St, which is about 1km from the dam.), . dam and popular recreation spot formed by damming one of the creeks which flows into the Parramatta River. Recently opened for swimming on certain Council-sponsored event days. A few bushwalks to choose from around the lake.edit
Belmore Park,Located in North Parramatta at 1a Pennant Hills Road, it contains Richie Benaud oval named after one of Australia's most famous cricketers who grew up in the area.
(Destiny Tours conduct Ghost tours of the Parramatta Cemeteries as does Past Times Tours)
St John’s Cemetery in O’Connell St,between Argyle and Campbell Sts, is Australia’s oldest Christian cemetery. The oldest surviving grave is Henry Dodd (1791). The Reverend Samuel Marsden is also interred here. OPEN: Daily in daylight hours.
St Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery, corner of Church St & Pennant Hills Rd, dates from Governor Macquarie’s time.
All Saints Cemetery(Fennell Street) contains the grave of noted explorer Gregory Blaxland, who led the first expedition across the Blue Mountains.
Mays Hill Cemetery Land grants were made in 1839 and 1849 to establish Presbyterian and Baptist cemeteries which soon expanded to include burials for other denominations. Regular tours are held by the Friends Of Mays Hill Cemetery.
The historic towers of St Johns Cathedral, Parramatta. The towers are some of the earliest structures remaining in Australia.
St Patricks Catholic Cathedral, Marist Place . This is the cathedral church for the catholic diocese of Parramatta, which stretches from Granville in the east to Mount Victoria in the west. Although the cathedral was only built in the 1930s it is interesting because it was burnt down in 1995 and rebulit in 2003. The new cathedral incorporates the old church with a new wing designed by Romaldo Giurgola who designed Australia's Parliament House in Canberra. Closest Hotel would be The Sebel.
St Johns Anglican Cathedral, Hunter Street, . The cathedral was built over many years but work commenced at the time of Governor Macquarie. It is Australia's oldest continually functioning church. There is a tour of the chapel available on Thursdays and Fridays
All Saints Church, Corner of Victoria Road and Elizabeth Street, . It was completed in 1847 and is of a "Victorian Academic Gothic" style of architecture
Leigh Memorial Church, 119 Macquarie Street. It was originally a Methodist church. It was completed in 1885 it was dedicated to Samuel Leigh, the first Methodist Minister in Parramatta
Our Lady Of Lebanon, 40 Alice Street, Harris Park . The church was built in 1970. It is home of Sydney's Maronite catholic community. The church is adorned with a 5 metre high statue of the virgin Mary. The statue has caused much controversy and was replaced by the current smaller statue in 1980.
Parramatta River runs through the Parramatta CBD. There is a weir at Charles Street which is the limit of navigation from Sydney. Between the Charles Street Weir and the O'Connell Street Weir the river is really only a wide canal, though there are a number of pleasant riverside walks including walks by the northern bank by the Riverside Theatres and on the south bank through the new Justice Precinct. The river widens upstream of the O'Connell Street Weir. There is another weir damming the river further upstream in Parramatta Park. There are a large number of bridges spanning the river, in the city centre. In order they are -
Gasworks Bridge, Macarthur Street near its junction with George Street . The bridge was built in 1885. It is supported by large sandstone piers and was a significant bridge construction when built. See Riverside walk below.
Charles Street Weir, marks the upper reaches of the present day tidal influence on the river, you can walk along the river from here until the Marsden St Bridge.
Elizabeth Street Footbridge, Elizabeth Street 
Barry Wilde Bridge, crosses the Parramatta River at Smith Street. Prior to the construction of the Charles Street Weir this was the uppermost reaches of the tidal influence of the Parramatta River.
Lennox Bridge, Church Street . This bridge is the most famous, and is one of the oldest in Australia. It was built by the colony's first superintendent of bridges (David Lennox) in the 1830s. It is on the site of the first recorded crossing point on the Parramatta River. The bridge has been classified by the National Trust. See Riverside walk below.
Marsden Street Bridge.
Marsden Street Weir, this weir holds back the Parramatta River and was the source of Parramatta's first water supply built under instruction from Governor Macquarie. The current weir is not the original weir. Prior to the Marsden Street bridge being constructed the weir was the Marsen Street crossing but frequently flooded.
Bernie Banton Bridge, O'Connell Street, named after a famous Australian asbestos victims rights campaigner.
Riverside Walk - a walk along the Parramatta River from the Ferry Wharf to the Lennox Bridge in one direction and from the ferry wharf to the Gasworks bridge in the other direction. It shows the history of the area from an indigineous perspective, featuring indigineous interpretive art. . Near the Gasworks bridge a giant artwork is a re-interpretation of a colonial military Sentry Box which used to stand near the artworks location in the first years of the British colony.
Life Along The Riverbank - download the podcasts here, walk along the riverbank and experience life in the 1800s
DigiMacq- download the podcasts hereand walk through Governor Macquarie's Parramatta. This was developed as part of the Lachlan Macquarie Bi-Centenary in 2010
Harris Park Heritage Walk - a walk through Harris Park passing many of the historical sights of the area such as Experiment Farm, Elizabeth Farm and Hambledon Cottage. Best to start the walk at the Parramatta ferry wharf, and follow the signs, or print out the map before you start, or continue on from the Riverside Walk above.
Riverside Theatres. A popular Sydney theatre, showing a mix of amateur productions and professional shows. Ticket prices usually compare favourable with the downtown theatres.
Pavilion Theatre Castle HillThe Pavilion Theatre is a non-profit theatre located in the Hills District, Sydney. It is home to The Castle Hill Players, one of the most respected amateur theatre companies in Australia
Parramatta Artists Studio. An artists studio with an Art Gallery, open weekdays from 12 noon until 4PM. Located at 45 Hunter Street Parramatta
Heritage Centre. Has a permanent exhibition on the Burramatta Aboriginal people as well as temporary exhibitions on the settlement of the Area
Parramatta Stadium. Home to the local Parramatta Eels football (Rugby League) team. Games on every second weekend during the winter. Also the home ground of A-League's newest team, the Western Sydney Wanderers
Rosehill Gardens Racecourse Home of the Golden Slipper, the world's richest race for two year olds ($3.5m) held in April. Also regular race meetings throughout the year.
Parramatta Raceway. Home of monster trucks and demolition derbys. Be there!
Golf, at Parramatta Golf Course, Ryde Parramatta Golf Course or *Fox Hills Golf Course
Swimming at Parramatta & Granville Swimming Pools are outdoor swimming pools, in a more old fashioned Australian style.. Parramatta pool is located adjacent to Parramatta Park. There are two water slides for kids, at $2.50 for six slides. There is a diving pool, and a shaded and heated wading pool for toddlers.
Parramatta Westfield is one of the largest shopping malls in New South Wales. Its easily accessible to the train, and like Chatswood offers an easily accessible alternative to city shopping. It has two department stores (David Jones & Myer), Target, K-Mart, Supermarkets, and loads of specialty and fashion stores, as well as food court, restaurants and cinemas.
Church St, is the main street shopping strip in Parramatta CBD. This area struggled for many years to compete with the large enclosed shopping malls, and can be a little dingy, but makes a change from the environmentally controlled alternatives. Church Street is a mall between the railway and Macquarie Street. It contains a number of arcades including the Queensland Arcade, Connection Arcade and Greenway Arcade
Merrylands Mallis located adjacent to Merrylands station. Its feature tenant is a large Kmart as well as target. Whilst it has recently almost been completely rebuilt it is similar to many shopping malls found around the Sydney suburbs.
North Rocks Bring & Buy Markets - market for second hand goods such as tools, clothing, plants, bric-a-brac and books etc. Average 110 stalls. Markets are held every Sunday from 7AM to 1PM. Entry by donation to Rotary charities. Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children (carpark), North Rocks Road, North Rocks (opposite Westfield Shopping Centre)
Parramatta Farmers Market - The markets are located in Church Street Mall, near the Town Hall, the site of the first markets in Parramatta. There are about 20 stalls selling organic primary produce, during the hours of 8AM and 2PM each Saturday, weather permitting.
Eat Street is at the northern end of Church Street. The largest number of restaurants are between Phillip Street and Market Street.
City Extra, Church Street, Open 24 hours(Cafe style). Still busy after midnight. A bit of a institution for a late night burger when McDonalds just won't do. Expensive for what it is though - so save it up for the late night option.
ParkRoyal Parramatta n(formerly the Crowne Plaza), 30 Phillip Street ph 61 2 9689 3333 - Situated in the heart of Parramatta's commercial area. Just 5 minutes walk from Westfield Shopping Centre and Parramatta Train Station. Even closer is Parramatta's main restaurant and entertainment strip on Church St.
Novotel Parramatta,. + 61 2 9630 4999, 350 Church Street.Upmarket accommodation, very centrally located, near Church St and the river.
Mantralocated on the corner of Parkes Street & Valentine Street Parramatta