Parramatta Park

Parramatta Park is a huge park located in the western suburbs of Sydney. The park is of historical significance being the site of the oldest surviving Government House in Australia. It is also the site of the first successful farm in Australia.

Parramatta Park and Old Government House are one of 11 historic places that form the Australian Convict Sites UNESCO World Heritage property sites.

Now I have to admit it has been years and years since I have been here…..and when I first got here I did feel a little underwhelmed. But after spending a day wandering and exploring I found the park fascinating and relaxing all at once.

So drop by and enjoy a picnic, a walk or a wander around the historic monuments.

Here’s my list of the top ten things not to miss in Parramatta Park. The best way to find all these sights is to make use of the park map.

1. Visit Old Government House

Parramatta Park Old Government House

Old Government House sits within 110 acres

This stunning building is one of the main attractions of Parramatta Park. Old Government House is the oldest Vice-Regal residence in Australia. It was built by Governor Hunter in 1799 and further extended by Governor Macquarie in 1815. It was occupied by ten Governors up until 1850.

Entry to the building is an additional cost, but visitors can freely walk around it and admire its amazing architecture. The house is truly beautiful and I loved seeing it.

Where to find it: Parramatta Park, Federal Avenue

2. Walk through Government Farm

Parramatta Park Government Farm

The site of Government Farm sits in contrast to Parramatta Stadium

There is no farm left, but it is still really fascinating to visit the site of the first successful farm established in Australia. The farm was managed by Henry Edward Dodd, who was one of just a few farmers in the early days of the colony.

Where to find it: east of Old Government House, Byrnes Avenue

3. View the Gatehouses

Parramatta Park Gatehouse

The famous George Street Gatehouses

As you wander through the park look out for the six Park Gatehouses.

Where to find it: the gatehouses are located around the park at entrances on George Street (the Tudor Gatehouse), Ross Street, Park Road, Macquarie Street, Great Western Highway at Mays Hill and Queens Road.

4. See the Bath House and Observatory

Parramatta Park Bath House

The beautiful Bath House

Built for Governor Brisbane in the 1820’s the Bath House and Observatory are fascinating relics of our history.

The Bath House remains in good condition after being converted to a pavilion in 1886 – look up and admire its ceiling.

Unfortunately the Observatory building was demolished after falling into disrepair. All that remains is its transit stones and the plinth.

Other monuments within the park include a Boer War Memorial (located near the Bath House) and the Lady FitzRoy Memorial (located near the George Street Gatehouse).

Where to find it: west of Old Government House, Railway Parade

5. Admire The Dairy and Rangers Cottages

Parramatta Park Dairy Cottage

The Dairy Cottage 

The  Dairy Cottage dates back to 1796 where it was constructed by George Salter (an ex-convict). It was extended by Governor Macquarie around 1813 (the extension no longer exists). The Dairy Cottage is one of the oldest intact cottages still standing in Australia today.

The Rangers Cottage was built around 1870. Both buildings are UNESCO World Heritage Listed.

Parramatta Park Rangers Cottage

The Rangers Cottage

Both buildings are very fragile and are accessible inside by tour only.

Visitors are able to wander through the grounds and see the vegetable patch, the gardens and the winding paths. It was so peaceful walking through these grounds, there was not another person there when I visited.

Visitors can also view the Dairy and Rangers Cottage via the Google Arts & Culture App. Via the App or website you can access videos of the cottages and find out further details about them.

Where to find it: Bynres Avenue, north of Old Government House

6. Relax at the Domain Creek Playground

Parramatta Park Domain Creek Playground

Excellent equipment at the Domain Creek Playground

The Domain Playground was opened in 2015 and is an excellent playground and picnic area. Kids will enjoy the great facilities including swings, flying fox, slides, trampolines, water pump and sand diggers. There are wide open spaces to enjoy a picnic as well as picnic tables, free BBQ’s and toilet facilities.

Where to find it: West Domain Avenue, north of Old Government House

7. Go for a walk or cycle

Parramatta Park Pathway

Enjoy the pathways

Parramatta Park is an excellent place to walk or cycle. There are several guided walks throughout the park.

Cyclists will enjoy the 3.2km cycle lane, which also connects up with other cycle paths in the area.

8. Visit the Rumsey Rose Garden

Parramatta Park Rumsey Rose Garden

If roses are your thing then make sure to head to the Rumsey Rose Garden. The garden is host to one of the largest collections of heritage roses in Australia and also incorporates winding paths, trellis and a lawn area.

Although you will likely find roses in their peak in October/November and May you will undoubtedly find roses in bloom all year round.

Where to find it: Parramatta Park, near the Macquarie Street Gatehouse Tearooms

Parramatta Park is also host to another garden, The Murray Gardens, which is currently undergoing a renovation. It will soon be host to an inclusive playground.

Where to find it: Parramatta Park, next to the George Street Gatehouse

9. Admire the Wistaria Garden

Parramatta Park Wistaria Garden

The Wistaria Garden is a Parramatta Park secret! Tucked right up in a corner of the park, the Wistaria Garden is a must see in spring time (around the second week of September).

The garden was transferred from the management of Cumberland Hospital to Parramatta Park in 2017. Since this time the management of the garden has been in turmoil – we hope to see the garden back up running as it once was. But it is still worth a visit.

Via the garden visitors can also access the Governor Phillip Walk

Address: Byrnes Avenue, north of Old Government House

10. Take a tour

There are several tours that run throughout Parramatta Park. Visitors can undertake self-guided tours for FREE. These tours include exploring Colonial Rose Hill, Parramatta Park monuments and sites and The Burramatta Aboriginal landscape trail.

Tours of Old Government House and the Dairy and Rangers Cottages are available at additional cost.

Best way to see it all

Parramatta Park is pretty big.

If you have legs that are made for walking and no kids in tow then a great way to see all the sights is to pick a staring point and start walking. Refer to the park map first to make sure you don’t miss anything then set out and enjoy your day.

The other way to do it is to drive. Start by parking at the southern end of the park (near the Rumsey Rose Garden). From here you can visit Old Government House, The Bath House and Observatory, Government Farm and most of the other historic monuments.

After seeing these sites you can move your car to the northern end of the park. Park near the Domain Creek Playground. From here you can see the Wistaria Gardens, The Dairy and Ranger Cottages and enjoy a picnic and BBQ.

Freedays summary

  • Entry: Free
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes
  • Free carparking: No
  • Free BBQ facilities: Yes
  • Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
  • Food available: Yes
  • Address: Pitt Street and Macquarie Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
  • Further details: Visit Parramatta Park directory listing

More free things to do 

After exploring the garden why not:

  • Visit Lake Parramatta Reserve
  • Cool off at James Ruse Reserve and Water Park

 

 

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