Why Now: By 2036, the population of Greater Sydney’s Western Central Region is expected to grow by more than half a million people—and riverside Parramatta is at the heart of a recent surge in property development and urban planning. Just 35 minutes from the Opera House, the city (the original home of the Burramattagal clan of the Darug people) is fast becoming a hub for new bars, major festivals and creative enterprises.
Where to Go: By the river and minutes from the stretch of restaurants dubbed “Eat Street,” ParkRoyal hotel is ideally positioned, and its outdoor pool is a welcome respite from the summer heat. Start your day with a Middle Eastern-style breakfast at Circa; opt for the house-made granola decorated with rose petals and pomegranate or the crowd favorite, the Ottoman Eggs with eggplant and garlic labneh. Then explore the Parramatta Farmers Market, which sets up at Centenary Square Friday mornings. PaperMill Fresh Asian Kitchen is a regular, and its spurritos (spring roll burritos) are something of a local legend. Take the walking path through Parramatta Park to learn about the Aboriginal and colonial history of the area. The Dairy Cottage, one of the oldest surviving buildings in the country, is there; it’s recently been conserved, allowing for tours and viewing of its 19th-century sunken milk processing room. End the day at Uncle Kurt’s, Parramatta’s first dive bar, where the owners wanted to re-create the atmosphere of Brooklyn’s late-night Jewish delis. They serve Reuben sandwiches, pastrami po’ boys and bourbon cocktails in equal measure.