It’s estimated around 1.9 million people live in Greater Western Sydney, which includes Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Penrith, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Parramatta and their surrounding suburbs.
Western Sydney is full of iconic landmarks, delicious restaurants, natural wonders and popular shopping districts. Whether you call Western Sydney home, or are stopping in for a visit, there are a number of attractions worthy of weekend hours.
1. Take in the views at Scenic World – Blue Mountains
100km west of Sydney you’ll find Katoomba’s Scenic World, one of the most popular attractions in the Blue Mountains region.
There are four popular activities you can choose to do within the park. These range from taking a quiet wander through the cool and shady rainforest to flying down the side of a mountain in the steepest passenger railway in the world. The natural surrounds offer up spectacular views at times, so make sure to pack your binoculars and camera.
The site was originally a popular mining area for coal – long before it was turned into a nature reserve. That sense of history still remains in the form of the mine entrance itself, as well as replicas from the mine’s original buildings.
Keep an ear out for the native lyre bird – famous for its ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their habitat. After trekking through the rainforest, you can sample the water from the Marrangaroo Spring, it’s one of the purest in the Blue Mountains region.
- Location: Scenic World, Violet St & Cliff Drive, Katoomba
- Hours: Open 7 days a week from 9am until 5pm
- Getting there: From Central Station take the Blue Mountains Line for a 2 hour journey to Katoomba Station. Once you arrive at the station take a 5 minute walk to the Carrington Hotel. You can get to Scenic World on the 686 public bus out the front of The Carrington or on the Explorer Bus. Explorer Bus tickets can be purchased next to Katoomba train station.
- Cost: Prices vary depending on which activity you choose. You can see full fares here
- More info: scenicworld.com.au
2. Meet the amazing animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park – Doonside
Located near Blacktown, the beautiful Featherdale Wildlife Park was first opened in 1972. Since then it’s become a loved institution, largely because it specialises in Australian native wildlife. The park is home to over 1,700 native animals from an impressive 250 different species.
You’ll find the largest collection of koalas in New South Wales, 3 open space enclosures filled with kangaroos and wallabies, as well as loads of other iconic Australian animals, including dingoes, echidnas, wombats, bilbies and Tasmanian devils.
Make sure you head to the Koala Sanctuary to give one a cuddle in person.
- Location: 217 Kildare Rd, Doonside
- Hours: Open 7 days a week from 9am until 5pm
- Getting there: From Central take the T1 Western line to Blacktown Station. Bus Stand E is located just outside the station. Take the bus route 729 for a 10 minute ride which will drop you by Featherdale’s gates.
- Cost: Adults $32 Children 3–15 $17
- More info: featherdale.com.au
3. Discover Sydney’s explosive history at the Museum of Fire – Penrith
The Museum of Fire is Australia’s largest fire museum. Run by the local community, it’s a registered charity with all profits going to help educate the public around the dangers of fire and preserve firefighting heritage.
Inside the giant hall you’ll find all the traditional fire engines from across the years. There are horse-drawn, hand-drawn and motorised fire engines dating as far back at 18th century through to the mid 1980s.
Surrounding these fascinating vehicles are dozens of cabinets showcasing a variety of gear worn by fire fighters. You’ll be able to see the helmets, medals, patches, vintage heat suits and firefighting tunics they wore as they battled blazes across the state.
Tools of the trade are on display as well, you’ll find old ladders, razor sharp axes, fire extinguishers and giant hoses.
- Location: 1 Museum Dr, Penrith
- Hours: Open 7 days a week 9.30am until 4.30pm
- Getting there: From Penrith Station take a 17 minute walk (1.3km) direct to the Museum of Fire. Or take a short taxi ride (7 minutes) from the station via High St and Castlereagh Rd
- Cost: Adults $10. Children aged 2–13 $6. Families (two adults, two children) $25.
- More info: https://www.museumoffire.net/
4. Relax and cool off at Wet & Wild – Prospect
On those hot summer days, the Wet’n’Wild water park in Western Sydney is here to give you some relief from the heat.
Offering giant slides, a lazy river, large surfing area and a beach — it has everything you need to entertain the entire family.
The park is also home to Australia’s largest wave pool with over 6,800,000 litres of water for you to swim in. Or if you want to take it easy, simply grab a tube and be carried along by the gentle current in Boomerang Bay.
The whole family will love Nickelodeon Beach which features kid-friendly water slides and miniature versions of the larger thrill slides, plus a giant tipping bucket and plenty of cool shade.
- Location: 427 Reservoir Rd, Prospect
- Hours: Open during September to April head to the website for specific hours
- Getting there: From Pendle Hill Station take a 12 minute taxi (8.6km) direct to the park.
- Cost: 1 Day Pass Adults $69 Children $59 or $89 per person for a premium season pass.
- More info: wetnwildsydney.com.au
5. Learn about the Royal Lancers NSW Museum – Parramatta
If you’re interested in Australia’s war-time past then a trip to the Lancer Barracks is highly recommended. Dating back to 1819 they are the oldest military barracks on mainland Australia.
Here you’ll find the complete history of the Australian Army Reserve Light Cavalry Regiment. They played a major role in the Boer War in South Africa, including conflicts in New Guinea, Egypt, Jericho, Jordan, Wareo, Boreno and Gallipoli to name a few.
Today the barracks are home to various battle worn uniforms, equipment and vehicles that have been used by the Lancers throughout their long and complex history.
- Location: 2 Smith St, Parramatta
- Hours: Open Sundays 10am until 4pm
- Getting there: From Parramatta Station take a 4 minute (350m) walk directly to the barracks
- Cost: Adults $8, children under 12 $6, family $15
- More info: lancers.org.au
6. Tackle the rapids at Penrith Whitewater
If you’re a thrill-seeker looking for a little more adventure over the weekend, why not plan a quick trip to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium?
The purpose built giant whitewater park is the perfect place to go canoeing, kayaking and of course whitewater rafting. It’s the only man-made whitewater river of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, with a layout designed to recreate the characteristics of a wild river.
To give you an idea of just how wild it truly is, 14,000 litres of raging whitewater flow over a moveable obstacle course every second. Even experienced paddlers will be in for a challenge at times.
The rapids are so authentic they were even used to host the popular canoe/kayak slalom events 18 years ago at the 2000 Summer Olympics. But you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to have fun here, there are different courses you can take from beginner through to expert.
- Location: McCarthys Ln, Cranebrook
- Hours: Open 7 days a week 9am — 4pm (Monday to Friday) 8.30am until 4pm (weekends)
- Getting there: From Penrith Station take an 8 minute taxi (4.5km) directly to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium
- Cost: Pricing varies depending on which option you choose. Expect to pay $50+ per person
- More info: penrithwhitewater.com.au
7. Head to the Labyrinth Escape Rooms with your friends – Parramatta
It’s not every day you find yourself trapped inside a room with your friends frantically try to devise a way to get out … but that’s exactly what happens at the Labyrinth Escape Rooms in Parramatta.
The idea is simple, you have 60 minutes to collectively tap into your problem-solving skills and escape the room. There are different experiences and rooms on offer.
- Location: Suite 3A 85/93 Victoria Rd, Parramatta
- Hours: Weekdays from 1pm until midnight. Please check in advance via their official site as times do vary depending on books and holiday periods.
- Getting there: From Parramatta Station Interchange head to Stand A3 and jump on bus route 547. After 4 stops hop off at Victoria Rd near Buller St and walk 190m (2 minutes) to the venue. The entire trip will take you around 6 minutes.
- Cost: 4 people will cost $38 per person (the more people in your group the cheaper it becomes)
- More info: labyrinthescaperooms.com.au