Historic Parramatta, once the alternative country seat of government in the fledgling colony 200 years ago, is now considered to be about the geographical centre of the Sydney metropolis.
There are some wonderful colonial buildings to be seen in the city within a city, where Australia’s oldest surviving building - Elizabeth Farm, built in 1793 - is open for inspection. Old Government House and Experiment Farm Cottage are also on the must-see list.
Parramatta became Australia's first farm settlement soon after the First Fleet of convicts arrived from England in 1788. In a long list of firsts, the region went on to establish Australia's first orchard, vineyard, tannery, woollen mill, steam mill, market place and fair.
Later on, it became a major regional transport hub 22km from the Sydney CBD, providing the first road and rail links out of Sydney.
If you like a flutter, Rosehill racecourse - one of Australia’s best metropolitan courses - is just down the road, while Parramatta, which is linked to Sydney by a rapid catamaran river service, is also the perfect base for day trips into the Blue Mountains.