Greening the City
There are plenty of ways to explore a city while being kind to the environment. Here’s our green-hearted guide to Parramatta.
Take to Two Wheels
With its flat terrain and plentiful cycling paths, Parramatta is the perfect city for riding a bike. Clever cycleway connections between its suburbs and the CBD make commuting to work a breeze, with this daily pedal an ideal mechanism for reducing your environmental impact while keeping active and improving your health. Among the city’s many new trails is the Parramatta Valley cycleway – making it possible to ride between Sydney Olympic Park (where you can hire a bike) and Parramatta CBD. On the weekend, take to the serene cycleway, which meanders through quiet streets and along the river foreshore; or ride yourself to a leisurely brunch before navigating the heritage trail.
Visit The City of Parramatta Cycling page for more information.
Know Your Farmer
Every Friday, growers, makers and producers make the voyage from the Sydney basin and regional NSW to the Parramatta Farmers Market, to hawk their seasonal fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs, bread, cheese and flowers. Collect the likes of SummerLand Honey’s homemade lemon butter and natural beeswax and bouquets of homegrown blooms from Mayfarm Flowers. Nashdale Produce Co. cultivates organic fruit and vegetables, while Totally Free Range is the go-to for eggs. Arrive early to collect baked goods for a pre-work breakfast from Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse, or stop by for a vegetarian falafel plate from Zaytoona on your lunch break. BYO cup to enjoy a sugarcane juice while you browse the stalls, and remember to pack tote bags or panniers to carry (or cycle) all your goodies away.
Centenary Square, Parramatta, every Friday 7:30am – 2:00pm. Visit the Farmers Market event page for more information.
Carry Your Cup
City dwellers in Parramatta love a flat white as much as the next Australian, but what we don’t love is the estimated three billion takeaway coffee cups, many of which end up in landfill each year as a result of our loyal commitment to caffeine. Because many paper coffee cups are lined with plastic, they can’t be recycled, so the best way to avoid this unnecessary daily waste is to bring your own reusable cup. A handful of dedicated cafés in our green-thumbed city even offer a discount for those who do the right thing. Head along to Red Mango Coffee Lounge on Church Street in the CBD for 30 cents off your morning latte. Meanwhile, Mulberry Tree Cafe on Macquarie Street offers a 50-cent reward. All that spare coin sure adds up! Darcy Street Project is coffee with a purpose. This social enterprise café gives marginalised people a leg-up through hospitality training and coffee education. Each coffee you sip here means the trainees build their confidence, improve their language skills and (eventually) find long-term employment in hospitality.
Visit the Responsible Cafes website for more information.
Grow Your Own Food
Watching seeds sprout and grow into food is one of life’s easiest and most gratifying small pleasures. With a few community garden projects starting to pop up around Parramatta, you can sink your hands into dirt and reap the happiness and healthful rewards.
Telopea Community Garden is one such plot, where once-strangers come together over a common purpose to grow food and build community. Individuals and families have access to fresh, organic produce and share their gardening know-how with each other.
The Bruce Miller Reserve in Ermington gained a community garden at the end of 2017. Surrounded by leafy parkland, it’s a pleasant place to roll up your sleeves, take up a spade and do a little dirty work. The garden welcomes locals and visitors alike to take a walk through the raised beds – in return for a little gardening, you can help yourself to some produce. There’s also a ‘street library’, where you can borrow or swap a book.
At the award-winning Wentworthville Community Garden, passionate members come together to cultivate fruit, veggies and flowers across individual plots and communal beds, or simply soak up the lush garden views with a cuppa in hand.
Visit the Telopea Community Garden website
Visit the Bruce Miller Reserve Community Garden website
Visit the Wentworthville Community Garden website.
Walk Close to Nature
While our leafy city is home to more than 300 beautiful parks and reserves, perfect for soaking up some rays or tucking into a lazy picnic, sometimes it’s nice to get the body moving, too. From an easy two-kilometre amble to a 9.3-kilometre, day-long jaunt, Parramatta has 15 varied walking tracks to explore. These trails traverse all manner of lush natural settings – from freshwater river flats and rainforest gullies to hills cloaked with towering blue gums.
You can also combine bushwalking with learning something new through the city’s Get Into Nature program. Kids and adults alike can join one of the free events to learn more about the area’s precious flora and fauna. There are also native bee habitat-making workshops, and gatherings with Darug elders to hear about the local Aboriginal culture.
Visit The City of Parramatta Get Into Nature page for more information.