Day Trip : Sydney To The Historic West
A trip of just 62 km from Sydney to Windsor.
Travel via Parramatta Road and the Westem Motorway (both Route 4), James Ruse Dive (Route 55) and Windsor Road (Route 40)
To the west of the Sydney CBD lies Parramatta and Windsor, sites that are home to some of Australia's most historic sites dating back to the first years of the colony when settlers went in search of fertile land. They found it along the flats of the Parramatta and Hawkesbury rivers.
This trip will take you along Parramatta Road out of the city centre (it's a continuation of Broadway from Central Station). Take the Western Motorway and continue past Olympic Park before turning off onto James Ruse Drive.
At the information centre on the corner of Church and Market streets you can get a copy of a self-guide brochure that highlights the historic sites of the area.
Elizabeth Farm (dating from 1793) at 70 Alice Street is one of the main attractions. This was the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, founding pioneers of the Australian wool industry. The site contains part of the oldest surviving European building in Australia. Another highlight is Old Government House in Parramatta Park, built in 1799. This is Australia's oldest public building and houses the best collection of colonial furniture in the country.
If you have children with you, you might want to take a right-hand turn off James Ruse Drive into Pennant Hills Road to visit the Koala Park Sanctuary. Otherwise, stay on the heritage trail and continue on James Ruse Drive a little further until you reach the turn onto Windsor Road.
On the way to Windsor, stop at Rouse Hill Estate, a two-storey Georgian Colonial farmhouse built in 1813 which is located within a large surrounding property. The partly furnished house is not always open to the public so phone ahead to check if you will be able to get in. (02) 9627 5108.
Your trip continues on to Windsor, one of the oldest towns in Australia. It was established in 1794 and named in 1810 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The surrounding district, with its villages of Georgian style colonial houses, churches, hotels, and small farm lots extending along the river flats, provides an insight into country life in colonial Australia. A visit to the Hawkesbury Museum of Local History and Tourist Information Centre in Thompson Square, will give you ideas on what else to see and do in the area.