An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

For this next suburb, I'm doing things a little differently. Rather than a normal exploration of the suburb, here's a handful of t...

Highlight Reel: North Parramatta

For this next suburb, I'm doing things a little differently. Rather than a normal exploration of the suburb, here's a handful of the 'burb's best bits.

North Parramatta

Unsurprisingly, North Parramatta sits directly north of Parramatta, which makes it fairly close to the geographical centre of Sydney. I had a car with me today as I had a few errands to run in Western Sydney, so I figured why waste the trip out? 

The first stop on this beautiful blue skied day? 

The Parramatta Female Factory.

Excuse me?

No, the Female Factory is not some club in Kings Cross or Oxford Street. It's actually a historic site not too far from Parramatta CBD which originally served as a prison for female convicts. 

The precinct is made up of the grounds and a number of pretty sandstone buildings.

In later years, this site was also used for an "Invalid and Lunatic Asylum", to use the language of the era, as well an orphanage too. Parts of the site are actually still in use today as Cumberland Hospital. I'm rubbish at retelling history, so here's a pamphlet instead.

Up the road is another mixed use site and the next stop in this North Parra highlights tour.

Prominently marked with a very tall sandstone fence, this is Parramatta Correctional Centre, aka Parramatta Gaol. 

Although a prison has existed on this spot since 1798, the prison that stands today is from 1842 and housed inmates all the way until 2011 when it was closed. 

Curiously, although the prison is no longer operational, the security is still here, with a guard sitting behind the locked fence, and signage by the NSW Department of Correctional Services still up.

You obviously just can't stroll in and look around, but they do run "Ghost Tours" of the prison if you fancy a look inside

I hopped back into the car and proceeded to the final stop on my brief tour of the suburb.

Tucked into the north of the suburb, some rocks and a few discarded shopping trolleys mark the way into my personal favourite point in North Parramatta -  Lake Parramatta Reserve.

Once you head in and park your car, you are greeted with open space to picnic or BBQ, as well as a children's playground,

there's also a cafe which I've never bothered to try, but I'm sure is fine.

The actual reason to come here is the absolutely gorgeous Lake Parramatta.

Here, you can rent a boat to paddle on the water for an hour or two,

and there's even a designated spot where you can go for a swim (although as you can see by the crowds, it was still a little cold for that).

If you're more comfortable on land than in the water, surrounding Lake Parramatta are a number of bushwalks which you can take.

The route which circles the lake is around 4.5km so it shouldn't take you longer than an hour or two to complete, and would be a lovely way to spend a weekend morning or afternoon (or weekday if a sickie's on the cards).

If you still need more convincing to come and visit, here's a super detailed post by the "Parra Parents" blog about this place that you can read for more info!

And at that, my North Parramattan detour from my trip out west was complete, so I headed back to the car and left the suburb.

North Parramatta: If you're in Western Sydney and have never made it out to Lake Parramatta, what are you waiting for?!